A colt from the mare Dance in the Snow is the first foal for Ontario stallion RELOAD – Photo courtesy Sherry McLean











Ontario stallion RELOAD (Hard Spun – Hidden Reserve, by Mr. Prospector) is now a Dad. The graded stakes winning stallion had his first foal on Jan. 29 when the mare DANCE IN THE SNOW, a daughter of Seeking the Gold, produced a colt at Northern Dawn Stables in Hillsburgh, ON. Lindy Barrow owns the foal.

Dance in the Snow was a 2-time winner in Kentucky and is a foal of 2009.

RELOAD is a half brother to former Ontario stallion PHILANTHROPIST, a leading sire locally who is now a top sire in South Africa.

He stands for a 2018 fee of $3,000.




RUN AND GUN – Horse of the year of 2017 GUN RUNNER hangs on to win the Pegasus World Cup over West Coast – VANESSA NG Photo –










Take a PEGASUS WORLD CUP on  Saturday, throw in a MANDATORY PAYOFF of a huge Rainbow 6 carryover/jackpot and you get an astonishing $70 million in bets on 24 races over one weekend at Gulfstream park.

$41 million was bet on Pegasus day which featured not only the world’s richest race and star horse GUN RUNNER but 6 other stakes races and tons of cool maiden races. It was a spectacular day at the races.

Sunday, with 12 more races but nary a stakes race and lots of low level claiming events, fans pounded the windows to try for a chance at the rainbow 6 (pick the winners of the last 6 races). The bet, in which the entire pool is paid if there is only 1 winning ticket, carried over for 39 cards. The carryover was about $5 million and fans bet 415 million into it – so 420 was on the line to be divided up to anyone who picked all 6.

It was a fairly formful first 5 races too, with an $11 winner starting the series off and favourites winning 3 more races and a $10 winner the other.

There were 42,000 tickets alive going into the last race, the hardest of the day with 14 horses racing in a $6,250 claiming event. And boom, 30 to 1 shot FOREST GATOR led all the way and those who had him got $15,000. A consolation payoff would be very welcomed on this bet for 5 out of 6. Just sayin.

So almost $29 million was bet Sunday to bring the 2 day total of wagering to $70 million. Remarkable.

If you were lucky enough to be at the track, and 16,000 people were from the $75.00 flat admission fee to various private parties, it was surely an experience to remember, much like the Derby or the Queen’s Plate. Because Gulfstream is so small now, with limited outdoor seating, 16,000 is the maximum number essentially and some believe the event caters a bit too much to the elite, those who can afford to attend.

It is a fine line for tracks as they want to do up the big events and make it an ‘experience’ but it is not certain how many new fans you can attract by keeping it out of reach monetarily.


Super image by ALYSSA GRANT from Pegasus World Cup day – SEEKING THE SOUL leaves the crowded paddock









$16 million Gun salute





It was early on in the $16 million PEGASUS WORLD CUP that seasoned racing fans knew GUN RUNNER had the perfect spot to win the world’s richest horse race.

The sleek chestnut, medium sized, compact, almost feminine head and face, looked like the Horse of the Year he is as he responded to jockey Florent Geroux and got out of the gate in a hurry.

From his post 10 and with the quick run to the first turn, it was easy to try and bet against the champ in his final career race, but hopefully those of us who did, picking a good one like WEST COAST, boxed them in the exacta. It paid a generous $17.00.

Gun Runner was too good.

West Coast really gave him a good bid, though, and Gun Runner swapped to his wrong lead in mid stretch so you knew he was getting tired.

His time of 1:47.41 was good for a career best 119 Beyer Figure.

And now it is off to stud and a $70,000 fee for the son of Candy Ride (Arg) who was raced by the Winchell Family and trained by Steve Asmussen. The horse came into his own really only last year when he started his winning streak and, as is often the case, by the time we hype up the stars of the game, their last races are upon us.

Hopefully a following can come for West Coast, a son of Flatter, or for the Derby winner this year and get people loving the game and it horses earlier, rather than later.

The Pegasus, in its 2nd running, was a great race, an amazing card of racing and  it put horse racing in the spotlight on an otherwise blah January day.



