ERUPT is at Woodbine, in from France for trainer Francis Grafford and owner Stavros Niarchos. A son of Dubawi and a Group 1 winner last year (and 5th in the Arc last fall, Erupt is as gentle as a lamb. Melissa Pisante photo




From Woodbine to Keeneland, the Mark Casse stable won 4 big races for 2-year-olds on the weekend.

At Woodbine, the well bred beginner GALE FORCE rallied inside of stablemate LET IT RIDE MOM and won the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes with a 66 Beyer Figure. Owned by Dixiana Farms and bred by Nat Rea’s defunct Regis Farms, the Kentucky bred daughter of Giant’s Causeway is out of 2007 Horse of the Year Sealy Hill.

The race was run like so many major events over the weekend with a slow, measured pace and then a sprint to the wire. The final time was 1:44.96. Ontario bred Spring Tempest got third for Steve Owens.
On Sunday, it was the impressive Live Oak Stud colt GOLDEN HAWK who crushed four rivals in 1:43,38 in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes worth $150,000. The son of Tapit is out of a full sister to Speightstown as the 2nd dam is Canadian champion SILKEN CAT.
Patrick Husbands rode Golden Hawk who received an 82 Beyer Figure.

More stuff –

The IAN BLACK stable won the finale on Saturday and the first race on Sunday to get a roll going. Both horses, TAP O’ THE MOUNTAIN and LETTER FLY (aka Cinderella) are owned by Janet Jeanpierre.

Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson celebrated a win with his homebred filly APPLE OF HIS EYE who won her maiden in race 2 on Sunday for $25,000 claiming. The Artie Schiller gal led all the way under Rafael Hernandez.

Speaking of Hernandez, he got his 2000th career winner on Saturday when he guided Sea and Dorothy Fitzhenry’s GUY CABALLERO to win a maiden allowance at1 1/16 miles. The Ontario bred colt by Quality Road looks like a nice prospect and he was one of 3 straight winners for the Catherine Day Phillips stable on the weekend.
One of those other winners was another 2yo, WATCH ME STRUT, a Strut the Stage gelding who won a $45,000 maiden allowance in his 2nd career race. This guy was bought for about $6,000 at the local yearling sale and he was bred by Sam-Son Farm Stallion Division and Frank Mermenstein.

Gabe Grossberg has a nice Ontario bred 2yo in HEARD THAT, who ran to her impressive workouts and her debut on Sunday under Patrick Hsusbands, Also owned by K, Wentzien, Heard That is by Street Boss.








The Breeders’ Cup Mile should b e a real humdinger with hopefully a meeting between 2 very tough gals – TEPIN and MISS TEMPLE CITY.
The former, who became a Woodbine darling when she won the Woodbine Mile off the long layoff, could not catch the wild Photo Call in the Grade 1 Forst Lady at Keeneland on Saturday but she was bound to be a teeny bit flat off her huge local run.

Meanwhile, MISS TEMPLE CITY got back to her amazing form with a win over the boys in the Shadwell Mile, showing her love for the Keeneland grass course.
She posted a 106 Beyer Figure for his win over a hard charging Ironicus, who is also headed to the Cup.
Congratulations to trainer TONY GATTELARO who saddle dhis first Woodbine winner with 20 to 1 shot SKEWSIRIDINGSHOTGUN in race 2 on Saturday. The Ballycroy Training Centre homebred was cutting back from 9 furlongs to 5 1/2 furlongs for the always key, 3rd start off the layoff.



Da Big Hoss out of Cdn. International; Erupt arrives

Excitement erupted at Woodbine on Sunday morning as we got to meet the gorgeous, lovely colt ERUPT, the first European invader for the Canadian International/E P Taylor Stakes next Sunday.

Tons of Euros will land Monday evening in the days to come as invaders will dominate the entries for the last 2 major races on the Woodbine calendar.

Indeed, there is just a single Woodbine horse in the International – Danish Dynaformer -while only Strut the Course figures to represent Canada in the Taylor.

Woodbine media notes from Sunday…
Horse / Owner / Trainer / Jockey

Danish Dynaformer / Charles Fipke / Roger Attfield / TBD
Dartmouth / Her Majesty The Queen / Sir Michael Stoute / William Buick
Erupt / Flaxman Holdings, Ltd / Francis-Henri Graffard / Stephane Pasquier
Idaho / Mr. Michael B. Tabor, Mr. Derrick Smith & Mr. John Magnier / Aidan P. O’Brien / Ryan Moore
Protectionist / Australian Bloodstock / Andreas Woehler / Eduardo Pedroza
Taghleeb / Michael Hui / Michael Maker / Florent Geroux
The Pizza Man / Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. / Roger Brueggemann / Flavien Prat
Wake Forest / Sheep Pond Partners LLC, M, Dubb & Bethlehem Stables / Chad Brown / Javier Castellano
World Approval / Live Oak Plantation / Mark Casse / Julien Leparoux


Trainer Mike Maker initially expected to send former claimer Da Big Hoss, a multiple graded stakes winner on a four-race win streak, up to Woodbine for the $1-million Pattison Canadian International but has decided instead to ship Taghleeb north for the 1 ½-mile turf classic.

