Post #997 of THOROUGHBLOG.

Get ready for a wild week of racing action.

At Woodbine, it is WOODBINE OAKS week with the draw for posts on Thursday and the race on Sunday. The BELMONT STAKES is on Saturday as is the EPSOM DERBY in England and the Quarter Horses are back at Ajax Downs with opening day on Saturday.


GOOD LUCK TO EVERYBODY! Eurico Rosa Da Silva said his patented wishes after winning the Plate Trial Stakes at Woodbine on the A.P. Indy colt EYE OF THE LEOPARD. Cindy Pierson Dulay photo.



– It was not the best trip that any of the Queen’s Plate horses had yesterday in the 9 furlong Plate Trial but Sam-Son Farms’ large colt EYE OF THE LEOPARD, making only his 3rd career start went around all 9 of his rivals and was up in time to beat the highly regarded SOUTHDALE to win the last prep for the Plate yesterday at Woodbine.

RAPID RELEASE, trained by Roger Attfield for Californians Dolantori Stable, was 3rd and Active Duty was 4th.

Celebrating the win was Sam-Son’s leaders today – Rick Balaz, whose late wife Tammy was the farm’s president until her passing in Janaury of 2008 and his children Michael and Lisa – and Mark Samuel, brother of Tammy and a Grand Prix show jumping rider.

“I have had a lot of confidence in this horse from day one,” said Samuel about Eye of the Leopard, a son of the world class sire A.P. Indy out of the farm’s Woodbine Oaks winner Eye of the Sphynx. “When I saw him go that wide (on the first and 2nd turns), normally that is troubling but he picked up horses gently down the backside and we know that he has the kick coming home.”

“I really like this horse, he’s like the old school excitement  that we used to feel with our special ones.”

Indeed, the colt comes from a long line of Sam-Son runners and breeding. No, not the Dance Smartly family, or the Regal Intention, Sky Classic family. But Oleana, the dam of Forleana and the dam of Queen of Egypt, the stakes winning granddam of Eye of the Leopard. This is the family of Woodbine Mile winner and Horse of the Year Quiet Resolve.

The first 5 from the Plate Trial are likely headed to the Plate.

SOUTHDALE, making his 3rd career start and first around 2 turns, was very strong in the early stages and was pulling his rider Emma-Jayne Wilson out of the saddle. He ran on strongly to just miss despite being hard to handle.

Trainer Ian Black – He was very sharp early but they went the half mile in 49. He has to relax a bit better, I’m not sure he even saw the other horse. But I’m delighted.

JUN1LEP21.jpgRAPID RELEASE – trainer Roger Attfield was pleased – He didn’t learn anything from his first race here, I wanted to run him once more before the Trial and that was ind of hard on him to come back in 6 days.

Then I had enough time from that race to train him the way I wanted to.

His last work was very good, so nothing ventured nothing gained,.

He ran a decent race today, I had to be pleased he was finishing as well as the other horses.

ACTIVE DUTY will race in the Plate but his stablemate GALLANT, a maiden winner in slower time before the Trial, will not according to trainer Mark Casse.

KEINO WEST was fifth and may race in the Plate.


Just six weeks ago, Eye of the Leopard was a 3-year-old colt with impeccable breeding and no experience.

After yesterday’s Plate Trial Stakes, his third career start, the Sam-Son Farms’ homebred colt stands tall as one of the favourites for the 150th running of the Queen’s Plate, June 21 at Woodbine racetrack.

Eye of the Leopard beat highly regarded Southdale by a neck in a decent 1:51  4/5 in the 1  1/8-mile race. The Beyer was 81.

Favourite El Brujo, undefeated in two stakes races this year, finished a disappointing ninth.


Eye of the Leopard pitched the mighty Sam-Son Farm into the heat of the Queen’s Plate picture yesterday, when the lightly raced colt staged an upset to win the $150,000 Plate Trial at Woodbine racetrack.

Eye of the Leopard went off at odds of 5 to 1 while El Brujo, the impressive winner of two Plate stepping stones in the past six weeks, the Achievement and Queenston Stakes, went off as a 9-to-5 favourite.

The speedy El Brujo broke from Post 1 but lagged off the pace in seventh place. He moved into contention at the six-furlong mark, but ended up ninth of 10 horses. “I don’t want to talk about him,” jockey Patrick Husbands said curtly after the race.

But Eye of the Leopard seems to be coming into his own, with only three weeks to go before the $1-million Queen’s Plate, the 150th edition of the race, on June 21.


California filly look strong

WYNNING RIDE , 2nd in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet last year at Laragh, is headed to Woodine and could be favoured for the WOODBINE OAKS.

The Ontario bred by Candy Ride is out of Wynyard by Mr. Greeley and was bred by Jim and Alice Sapara. She is trained by Bob Baffert and had an 87 Beyer Figure when she was 2nd in the Starlet.

The field for the Oaks is looking like this:

















Horse    Trainer    Dosage    Jockey

Brave Victory    Nick Zito     4.33     Rajiv Maragh

Charitable Man    Kiaran McLaughlin     2.06     Alan Garcia

Chocolate Candy    Jerry Hollendorfer     2.08     Garrett Gomez

Dunkirk    Todd Pletcher     3.00     John Velazquez

Flying Private    D. Wayne Lukas     3.67     Julien Leparoux

Luv Gov    D. Wayne Lukas     4.60     Miguel Mena

Mine That Bird    Bennie Woolley     5.40     Calvin Borel

Miner’s Escape    Nick Zito     3.80     Jose Lezcano

Mr. Hot Stuff    Eoin Harty     2.11     Edgar Prado

Nowhere to Hide    Nick Zito     2.33     ?