GUN RUNNER the day before the Pegasus by Vanessa Ng
















CANADIANS ELSEWHERE – Neepawa zooms up Queen’s Plate list


NEEPAWA won his maiden on Saturday at Gulfstream and moves up the Queen’s Plate contenders list – GULFSTREAM PARK PHOTO




Thoroughbred Aftercare race at Gulfstream on Pegasus World Cup day went to NEEPAWA. Trainer Mark Casse (far left), Chiefswood Stables manager Rob Landry (second from left) celebrate with Chiefswood owners Mark Krembil (5th from left in back), Stacey Krembil (holding blanket) and Robert Krembil, far right – GULFSTREAM PARK PHOTO











Plenty of Canadian horses and people were busy on the weekend of Jan 27 and 28 at Gulfstream and other tracks.

Most impressive from a visual standpoint was the maiden win by Chiefswood Stable’s big, good looking colt NEEPAWA, who has zoomed into the top few as a Queen’s Plate contender.

Stakes placed last year at Woodbine, the son of Scat Daddy – from the Niigon mare Niigon’s Touch sat a beautiful trip early in the 1 1/16 mile turf race and then powered to victory under John Velazquez to win nicely in 1:44, good for a career best 74 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form.

Mark Casse, who began training a couple of horses for Chiefswood last year, has this colt, who is the 2nd foal of the mare and she won the Eternal Search Stakes at Woodbine in her career.

Chiefswood had several other runners at Gulfstream on Saturday. Rose’s Vision, another Plate hopeful, was not a fan of the dirt in his first try on the surface and he will be back on grass or the Tapeta soon. Ghostly Presence and Final Copy were both well beaten in turf stakes races.

Catherine Day Phillips, who now trains the classy turf sprinter/miler TOMBELAINE for a partnership that includes Michael Iavarone (IEAH Stable formerly), sent that nice horse out to 4th in the Turf Sprint Stakes and he looks like a nice one to have for the sprint stakes on grass at Woodbine this year.

Josie Carroll sent out Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings and Windsor Boys Stable’s MOONLIT PROMISE, to a super 4th place finish in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie after a less-than-desirable journey. The Malibu Moon mare, who won all 4 of her races in 2017 at Woodbine and should be a finalist at the Sovereign Awards for Champion female Sprinter and/or Older Mare, was wide and moved early in the 7 furlong race and led, only to be caught. Joel Rosario was a replacement rider as her regular rider, Woodbine’s Gary Boulanger booked off due to illness.

**Woodbine’s leading trainer of 2017, NORM MCKNIGHT has enjoyed wins on three consecutive racing days at OAKLAWN PARK in Arkansas. After a dreadful run of cancelled training and racing days due to cold, the Oaklawn racing is now in full swing and so are the McKnight runners.

On Jan 25, trinity racing and racer’s edge Stables’ SMART SPREE won a starter allowance ($30,00) by 2 lengths in 1:09 2/5, the fastest 6 furlongs of the meeting thus far.

On Jan 26, WICKED WEST won a $16,000 claiming race as a the 2 to 1 favourite and was claimed. She was owned by Bruno Schickedanz.

And on Saturday, McKnight ran 5 horses and had a win, two 2nds, a 3rd and a 6th.

NIIGON’S GLORY (Niigon) won a starter allowance in the deep slop by 8 lengths for Racer’s Edge. LUNAR LIGHT, racing for $20,00 claiming, had a troubled trip and was 2nd in his race and prized Bourbon was also 2nd. Inge finished third and scotty’s Model, in the American Beauty Stakes, did not seem to handle the mud and faded to 6th.

McKnight also claimed a winner on the day, Okbyeceya, for $8,000 for Schicekdanz.

** Owner/trainer STEVEN CHIRCOP continues to have a good winter. He sent out SILVER RING (Where’s the Ring) to win a $10,000 claiming race by 7 1/4 lengths at penn National Jan. 27. Willie Armata trainee Donna’s Sweet Heart was 2nd.



The 2018/19 Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP), based on the recommendations of the industry representative Thoroughbred Advisory Group and Thoroughbred Working Group, has been approved by the Ontario Racing Board of Directors.

The total 2018 program budget, which is largely funded by the levy on wagering by Ontario customers, is set at $12.74 million, with total race purses and stakes supplements of $9.59 million.

The $12.74 million program includes a voluntary $300,000 contribution from Woodbine Entertainment Group to directly fund opportunities to increase horse supply and additional funding of purses.


