Avowal remembered

HOLD ME BACK came from 12th out of the gate and 11th early on and mowed down his field to win the Lane’s End Stakes on Saturday.

His rally, long, smooth stride and 97 Beyer Figure surely puts him on the edges of Kentucky Derby hopefuls, another new face in the picture for the world’s most famous horse race.

It was the Bill Mott trainee’s first race of the year. WinStar owns the colt and co-bred him with Haras Santa Maria de Araras.

Jockey Kent Desormeaux said:

“I thought I was hopelessly beaten the second the doors opened. He just stood there and it worked out really well in the end because closers perform so much better on (Polytrack). After a fearful start he carried me around the racetrack in great fashion, strong, in the bridle, continued to move forward, and I allowed him to do that passing the 1/2 mile pole and just collected the frontrunners continually until we made the lead. Bittel Road was struggling down the backside so I just peeled out from behind him and just went about my own business. He just powered for the wire, full of energy.”

HOLD ME BACK is by Giant’s Causeway out of a mare named Restraint, an Unbridled’s Song mare who did not race.

Restraint’s dam is Canadian champion AVOWAL, the brilliant 3yo filly of 1982 who won the Canadian Oaks and 13 races from 30 starts for Rick Kennedy. Avowal is by L’Enjoleur.

Did HOLD ME BACK make it onto Thoroughblog’s top 10 Derby list? Check the SIDEBAR here!



• Heavy rain in Florida on Saturday resulted in Canadian owned and trained Spice Route being scratched from the Grade 3 Pan American Handicap as the race was moved to the sloppy main track.

The card at Gulfstream actually featured a 2 horse race that was originally scheduled for the grass.

Canadian-bred SLIGOVITZ stayed in the Pan Am and was third behind Buddy’s Humor, a son of Distored Humor who won the 1 1/4 mile race by 3/4 of a length.


• Ontario-bred HEAD START won Saturday’s Sportsman’s Paraside Stakes at Delta Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen and Gold Mark Farms and collected his 3rd win in 7 races.

The 3yo colt was bred by Ron Clarkson and is a son of Jump Start out of Opening Line, the dam of stakes winner SWAMP LINE.

(Swamp Line is a featured chapter story in the new book SECOND CHANCE HORSES, set to be released next week by Eclipse Press over at bloodhorse.com).

Headstart was 12 to 1 for the mile race and didn’t have a head start – he came from almost last place with a big rally to win in 1:39.42.

His previous best Beyer Figure was a 76 from his win in a race before the Delta Stakes. A Beyer Figure was not available from Daily Racing Form yet this morning.

Headstart is not currently a Queen’s Plate eligible.

He was a $200,000 Kentucky summer yearling purchase by Gold Mark 2 years ago.


Canadian-bred SQUARE EDDIE, who was made the big 5 to 2 favourite for the June 21 Queen’s Plate, is still headed to the Kentucky according to trainer Doug O’Neill in the news this morning.

Brisnet.com and other sites reported that the colt could still make the Derby following a workout on Saturday.

He worked three furlongs in :37 2/5, breezing, on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track.

No plans for a trip to Woodbine for the Queen’s Plate are currently apparent.


MARASCHINO RED landed on top in a maiden allowance at Gulfstream Park yesterday. The Ontario bred 3yo filly is by Medaglia D’oro out of Irish Cherry by Irish OPen and was making her 5th career start. A $900,000 2yo purchase by lael Stable the Barlcay Tagg trainee was bred by Yvonne and Doagmar Schwabe. The filly is a half sister to the fleet graded stakes winner DAAHER.

At Fair Grounds yesterday, WOODBOURNE (h, 5, Danzig–Checker Hall, by Seeking the Gold) won a turf allowance for his 3rd win in 10 starts. He was bred by Eugene Melnyk and is trained by Mark Casse.

At Oaklawn, GARBURETOR ( 4, Petionville–Miss Prado (MSP-PR), by El Prado (Ire).) won his maiden at 6 furlongs. He was bred by James

& Janeane A Everatt & J Arika Everatt-Meeuse in Ontario and he was a $42,000 yearling urchase.

LAHAINA LADY won at Mountaineer yesterday for Kevin Buttigieg, owner/trainer. The Souvenir Copy – Rainbow Stakes filly won the non-winners of 3 lifetime race for $5,000 claiming as the even-money favourite.


• Emma-Jayne Wilson, a champion Canadian jockey, recounts some memories of 2008 on her website and statistics on Wilson’s riding have also been updated.

Read about her her Hong Kong trip, her 2008 season and plans for the future here: www.ejwilson.com/media.shtml


• There is reportedly more than 500 horses already moved into the Fort Erie backstretch now that the 2009 season has been saved.

Many dedicated people played a role in helping a deal be worked out for the track including the Ontario division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

In the NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW, this story appears today:

New owner, new hope at track

JOBS: Horse owners, trainers excited by possibilities to promote live racing


Posted 36 mins ago

As horse owners and trainers prepare for a 112th season at Fort Erie Race Track – a season some thought wouldn’t arrive at all – they’re already casting one eye to the future.

With new ownership preparing to take over the venue, they say suddenly there are more possibilities.

“We need to promote a lot more if this track is to have long-term success,” said horse owner Richard Hurst, who spent Sunday morning at the Catherine Street facility getting stalls ready in the backstretch.

“There are a lot of people with a lot of good ideas, and it’s important we listen and improve upon the entertainment options here.”

The 2009 racing season, slated for 78 days, will run from May 2 to Oct. 27. Post time for the scheduled three-day weeks -Sunday, Monday and Tuesday -will be 1:05 p. m. as usual.

It once looked as though the track might not open for another season. But an 11th-hour deal struck between track owner Nordic Gaming and the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corp. changed all that.

The EDTC, an agency of the Town of Fort Erie, is trying to buy the facility for $35 million and set it up as a not-for-profit entity. The parties continue to negotiate terms of the sale, work out financing and develop a business plan.