This little one is the first horse bred by Toronto’s MITCH KURSNER, whose filly Neshama won the Woodbine Oaks last year. This colt is by Carpe Diem from the mare Duchess Dancer (Congrats), the mare is half sister to Horse of the Year Fatal Bullet. Thank you to Bernard McCormack for the picture of this Ontario bred colt.






















CANADIAN-BRED HORSES looking strong in big races in the U.S. today

SHAMAN GHOST, Queen’s Plate winner of 2015, has a big chance to win the prestigious Santa Anita Handicap today out in California for Frank Stronach and family. The son of Ghostzapper, bred in Ontario and from the Gilded Time mare Getback Time, should love getting back to 1 1/4 miles and he simply looks like the best horse in the race.

A Canadian-bred horse has never won the Big ‘Cap, a race started in 1935 and won by great horses such as Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, Seabiscuit and so many others.

CONQUEST ENFORCER, an Ontario bred, is a contender in the Kilroe Mile at Aanta Anita and he is up for 3 Sovereign Awards next month.

As mentioned this week on Thoroughblog, Queen’s Plate favourite TIZ A SLAM gets his trek to the Queen’s Plate going at Tampa Bay today in the grassy Columbia Stakes and he is a serious contender.

AMI’S FLATTER, who can be brilliant at times., is a contender in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa for Ivan Dalos and he will try blinkers for the first time.



REMEMBER THIS SANTA ANITA HANDICAP? The best horse did not win but it was a great race!


TAMPA BAY DERBY TODAY – Solid field, local interest and read more for the Thoroughblog pick!



The giant STATE OF HONOR will try to stretch his speed 1 1/16 miles at Tampa today – Terence Dulay photo –















Trainer Mark Casse has entered Ontario-bred State of Honor, a 3-year-old colt who finished third here in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 11. Julien Leparoux will ride State of Honor, who is owned by Conrad Farms.

Casse has two entrants in the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf in La Coronel, owned by John C. Oxley, and Tamit, campaigned by Tepin’s owner, Robert E. Masterson.

Florent Geroux will ride La Coronel, while Leparoux has the assignment on Tamit.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, the Hillsborough and the Florida Oaks are part of the richest card in track history, with total stakes-purse money of $925,000. Also on the card are the $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.

Post time for the first of 12 races is 12:12 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs will offer an all-stakes Pick-5 wager on races 7-through-11, culminating with the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

Casse – who won the 2012 Tampa Bay Derby with Prospective – thinks State of Honor, who breaks from the No. 8 post, has a strong chance to turn the tables on the Todd Pletcher-trained Tapwrit, who finished second to unbeaten McCraken in the Sam F. Davis, while keeping his eight other rivals at bay.

“I thought his Davis race was probably better than it looked,” Casse said. “We decided we needed to try to take advantage of the inside post by getting him away from there quickly, and after he put Fact Finding away (through a half-mile in 47.15 seconds and six furlongs in 1:10.90), he was able to hang on late.

“That was only his second start on a dirt track,” added Casse, who campaigned State of Honor on Woodbine’s Tapeta synthetic track as a 2-year-old, with one race on turf. “He has trained better than ever for this race and seems to be thriving, so our feeling is he is going to improve off that effort.”

State of Honor is 1-for-8 lifetime with two seconds and two thirds. In his start before the Sam F. Davis, on Jan. 7, State of Honor finished second in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes by a head to Sonic Mule, one of two Pletcher-trained colts in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

Canadian TYLER PIZARRO rides the Florida Oaks today, Valentine Wish from the rail for trainer Vicky Oliver.



There appears to be enough pace in the race for a horse to come from mid-pack and that is where I am headed for my selection today…NO DOZING.

Okay, let the puns fly, yes, he is the sleeper in the field, yes, I am expecting him to wake up.

This is a colt who comes off a dull run in the Sam Davis – but it was his first race of the year, his first on Tampa’s dirt..I am tossing the race out and trying him once more. Tapwrit is a legitimate contender but not worth the low, low odds he will be.

What does trainer Arnand Delacour say about No Dozing? Tampa Bay media has some notes about the Union Rags colt out of the Pulpit mare Stay Awake (of course)


After watching No Dozing breeze five furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs with his wife Leigh in the irons, trainer Arnaud Delacour pronounced the 3-year-old colt a likely starter for Saturday’s Grade II, $350,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

“Everything needs to go well between now and then, but we’re happy with where we’re at right now,” Delacour said. “He started a touch slow today because Leigh had to wait a bit on a horse breezing in front of her, but he was moving well and picked it up nicely.”

Both Delacour and Tampa Bay Downs clocker George Horner timed No Dozing in 1:01 3/5, going the final eighth of a mile in 12 1/5 seconds. “He came back happy, and I’m very encouraged by the way he’s handling his training and behaving,” Delacour said.

No Dozing, a son of Union Rags-Stay Awake, by Pulpit, and owned by the Lael Stables of his breeders, Roy and Gretchen Jackson,

No Dozing, who had finished a strong second in the Grade II Remsen Stakes in his final 2-year-old start on Nov. 26 at Aqueduct, finished an uninspired sixth in the Sam F. Davis, a lackluster performance that mystified his trainer. He had a trouble-free trip, he didn’t bleed and a post-race blood examination revealed no issues.