Since 2014, HIP Revenues have included approximately $26M in wagering levies from the Pari-Mutuel Tax Reduction (PMTR), as well as a $4 million top-up to bring each of the Standardbred and Thoroughbred Programs to the $15M level. However, due to a change in the funding mechanisms and a decline in Ontario customer wagering levels on both Standardbred and Thoroughbred races, the 2018 Programs have had to be adjusted to accommodate a funding decrease of approximately $2.25M per breed. Overall, the budgeted expenditures for the 2018/19 Thoroughbred Improvement Program will decline by about 15% from the 2017/18 budget.

Breeders Incentives and Other Programs – $2,925K
Breeders Awards: $2,593K
Equine Research: $25K
Fort Erie Owner’s Bonus and Sales Credits: $41K
Stallion Awards: $266K
Program Purse Contributions – $6,358K
Restricted Overnight – Woodbine: $3,721K
Restricted Overnight – Fort Erie: $310K
Ontario Bred Purse Bonus – Woodbine: $2,077K
Ontario Bred Purse Bonus – Fort Erie: $250K
Thoroughbred Stakes Supplements – $3,233K
Triple Crown Series: $492K
Canadian Bred Stakes: $365K
Ontario Bred Restricted Stakes: $300K
Yearling Sales Stakes: $478K
Ontario Sires Stakes: $1,597K
Administration and Marketing – $228K

* * *

For more information on Ontario’s Horse Improvement Programs, visit and select “For Industry Insiders” and “Breeding Programs”. The TIP Administrator (CTHS) may be contacted at (416) 675-3602. Ontario Racing is responsible for the administration of all non-regulatory functions of horse racing in Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did funding for the Thoroughbred Improvement Program decrease?

There are two reasons. First, due to a change in the funding mechanism, revenue for each of the Thoroughbred and the Standardbred Improvement Programs declined by approximately $2.5 million. Second, TIP is largely funded by the levy on wagering by Ontario customers. As wagering declines, so does HIP funding. Wagering by Ontario customers declined 3.3% in 2017-2018.

What was the total decline in funding?

To produce a balanced budget, $2.24 million dollars (approximately 15%) was cut from the budget.

Who decided where the cuts would be made in the Program?

The Thoroughbred Advisory Group appointed a Working Group of industry representatives from the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society – Ontario (CTHS), the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association (HBPA), Fort Erie Racetrack, Woodbine Racetrack, and Ontario Racing, to review and propose a budget. The recommended budget was submitted to the OR Board, who approved the 2018-19 TIP Program.

How were the cuts decided?

The approach of the Working Group was to identify priority programs — Breeders Awards and Restricted Overnight Purses – and to limit reductions to them. Cuts were focused on non-priority programs and administration, and the remaining programs were reduced on an even basis.



Gun Runner is offered at $70,000, just below his sire Candy Ride

Compiled by Anne Peters (

Tapit 2001 (Gainesway, 2005) 16.0 h
Medaglia d’Oro 1999 (Darley, 205) 16.2 h
War Front 2002 (Claiborne, 2007) 16.0 h
Curlin 2004 (Hill ‘n’ Dale, 2009) 16.2 h
Uncle Mo 2008 (Ashford, 2012) 16.3 h
Pioneerof The Nile 2006 (WinStar, 2010) 16.2 h
American Pharoah 2012 (Ashford, 2016) 16.2 1/2h
Into Mischief 2005 (Spendthrift, 2009) 16.1 h
Speightstown 1998 (WinStar, 2005) 15.3 1/2 h
Bernardini 2003 (Darley, 2007) 16.1 1/2 h
Empire Maker 2000 (Gainesway, 2004) 16.1 h
Ghostzapper 2000 (Adena Springs, 2006) 16.1 h
Candy Ride (ARG) 1999 (Lane’s End, 2005) 16.0 1/2 h
Arrogate 2013 (Juddmonte, 2018) 16.2 1/2 h
Giant’s Causeway 1997 (Ashford, 2001) 16.1 h
Malibu Moon 1997 (Spendthrift, 2000) 16.2 h
Gun Runner 2013 (Three Chimneys, 2018) 16.2 h
Quality Road 2006 (Lane’s End, 2011) 16.3 h
Kitten’s Joy 2001 (Hill ‘n’ Dale, 2006) 16.1 1/2 h
More Than Ready 1996 (WinStar, 2001) 16.0 h
Union Rags 2009 (Lane’s End, 2013) 16.2 1/2 h
Distorted Humor 1993 (WinStar, 1999) 15.3 h
Frosted 2012 (Darley, 2017) 16.1 1/2 h
Tiznow 1997 (WinStar, 2002) 16.3 h