“As of right now, the plan is to head straight to the Breeders’ Cup with Da Big Hoss,” said travelling assistant Nolan Ramsey, who is currently at Woodbine to saddle Han Sense in Sunday’s Grade 3 Grey Stakes.

Taghleeb, a five-year-old son of Hard Spun, was claimed for $62,500 on July 23 at Saratoga and has already picked up a stakes win for new owner Michael Hui when a ½-length winner of the Remington Green Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile turf event at Remington Park.

That victory came on the back of a deceptively good third in a Kentucky Downs allowance mile.

“He’s a sound horse. We ran him back in an allowance race at Kentucky Downs and he had a troubled trip but finished nicely,” said Ramsey. “He was way out of it and had to check a couple times in the stretch, but probably should have won the race. He was only beat a length.

“We took him down to Remington and Joel Rosario gave him a great ride and he was only a couple ticks off the track record,” continued Ramsey. “He’s been training great and the owners decided to give him a shot in a Grade 1. I don’t think the surface or the distance will be a problem. We’ll see what we’ve got.”

The Maker barn has enjoyed great success with improving horses off the claim. Da Big Hoss, since claimed for $50,000 on June 21, 2015, has won eight of 11 starts including five graded events.

“Mike does a great job. He’s a really good horseman and can look at a horse and know what changes need to be made,” noted Ramsey. “With Da Big Hoss, he’s a real straightforward horse and easy to train. Mike just made the adjustment to running him long.”

Taghleeb has big shoes to fill if he is to follow in the footsteps of Da Big Hoss, but Ramsey is already seeing some improvement in the chestnut.

“We’ve got a great training program and a great feed program and we can really turn a horse around,” said Ramsey. “Not a whole lot needed to be done. Once we put him on our program he’s filled out a little more and I think he’s a little stronger.

“He doesn’t look a lot different but he is more muscular. Just putting him on our training program and getting him used to our style, we’ll really be able to read him and see what we’ve got.”

And just like Da Big Hoss, the plan will be to stretch Taghleeb out in distance as the five-year-old Kentucky-bred will travel 1 ½-miles for the first time in next Sunday’s International.

Ramsey is hopeful that the unique layout of Woodbine’s expansive E.P. Taylor Turf Course will suit Taghleeb.

“I think it will benefit him. I think he’s a horse that the more ground he gets, the better he will be. I like the distance and the long stretch, for sure,” he said.


Erupt, trained by Francis-Henri Graffard for Flaxman Holdings Ltd., was the first of the European contingent to arrive in Canada after stepping off the plane at Pearson International just after 8 p.m. on Saturday night.

“He travelled over very well. He’s very relaxed,” said travelling head lad Anthony David.

Erupt stretched his legs over Woodbine’s Tapeta main track on Sunday morning under exercise rider Aurelien Bellei.

“Today was very good. He was in good form and had good action,” said David.

The Irish-bred colt, a four-year-old son of Dubawi out of Mare Nostrum (Caerleon), won four of seven starts as a sophomore including a two-length score in the prestigious Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, at Longchamp. Erupt went on to finish a strong fifth in the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, defeated less than four lengths by Golden Horn.

The attractive bay completed his sophomore campaign with a sixth in the Group 1 Japan Cup, defeated just two lengths in a field of 18.

Although winless in four starts this season, Erupt has kept good company finishing second to Silverware in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud; fifth in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, at Ascot; and most recently third in the Group 2 Lucien Barriere Grand Prix de Deauville.

Erupt, one of five Grade/Group 1 winners in the probable field of nine, should enjoy the good weather forecasted this week and would prefer some pace to chase next Sunday.

“He prefers firm footing,” said David. “Third or fourth is a good place for him to settle and normally he has a very good finish.”



Passion for Action and Calgary Cat, who both will be looking to rebound from sub-par last-out efforts, had their final tune-ups for the Nearctic Stakes here Sunday morning.

The Grade 2, $300,000 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, will be part of a powerful undercard on the Pattison Canadian International program.

Breezing over the Tapeta surface, Passion for Action was clocked in :49.60 under jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva, who has the call for the Nearctic.

“He’s not a big, big work horse,” said Mike DePaulo, who trains Passion for Action for Ben Hutzel. “He’s an afternoon horse.”

Calgary Cat breezed in :47.80 on the training track, galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.80 under returning rider Luis Contreras.

“He’s been working well,” said Kevin Attard, who conditions Calgary Cat for Stephen Chesney and Cory Hoffman.

Calgary Cat, Canada’s champion sprinter in 2014, is coming off a non-threatening fourth-place finish in the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes at six furlongs on the main track.


12-year-old FOILED AGAIN wins for the 90th time