**Coming up this weekend at Woodbine…the weather has been biting cold all week but today begins a rise in the mercury, from -6   C all the way up to 12 (about 55 F) by tomorrow, through Tuesday…with rain! Season ends in 15 days…

Did you know DISPLAY won the 1926 Preakness Stakes, raced in Canada a lot and a race is named after him here? Read on!



The tough horse DISPLAY is buried at Mereworth Farm in Lexington, Ky.


Jockey wins 5 of 9 Woodbine races

It was bitterly cold on Friday in Toronto with a brisk wind but fans of EMMA-JAYNE WILSON and the rider herself were warm and fuzzy after she won 5 of the 9 races on the card.

The day began with a buzz race, a maiden allowance for 2yos and the word was out on SHARP SENSATION, a Sharp Humor colt owned by Jim and Susan Hill. This speedball, a $55,000 weanling purchase, was working fast for some time so it was not a surprise that he was 3 to 5 as part of an entry.
He ran like his odds too, as he led all the way, brushed off another touted one, LENNON (Smoke Glacken) and won in 58 flat under Wilson for trainer Reade Baker.

Race 2 went to MOUNT BREW, a Milwaukee Brew 2yo who had just won his maiden for $20,000 claiming with 1st Lasix in his 3rd career start. The colt, bred by Adena Springs, rallied 4 wide from well back in the 1 1/16 mile race and held off Sutter’s Find to win for $25,000. He was a $75,000 yearling purchase and is trained by Mike Keogh.

race 3 was a 9 furlong maiden allowance for Ontario sired fillies and mares and a nice ride by Wilson, who picked up the mount from an ailing Eurico da Silva, got MAUNA KEA home in front. The Peaks and Valleys – Ocean Classic, Sky Classic gal was making her 5th career start and 2nd start since she lost her rider. She was moving from sprints to a routes but settled nicely and overpowered favoured Mobil’s Millie, who was under a heavy whip but stalled late. She is owned by Discover Racing and Edward Freeman, who also co-bred. Julia Carey scored her 10th win of the meeting.

The pick 4 started off with a 7 furlong sprint for 3yo fillies for $16,000 and KATIE ITS FINE won off the claim (but on a drop) by Sam DiPasquale and co-owner Teddy Lould. The Speightstown filly rallied up the rail to win for the 3rd time in her 15h race and it was her first win in 10 races this season.
Luis Contreras rode the winner.

More Contreras in race 5 as LIGHT VELVET held on to win her maiden for $15,000 claiming at 1 1/16 miles. The Frank DiGiulio Jr homebred by North Light Ire) – Noir Velours by Tunerup rallied very wide to win in her 5th career race. She was taking off the blinkers and was coming off a 17-length drubbing.
In this race, the filly NO COMPRENDE was seemingly tons the best but had a dreadful journey from the quarter pole to the top of the stretch, getting shuffled well back before she got out, came around and flew home. one to watch from the Ashlee Brnjas.

More Wilson in race 6 and this was an incredible race and goes to show onlookers that this gal is clearly one of the best finishing riders around. HYMN NOTE, from the DiGiulio – Tiller team was winless in 11 previous races including her last pair with Contreras up. This day, Hymn Note tried to go wide with 2 to 5 shot Sisterdini (Contreras for Willie Armata), but then dove inside and rallied to beat the overbet favourite on the wire. Sisterdini has been moved too soon in several of her races and now is 0 for 11.
It was a pretty sweet win for many.

Race 7 – KIRBINATOR was an overlay at 15 to 1 to win the $10,000 claiming event for non-winners of 2. The Marty Drexler barn tends to heat up in the fall and this one came from well back and wide under Tyler Pizarro. The best news for this guy was his short layoff he had, after 15 outings already in 2012. He had a fast recent workout time and was getting blinkers on.

Race 8 went to the study gelding HANDY HAROLD, recently re-claimed by his breeder Ron Sadler, who lost the horse for one race to Mike Wright (he won). Friday, he was 2 6 to 1! This was the 9th win for the Kinshasa gelding in his 40th race. He has earned over $250,000 and is a 7yo gelding.
Oh yes, Emma-Jayne Wilson rode.

