CHANNEL MAKER – image by Mr. Will Wong









Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, Gary Barber and Adam Wachtel’s Wachtel Stable’s CHANNEL MAKER, fresh off a 91 Beyer Figure effort in the Marine Stakes when second, has now zoomed up to the top rung of the Plate list.

The tall chestnut gelding by English Channel, ran a superb 2nd to Live Oak Plantation’s Souper Tapit in the 1 1/16 mile race on Tapeta, his first race over the synthetic dirt.

Previously trained by Dan Vella (who won the 2012 Queen’s Plate with a son of English Channel, Strait of Dover), Channel Maker had reportedly always trained well on the main track at Woodbine.

He won the Vandal Stakes on the grass early in his career, was 3rd in the Summer Stakes and then 7th beaten 5 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup. He had his own Facebook page but following an unplaced out in the Palm Beach Stakes in March at Gulfstream, the gelding was moved to trainer Bill Mott.

He has since been 4th and 2nd in turf races before his Marine Stakes run.

Bred by Ivan Dalos, Channel Maker was bought back for $57,000 as a yearling.

For Gary Barber and Wachtel, this is the 2nd top Plate contender owned by the American groups. They also own King and His Court, the 2nd rated 3yo for the Plate on Thoroughblog.

TIME TO TRAVEL is expected to ship in for Michael Matz  and get involved in Plate prepping while Malibu Secret, 3rd in the Marine, will need to go forward from his Sunday outing as will Megagray, who was 4th in the Marine.



15 noms but 4 competed in Sunday’s Marine

5 weeks to the Queen’s Plate and the race could gain entrants depending on the result of the Oaks.

Thoroughblog Top 10 for Plate

  1. Channel Maker
  2.  King and His Court
  3. . Tiz a Slam
  4.  Avie’s Mesa
  5. . State of Honor
  6. . Expedition
  7.  Time to Travel
  8.  Malibu Secret
  9.  Berger
  10. Circle of Friends


Meanwhile, the Plate Trial should lure many of the main Plate players such as Champion King and his Court and the very good Tiz a Slam.

The Mark Casse stable has as many as half a dozen Plate possibilities (including fillies).


Plate trial Nominees – horses crossed out raced this week

dk b/.c.3 by Sky Mesa(Pulpit) – Avie’s Empire(Empire Maker)
Ivan Dalos Josie Carroll
dk b/.g.3 by Rosberg(A.P. Indy) – Meet the Queen(Strong Hope)
Gary Barber Mark E. Casse
ch.g.3 by English Channel(Smart Strike) – In Return(Horse Chestnut (SAF))
Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber William I. Mott
dk b/.g.3 by Midnight Lute(Real Quiet) – She Ain’t Much(Phone Trick)
3 Sons Racing Stable Ltd. Robert P. Tiller
b.c.3 by Lemon Drop Kid(Kingmambo) – Gauze(Saint Ballado)
Gary Barber Mark E. Casse
b.c.3 by Spring At Last(Silver Deputy) – Smart Catomine(Smart Strike)
Jack of Hearts Racing and J.R. Racing Stable Inc. John A. Ross
ch.g.3 by Eskendereya(Giant’s Causeway) – Hallnor(Horse Chestnut (SAF))
Robert Harvey Roger L. Attfield
dk b/.g.3 by Pioneerof the Nile(Empire Maker) – Flashy Got Even(Stephen Got Even)
WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd. and SF Racing Group Inc. Mark E. Casse
b.g.3 by Quality Road(Elusive Quality) – Dixie Chicken(Rahy)
Sean & Dorothy Fitzhenry Catherine Day Phillips
dk b/.g.3 by Court Vision(Gulch) – Pennywhistle(Grand Reward)
Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable Mark E. Casse
dk b/.c.3 by Malibu Moon(A.P. Indy) – Ain’t No Tellin'(Dynaformer)
Sam-Son Farm Malcolm Pierce
gr/ro.c.3 by Langfuhr(Danzig) – Megavista(Medaglia d’Oro)
Gustav Schickedanz Michael Keogh
b.c.3 by To Honor and Serve(Bernardini) – State Cup(Elusive Quality)
Conrad Farms Mark E. Casse
b.c.3 by Tiznow(Cee’s Tizzy) – Flaming Rose(Grand Slam)
Chiefswood Stable Roger L. Attfield
b.g.3 by Langfuhr(Danzig) – Wood Fern(Woodman)
G. Schickedanz and D. Howard Michael Keogh



Top Beyer Figures from Winners Friday, Sat. and Sunday:







Horse of the Year CATCH A GLIMPSE, who has been a darling of the grass for her Toronto co-owners Mike Ambler, Greg Lang and Jeff Begg, along with American owner Gary Barber, will be heading to a farm to heal from what was a severe internal bleeding incident during the Grade  Nassau Stakes at Woodbine Saturday.

The multiple champion, who won 8 straight races, 7 of those graded stakes, following her Belmont debut, was back at Woodbine for the first time since her huge Natalma Stakes win as a 2yo. Since then she had traveled to 8 tracks and often toyed with the best female grass horses.