Summer Bird    Tim Ice     2.11     Kent Desormeaux



DUNKIRK powers through a Belmont workout. Nancy Rokow photo from








Kiaran hopes to hold off Derby winner

BY Jerry Bossert


Rachel Alexandra’s absence in the Belmont Stakes may prove a bigger problem for Mine That Bird than her presence would have.

Without the speedy 3-year-old filly in Saturday’s mile-and-a-half “Test of Champions” at Belmont Park, the pace may not be quick enough for the Derby winner’s late kick and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin knows it. “I couldn’t be more excited,” said McLaughlin, who will saddle Charitable Man for the third leg of the Triple Crown.

Last year, Da’ Tara was left alone on the lead, and pulled off the huge upset when he prevailed at 38-1, stunningly ending Big Brown’s Triple Crown bid.

“We’re going to be forwardly placed,” said the 48-year-old trainer. “First or second and hopefully easy fractions so we’ll have horse left when Mine That Bird is coming to us. Hopefully. Mine That Bird is strictly the one to beat, but I like our running style a little better for this race. We’re very confident.”

Da’ Tara was ridden by Alan Garcia, who will be aboard Charitable Man on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Garcia has been on a roll lately, winning the May 24 Vagrancy Handicap and Met Mile the next day before taking the Nassau Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday. “His confidence couldn’t be higher,” the trainer said of the jockey. “He knows the horse well and rides here every day.”

Read more: “Kiaran hopes to hold off Derby winner” –


– The dawning of a new era in Quarter Horse racing will begin on Saturday June 6, 2009 at the all NEW Ajax Downs.

The highly anticipated live race meet, which will run until October 18th (weekends), will bring sheer excitement and entertainment to the Durham region on a world class scale.


The race season will feature 35 days of live racing with purses offered in excess of $5 million. The state of the art facility will be home to 15 stake races which will attract some of the fastest Quarter Horses in North America.


Ajax Downs is located on Alexander’s Crossing, just east of Salem on the north side of Kingston Road.

For more information, visit or call 905-686-8001



from the Press Association

O’Brien dominates as Derby looms

Aidan O’Brien is only 40-1 to train the first five home in the Investec Derby following the confirmation stage.

The master of Ballydoyle is responsible for six of the 13 horses left in the Epsom Classic on Saturday as he seeks a third win in the blue riband, with favourite Fame And Glory heading Rip Van Winkle, Black Bear Island, Masterofthehorse, Age Of Aquarius and Golden Sword.

Hills spokeswoman Kate Miller said: “Aidan O’Brien’s Group One record speaks volumes and he’s capable of more wizardry than Harry Potter with his elite team.”

Irish-trained horses appear to hold the key to the Derby as their other two acceptors – John Oxx’s Sea The Stars and Gan Amhras from Jim Bolger’s yard – are prominent in the ante-post market.




1 4-1 Age Of Aquarius 28 3 9-0 A P O´Brien

b c Galileo (IRE) — Clara Bow (FR) (Top Ville)

2 -31 Black Bear Island 23 3 9-0 A P O´Brien

b c Sadler´s Wells (USA) — Kasora (IRE) (Darshaan)

3 1-8 Crowded House 23 3 9-0 B J Meehan

ch c Rainbow Quest (USA) — Wiener Wald (USA) (Woodman (USA))

4 113 Debussy 30 3 9-0 J H M Gosden

b c Diesis — Opera Comique (FR) (Singspiel (IRE))

5 -11 Fame And Glory 27 3 9-0 A P O´Brien

b c Montjeu (IRE) — Gryada (Shirley Heights)

6 2-3 Gan Amhras 35 3 9-0 J S Bolger

b c Galileo (IRE) — All´s Forgotten (USA) (Darshaan)

7 -41 Golden Sword 30 3 9-0 A P O´Brien

b c High Chaparral (IRE) — Sitara (Salse (USA))

8 1-5 Kite Wood 23 3 9-0 Saeed Bin Suroor 50 L Dettori

b c Galileo (IRE) — Kite Mark (Mark Of Esteem (IRE))

9 0-2 Masterofthehorse 30 3 9-0 A P O´Brien

b c Sadler´s Wells (USA) — Shouk (Shirley Heights)

10 1-2 Montaff 28 3 9-0 M R Channon 59 R Hills

b c Montjeu (IRE) — Meshhed (USA) (Gulch (USA))

11 7-4 Rip Van Winkle 35 3 9-0 A P O´Brien

b c Galileo (IRE) — Looking Back (IRE) (Stravinsky (USA))

12 1-1 Sea The Stars 35 3 9-0 John M Oxx

b c Cape Cross (IRE) — Urban Sea (USA) (Miswaki (USA))

13 21 South Easter 29 3 9-0 W J Haggas 50 N Callan

Horse by horse from the TIMES ONLINE…



– Vincent O’Brien, who died on June 1 aged 92 , was arguably the greatest racehorse trainer in the history of the sport. Nor is it easy to imagine anyone surpassing his achievements under the two codes of racing: in National Hunt, O’Brien won four Cheltenham Gold Cups, three Champion Hurdles and three consecutive Grand Nationals; when he turned his attention to the Flat, at the age of 41, he went on to take 27 Irish Classics, three Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphes and 16 English Classics, including six Epsom Derbys.

When his former stable jockey, Lester Piggott, was invited to locate O’Brien in racing’s pantheon, he replied simply: “Of course Vincent was the greatest — look at the figures.”