It’s a SUPER SATURDAY!
Bitterly cold in Toronto at -14 Celcius but hot action in racing: DUBAI this morning with LANI returning to the races in a World Cup prep race; GULFSTREAM has a big card with the Kentucky Derby prep – FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH and at 4 p.m. Toronto time – the Sandy Lane Gold Cup from Barbados…
CANADIAN PRESS – WOODBINE STAKES SCHEDULE SHOWS PURSE CUTS, OVERNIGHT PURSES INCREASE
Vandal, Fanfreluche, Swynford and Deputy Minister cancelled
Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has reduced the purses in a number of its stakes races this year, including the Woodbine Mile and Canadian International.
The purses of the two Grade 1 events has been cut from $1-million to $800,000, leaving the Queen’s Plate as the lone $1-million event.
The purse of the Breeders’ Stakes, the third and final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown was cut $100,000 to $400,000. The 1.5-mile turf race is scheduled to be run Aug. 20.
The moves were made to offset a purse account shortfall.
“We’re proceeding with an initiative to rebalance our overall Thoroughbred purse program, committing another $1-million to overnight purses, which will substantially benefit our local horse people,” Jamie Martin, Woodbine’s executive vice-president of racing, said in a statement. “This reorganization towards overnight purses and resulting stakes purses reflects WEG’s $68-million overall purse contribution in 2017.
Stakes schedule here..
CANADIAN HORSES AND OWNERS BUSY TODAY
QUEEN’S PLATE CONTENDER CHANNEL MAKER gets his 3-year-old season started for owner Joey Gee Thoroughbred, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber in the Grade 3 Palm beach Stakes on the grass at Gulfstream Park. The English Channel fellow will be ridden by John Velazquez and Danny Vella trains. He was the winner of the now-defunct Vandal Stakes last year, 3rd in the Grade 2 Summer and 7th in the BC Juvenile Turf.
Also in the Palm Beach is SAILING HOME, an Ontario bred by Mast Track testing the grass for the first time after a 3rd place finish in the OBS Championship.
There are some other Ontario bred 3yos in action at Gulfstream on Saturday who are Plate nominated including Glencairn for Bill Werner and Tinme to Travel for Hillsbrook Farm.
HEART TO HEART, one of the most talented Canadian-breds in recent years, is a favourite in the CANADIAN TURF -Grade 3, a race he won last year. Not only is is fitting that Heart to Heart, bred by Manitoba’s Red Hawk Ranch and owned by Alberta’s Terry Hamilton is the Canadian Turf fave but each year Canadians Gail Wood and Vicki Pappas are usually called on to present the trophy.
Also in the Canadian Turf is Ontario bred INTERPOL, now trained by Jimmy Toner and coming off a 1 1/2 year layoff and Canadian owned/trainer DRAGON BAY.
HORSE OF THE YEAR OF 2015, Catch a Glimpse, one of North America’s most accomplished turf fillies the past two seasons, launches her 4-year-old campaign in Saturday’s $100,000 Sand Springs Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The one-mile turf event, which will be run as Race 6, drew a field of nine fillies and mares. The Mark Casse-trained Catch a Glimpse has been installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite. Florent Geroux, aboard the filly for the majority of her 12 career starts, has the mount from Post 5.
Owned by Gary Barber, Michael Ambler, and Jeff Begg’s Windways Farm, Catch a Glimpse provided the Casse operation with its first Breeders’ Cup victory when she captured the 2015 Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Keeneland. During her two seasons thus far on the track, Catch a Glimpse has earned in excess of $1.8 million and owns a record of eight wins — seven in stakes — from 12 starts. She’s a winner of three Sovereign Awards, including 2015 Horse of the Year.
On Thursday afternoon, while Catch a Glimpse schooled in the paddock with the runners for Race 3, Casse’s son and assistant, Norman, discussed how the fleet-footed filly has trained for her first race since finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) last November.
“I think she has calmed down a lot, from 3 to 4,” Casse said. “The way she has been working in the morning … she seems like she is a lot more relaxed than she had been before. She might be a little more versatile than she was before. But I’m not saying that it is what we’re going to try [take her off the pace]. I’m just saying she might have that ability now.”
The Sand Springs in some respects resembles the spot that kicked off Catch a Glimpse’s 3-year-old campaign, the Herecomesthebride (G3) at Gulfstream Park. She won the Feb. 27 race by 2 1/2 lengths in a performance that marked her first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“It’s a very, very similar situation,” Casse said. “Obviously she likes Gulfstream’s turf course. We did a similar work pattern with her. Everything is about the same. It’s just a great starting point for her and hopefully a confidence booster — it’s a little easier race than she had been running in — and it should set her up for Keeneland.”
Casse said he is pleased that Geroux, currently the leading rider at the Fair Grounds meet, will be reunited with Catch a Glimpse in the Sand Springs. In 2016, the native of France was aboard the filly for all but one of her eight starts, the Filly & Mare Turf.
“I think Flo is very good with flighty horses and she is a flighty filly,” Casse remarked. “I’m not so sure she would have become the star she is without Flo. He seems to get along with her really well and we’re happy to have him back.”
Also in the Sand Springs field is Ontario bred ICE FESTIVAL, trained by Sid Attard for Stronach Stables. She is a Sovereign Award finalist for Champion Older Mare for 2016 and come off 3 wins in her last 4 races including one on the grass.
HAS KEN RAMSEY FOUND ‘KEY’ TO BARBADOS VICTORY?
Patrick Husbands to ride Keystoneforvictory, Raffie Hernandez on ‘Rider
by Kent Layne for Barbados Today
Champion American owner Ken Ramsey is looking for a third win in Saturday’s 36th running of the Sandy Lane Gold Cup.
After winning in 2014 with Major Marvel and 2015 with Sayler’s Creek and placing second last year with Watchyournownbobber, Ramsey is back again this year with two charges KeystoneforVictory and High Noon Rider.
There was disappointment for some race fans after Ramsey had nominated Sir Dudley Diggs at the first and second nominations stages of the race, but he was not among Ramsey’s pair to fly to Barbados on Tuesday. Sir Dudley Diggs who had won the million dollar Queens Plate in Canada, was set to create history on Saturday as being the first horse to win a million dollar race to compete in Barbados.
READ KENT’S STORY HERE…
WATCH LIVESTREAM OF BARBADOS RACES HERE..