The final race of Friday was a maiden allowance for fillies and mares won by BENITA BLUE  and it was the 5th win for Wilson and 2nd for Reade Baker, 2 for 2 on the day. the grey gal was also the 2nd winner on the card for the local sire NORTH LIGHT (Ire), a good one up at Adena North.
Benita Blue raced 3 wide and stalking most of the way, took the lead in mid stretch and held off a troubled Lonesome Town, who was in a jackpot in the stretch.





Some of the great Canadian bred/raced horses of yesteryear are celebrated this weekend at Woodbine with a stakes extravaganza and a whole lotta horses entered in 20 races over the 2 days.

Today’s DISPLAY Stakes is an open 2yo race named for American Walter J. Salmon’s colt Display, winner of the 1926 Preakness Stakes and who frequently raced in Canada where he won a number of important races.

Wikipedia has some cool info about this rebellious horse:

Trained by Thomas J. Healey, Display was an extremely difficult horse to handle and in virtually every race caused considerable problems at the starting gate. Nonetheless, he was still very successful on the racetrack and was always a sound horse who made more than one hundred starts in five years of racing.

How tough was DISPLAY?

Read this from the Unofficial Thoroughbred Hal of Fame


Display, also known as The Iron Horse, had gained fame in the 1920’s for more than just his victories. His name alone brought a shudder of dread to every assistant starter in the East. Racing fans may argue about whether Secretariat was better than Man o’ War, or if Citation could have beaten them both, but the fact that Display was the worst post horse in history is not a point that may be disputed.

The battles Display waged at the starting barrier each time he ran were remembered long after the details of the races themselves had been forgotten. The rebellious horse fought hard, kicking, bucking, and dragging assistant starters around the track for about fifteen minutes before finally lining up long enough for the field to be sent off. One of his tantrums caused the Jeffords’ Man o’ War colt Mars to attempt to escape him by jumping the fence.

Yet in spite of the exhausting efforts Display put forth before each race, which should have caused him to leave his race at the barrier, The Iron Horse won often enough to be one of the leading money winners of his day, with over a quarter of a million dollars in earnings. He could carry weight and stay a distance, even after his pre-race fireworks, and was successful in the handicap division for many years, going to the post an outstanding 103 times. Of Display, J.A. Estes wrote:

“The fires burnt high in him. He should have lived with the wild horses of the prairie where he could have been boss. There the issue would have been settled quickly; he would have ruled or died. But civilization got him instead. Men laid hold of his bridle. `All right,’ said Display, `you asked for it,’ and he gave it to them.”

The race has been run since 1956 (almost every year. WITH APPROVAL, in 1988, is last colt to win it and go on to win the Plate.

Today’s field looks like this:

Post / Horse / Jockey / Trainer1 / Mercenary / Skye Chernetz / Dave Cotey

2 / Clearly Now / Emma-Jayne Wilson / Brian Lynch

3 / Avie’s Quality / Luis Contreras / Josie Carroll

4 / Dan the Tin Man / Corey Fraser / Ricky Griffith

5 / Hey You Pick Me / Quincy Welch / Gordon Colbourne

6 / My Name Is Michael / Jesse Campbell / Dave Cotey

7 / Sky Commander / Patrick Husbands / Mark Casse

8 / Really Sharp / Justin Stein / Ian Black

9 / Bear Fabulous Son / Omar Moreno / Reade Baker

10 / Gunderman / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Mark Casse

The favourite could be AVIE’S QUALITY, who just won his maiden around 2 turns and is a Kentucky bred for Ivan Dalos. A son of Elusive Quality from the Grade 1 winning mare Fly for Avie, Avie’s Quality is, in fact, a descendant of DISPLAY…but many horses are – Display sired Hall of Fame DISCOVERY, broodmare sire of NATIVE DANCER, broodmare sire of none other than NORTHERN DANCER.

REALLY SHARP, a promising Sharp Humor colt who should have won a stake at Keeneland on turf this fall before he veered out in the stretch, will race with blinkers off for the Kaster family and trainer Ian Black. The unbeaten speedster CLEARLY NOW, by hot, young sire Horse Greeley comes in for Uphill Stable and Brian Lynch and MY NAME IS MICHAEL will go to trainer Bill Mott after the race as he has a new 75% owner.

Enjoy and celebrate DISPLAY! (photo of Clearly Now by Norm Files)