Man, it was cold! Last day of 167 day Woodbine  season…Norm Files photo










Final racing squeaks by despite high winds

Fittingly, Dec. 5 was crips, cold, and windy. Very windy.

At some points of the afternoon in Etobicoke, Ontario, gusts reached almost 70 km per hour and midway through the final Woodbine card of racing, the discussions began about possible cancellation.

There were delays in races, long delays and horses would leave the paddock and go straight to the gate.

But kudos to whomever gathered the troops and kept the show going.

Other than finsihing a bit late, the 13-race extravaganza went along nicely, the fields were huge and more than $4 million was bet on the card.

The highlights of the final day included 4 wins by the up and coming star in jockey-land at Woodbine – LUIS CONTRERAS, who should give Eurico Rosa da Silva something to fight for next year for top rider.

He won three straight, races 6, 7 and 8 and then the 12th race. Apprentice riders COREY SPATARO (2) and Ryan Pacheco also had good results.

There were some appropriate winners on the last day of racing too. SHESAGIRLGONEWILD was placed 1st in race 1 and the Windhaven filly is trained by Mike Doyle who had a big year, The 2yo is by Giant’s Causeway.

Emma-Jayne Wilson was badly hurt this year but just came back to action and she is headed to Parx racing in Philly for the winter. She was on a roll when she left Woodbine as she took the 2nd race on REPUTED RUN for Walnut Ridge Farm and trainer Mark Blouin.

The ONtario sired gal won her maiden and is by Tejano Run.

Trainer Darwin Banach has had a solid year and he had Anne and Punch Kent’s ZIPCO ready to win his debut for $40K claiming. The City Zip 2yo colt, out of Cozzall, rallied under Na Somsanith to win at a fat 14 to 1. In that race, AGNI, owned by Eaton Hall Farm, was badly injured.


dec6pool.jpgWINDFIELDS FARM-BRED POOL PLAY wins the Valedictory – Norm Files photo











The classy stakes winner ALEZZANDRO won the 1 7/8 mile starter allowance for Knob Hill Stables and trainer Kevin Attard. The 2007 Prince of Wales winner was down to claiming this year but he sure looked great winning yesterday under Chantal Sutherland. The son of High Yield received a round of applause from fans as he held off Active Duty in the late stages.

RANGER DAN came to life as the seaon ended. The handsome bay son of Forest Camp won his 2nd consecutive race with a front running score for $10K in race 5 for owner Joe and Joe (Tete and Pileggi). Steve Attard, who won $1 million in purses, saddled the winner.

Trainer READE BAKER won 4 races on the last 2 days and took the 6th with BEAR IT’S TIME, a 2yo by 1st crop sire Philanthropist out of Time Allowed. It was her 2nd career race for the Bear Stables and the chestnut filly was bred by Gardiner Farms.

Trainer ANDREW SMITH scored a nice win to end the season with SIMPLY BOLD, owned by Alberto Bozzo. The Bold Executive gelding was craftily ridden by Contreras from post 14 in a 2 turn event, an allowance for Ontario sired guys.

Other trainers who won the day included SHELLY FITZGERALD, who had the With Approval 4yo ENDLESS APPROVAL ready to win her maiden in allowance compay in race 9. She owns the daughter  Semester’s End and it was nice to see Fitzgerald enjoying the big win in the strong wind conditions.

Steve Owens, Marl Blouin and Marty Drexler also won and then the seaosn wrapped up with a win by RIMAL AL SAHARA, owned by former WOODBINE EMPLOYEE HANDEL VIARRUEL. John Coryat trains the Sahm gelding.




Norm Files photo (you can see all of Norm’s stuff at under Norm F)


More notes from Woodbine…

TORONTO, December 5 – Mark Casse fell short in his chase of a 15-year-old record, but managed his fourth straight Woodbine training title as the track’s eight-month live Thoroughbred season came to a close on Sunday.

Casse was three wins away from tying the mark of most wins in single season by a trainer at Woodbine (set by the late Frank Passero in 1995 with 89 wins), heading into the final card, but managed a sole tally to finish with 87 on the campaign.

Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva collected his first Woodbine riding championship with 190 scores, 18 ahead of nearest rival, Patrick Husbands (172).  Chantal Sutherland was third with 136 wins, including a colony-leading 18 stakes victories.  Husbands did end up winning the earnings title on the final day, finishing with $9,228,622 after capturing the day’s feature, the Valedictory Stakes, with Pool Play.

Sam-Son Farm topped the Woodbine’s owner standings with purse earnings of $2,563,412.  Bear Stables Ltd. was second with $1,883,987 and had the most wins with 39.  Melnyk Racing Stables, Inc. was third with $1,789,573.

It was Casse’s fifth Woodbine training title overall. Casse, who took the purse earnings title with $4,920,111, also won the 2002 championship. Reade Baker was second this year with 66 wins, while Sid Attard was third with 46.  Roger Attfield had the most stakes wins with 13.

Impossible Time, Safety Zone, Wildcat Marie, Kirkland Lake, Certain Pride and Preakness Laugher each had five wins to lead all runners at the 167-day season.

Pool Play’s late kick speaks volumes in Valedictory

TORONTO, December 5 – Bill Farish, Jr.’s Pool Play rallied with authority to take the $177,400 Valedictory Stakes, the final added-money event of Woodbine’s 2010 thoroughbred season.

The five-year-old son of Silver Deputy drew off late to defeat 2009 Queen’s Plate champ Eye of the Leopard by three-quarters of a length. Brandon Meier landed third money with Helicopter.

Trained by the meet’s leading conditioner Mark Casse, Pool Play covered 1 3/4 miles, the longest stakes event of the season at the Toronto oval, in 3:01.42.

Under a well-timed steer from Patrick Husbands, Pool Play advanced five-wide on the final turn, dueled briefly in mid-stretch with Eye of the Leopard and stayed on strongly for his second straight score and fifth lifetime tally.

“His prep, when (Luis) Contreras rode him, I told Mark (trainer Casse) to take the blinkers off and he’d be a better horse,” said Husbands, referring to Pool Play’s three-length victory on November 6.

“We had a really nice trip today and when I called on him in the stretch, he gave his all for me. I really respect Mark for giving me the call back on him,” said Husbands. “I want to thank Mark and all his owners for riding me this year.”

Bred in Ontario by Windfields Farm, Pool Play boosted his earnings to $547,391 from 24 career starts.

Pool Play returned $3.90, $2.80 and $2.10, combining with Eye of the Leopard ($3.90, $2.80) for a $13.90 exactor. Helicopter ($3.50) rounded out a $37.30 triactor. A $1 superfecta returned $74.45.


Arnold Schwartzenegger and Zenyatta!

PART ONE – SPEECHES : provided by partymanners –

part two: ZENYATTA

part three ON THE TRACK


Canadian-bred wins stake on Saturday

Calder: Twilight Meteor a runner, not a lover

By Tom Jicha, Sun Sentinel

December 5, 2010


It’s a good thing horses don’t have feelings. Twilight Meteor was supposed to be in a pasture making love but breeders didn’t feel he was good enough for their prize mares. So his owners brought him back to the races and were rewarded with a victory in the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap Saturday at Calder.

Twilight Meteor had raced only once in almost two years but the primary reason wasn’t injury.

“He was supposed to stand stud,” winning trainer Marty Wolfson said. “There was no interest, so [owner] John Fort asked me if I’d like to have him [to train]. I said, ‘Yes, because he’s beaten me so many times.'”

That was when Twilight Meteor was in Todd Pletcher’s barn.

It wasn’t that Twilight Meteor didn’t have credentials. His last race before the long break was a victory in the 2009 Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap at Gulfstream, a Grade 3 like the Tropical Turf Handicap. Prior to that he had several seconds and thirds in graded stakes for earnings of almost $600,000.

That wasn’t enough for breeders. “I couldn’t get any interest in him as a stallion,” Wolfson said. “it’s a tough market for stallions, especially turf horses. Luckily I was able to get him.”

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