As well as No Dozing has trained here since Jan. 8, Delacour doesn’t believe he had an issue with the track. So he decided to let No Dozing tell him what came next race-wise, bringing him over for a four-furlong workout on Feb. 26 that convinced him No Dozing deserved another chance against this level of competition.

No Dozing responded with a 47 2/5 move for four furlongs that was the fastest of 62 workouts at the distance that day, and today’s breeze boosted Delacour’s confidence another notch. Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Daniel Centeno is No Dozing’s pilot.

“I wouldn’t run him if I didn’t think he will perform well, and the way he breezed last week was very good,” said Delacour, who saddled Divining Rod for a third-place Tampa Bay Derby finish in 2015. “When you bring a horse over in the afternoon, you always think they can perform, but they have to prove it to you. We’re looking forward to having a fair evaluation and seeing if he fits in the (Kentucky) Derby trail races.”



In the SAN FELIPE, a race that pits Kentucky derby contenders MASTERY and GORMLEY, this looks like a race that could feature fierce early power. Both colts are serious horses, I lean a bit more to Gormley, but for value, I will play ILIAD (Ghostzapper) in the 1-2 spots. This is a half brother to multilevel stakes winner MELMICH, a Sovereign Award finalist for 2016 who loves long distances.





Horseplayers can start studying immediately, as the draw is out for this Saturday’s (March 11) Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout race at Woodbine Racetrack.

A carryover of $578,231.58 is being brought into the Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout, which is offered on Race 10 this Saturday.

A 12 horse field has been put together for the Jackpot Hi-5 race. Overnight pacers meeting the conditions of Non-Winners of $10,500 last five or $18,000 last 10 will battle for an increased purse of $25,000.

All starters in Saturday’s Jackpot Hi-5 race will receive money. The winner of the race will receive 50 per cent of the purse, while horses finishing sixth through 12th will receive one per cent. The remainder of the purse will be split up as usual to the horses finishing second through fifth.

The current Jackpot Hi-5 carryover has been growing since the last mandatory payout on December 23rd.

On that evening, a carryover of $548,396 was brought into the mandatory payout and horseplayers wagered $2,081,441 of new money into the Jackpot Hi-5 pool.

Gregg McNair trainee The Rev won the Jackpot Hi-5 race on December 23rd and once again will be competing in Saturday’s mandatory payout race, starting from post position nine. Dialamara (PP6) and Half A Billion (PP7) join The Rev as the only three horses from the most recent mandatory payout race to compete in Saturday’s event.

A $0.20 winning ticket on the December 23rd mandatory payout returned $4,842.70.

If previous mandatory payouts are any indication, a total pool well over $2 million is very likely on Saturday’s mandatory payout.

This Saturday will be the seventh major mandatory payout on WEG Standardbred racing since the Jackpot Hi-5 was introduced to the wagering menu in the fall of 2013.

An average of $1.7 million in new money has been wagered on each of the previous six major mandatory payouts.

The Jackpot Hi-5 requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order. The minimum wager is $0.20, while the takeout is 15 per cent.
Race 10 – Saturday, March 11 – Purse: $25,000


1. Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte – Kenneth Switzer)

2. Casimir Overdrive (Doug McNair – Carmen Auciello)

3. Panedictine (Colin Kelly – Laurie Bako)

4. Single White Sock (James MacDonald – Ted MacDonnell)

5. Erle Dale N (Doug McNair – Ron Adams)

6. Dialamara (James MacDonald – Pat Fletcher)

7. Half A Billion (Louis Philippe Roy – Corey Giles)

8. Champagne Phil (Paul MacDonell – Dean Nixon)

9. The Rev (Doug McNair – Gregg McNair)

10. Mach On The Beach (Louis Philippe Roy – Richard Moreau)

11. Darcee N (Travis Cullen – Travis Cullen)

12. Bank Shot Hanover (Trevor Henry – Victor Puddy)

In January, BetShare, a group of Toronto entrepreneurs, won Horse Racing 3.0: Changing the Game (HR3) with an exciting new video streaming concept designed to bring new players to horse racing.

The HR3 program, in partnership with iBoost and Ryerson University’s Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation, challenged Canadian start-ups and entrepreneurs to co-develop disruptive technology with Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) to help transform the horse racing industry.

[View highlights from the HR3 competition by clicking ‘WATCH VIDEO’ on the right-hand side of this page.]

A call to action last summer brought applications from 16 interested entrepreneurs including founding BetShare members Salah Rawdat and Pedro Pessoa. Over the course of development, they were joined by fellow team members Andrew Chui, Esteban Cardenas and Nehal Rao.

The 26-year-old Rawdat, who attended high school with Pessoa at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, is a newcomer to horse racing but brings a very particular set of skills to the track.

“I have strong business acumen and I also have a degree in psychology. I enjoy anything to do with research,” said Rawdat.

Rawdat believes his psychology background is a key component in reaching a new core of horseplayers.

“I would say the psychology is even more important than the technical side,” said Rawdat. “If anything, the fundamental understanding of the needs of the customer base is so important in how you build the technology.”

The BetShare team, over the course of a design jam, worked alongside WEG mentors to develop a next generation handicapping platform that allows customers to follow experienced players through video streaming. The budding concept sees seasoned bettors earn money through ad revenue and commission on successful bets they’ve facilitated through their video channel. If successful, this open-source approach to wagering would help introduce new bettors to the horse racing market.