Her incredible streak came to an end last fall and she tailed off in her final 2 races including the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

This year, her two outings included a 2nd place finish in the Sand Springs at Gulfstream and then an 8th place finish in the Jenny Wiley Keeenland, She was sent to Woodbine in an effort to see if she could find her top form again.

Catch a Glimpse, who has run on Lasix in every race of her 16 race career, has won 8 races and $1.8 million for her owners. Her future plans are up in the air but it is not likely the daughter of City Zip will race again.

A joyous group of winning owners for SILVER PRINCESS. Ontario based OSPREY STABLE, made up of Moira Gunn (sunglasses behind horse blanket), DAVE MCCRACKEN (to Moira’s left) and SHERRY MCLEAN(second from left), and their SILVER PRINCESS. thank you Mr Will Wong for photo

One of the most popular wins of the weekend was the victory by the finicky and feisty SILVER PRINCESS in the Lady Angela Stakes. This chestnut daughter of Old Forester – Timeless Silver by  Silver Deputy has been a work in progress for Roger Attfield’s team in Florida and Woodbine, not to mention the filly’s co-owner and breeder Sherry McLean. McLean owns the filly as part of Osprey Stable, which was set up through the late Dr. Mike Colterjohn and it includes Moira Gunn and Dave McCracken.

“She is very difficult to train,” said Roger Attfield following the race. “we schooled her in the gate in Florida twice a week. It was just a matter of getting her to settle her pre-race nerves.

Attfield also trained the filly’s mother, Timeless Silver, a half sister to Not Bourbon, his Plate winner, and remarked that she too was a tough actor.


Lost in the scary incident with Catch a Glimpse on Saturday was the remarkable win by STARSHIP JUBILEE in the Grade 2 Nassau. While the 4yo Florida bred filly, claimed for just $16,000 in February was somewhat lucky as Catch a Glimpse eliminated the invading Stormy Victoria around the turn, the winner was strong under, who else, Eurico da Silva.

By Indy Wind from Perfectly Wild by Forest Wildcat , Starship Jubilee had won 6 of 12 races coming to Woodbine including 3 in a row for owner Soli Mehta and partner and trainer Kevin/Tino Attard.

On Saturday – trainer DON MACRAE won a pair of races with JOIN THE RUSH, a Victor’s Cry gelding who won his maiden for $25K and KEEP YOUR HEAD UP a Flordia bred by In Summation who won a $75,00 claiming race. Both are owned by MacRae, Michael Loughry and Michael Lay.

A rarity on the Friday – Sunday series of racing dates, Stephen Chesney and Cory Hoffman owned the winners of the last race on each day. ELUSIVE SUZY, TITANICO and LITTLE CHRISTMAS captured this odd trifecta of wins for the owners and trainer Kevin Attard.

Kevin Attard is on a 5 for 16 streak in the last 10 days.

MAJESTIC SLEW is the first 3 time winner at the meeting and what a roll this guy has been since he came back to Woodbine from a winter stint in Florida.

3 wins in 43 days for the son of Majestic Warrior who is owned by Frank Russo and trained by Mike DePaulo.



Mark E. Casse…………………………………… 78 21 14 6 $1,206,747

Norman McKnight……………………………… 33 10 4 4 $234,729
Kevin Attard………………………………………. 33 9 7 5 $351,498
Nicholas Gonzalez…………………………….. 38 8 7 5 $386,309
Roger L. Attfield………………………………… 25 8 4 1 $454,079



Eurico Rosa Da Silva…………………………. 137 35 32 17 $1,673,248
Rafael Manuel Hernandez………………….. 145 27 21 22 $1,136,196
Patrick Husbands………………………………. 94 22 13 14 $1,016,141
Luis Contreras…………………………………… 107 21 14 18 $994,117
Jesse M. Campbell…………………………….. 113 20 15 12 $871,651



Sam-Son Farm………………………………….. 14 3 1 3 $248,058
Chiefswood Stable…………………………….. 10 3 1 2 $200,480
Alexander P. Patykewich……………………. 13 7 1 1 $195,326
Joey Gee Thoroughbreds…………………… 19 4 2 8 $168,210
Bruno Schickedanz……………………………. 45 7 4 8 $160,122
Frank D. Di Giulio, Jr………………………….. 18 2 1 5 $156,552
Chesney, Stephen and Hoffman, Cory
S……………………………………………………… 19 5 3 3 $147,865
Entourage Stable………………………………. 2 2 0 0 $147,000
Gary Barber………………………………………. 8 3 1 0 $143,800



Three US shippers expected, race is on June 11

The 62nd edition of the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks is coming up on Sunday June 11 as part of a racing card that includes the Plate Trial Stakes.

The 3-year-old fillies, foaled in Canada, will travel 1 1/8 miles and one of the logical favourites is ENSTONE, who finished second in the open Selene Stakes. The Tiznow filly has better form of most of the Woodbine-based Oaks hopefuls but there are 3 possible US shippers for the race.

Stronach Stables HOLY HELENA  will arrive Wednesday from New York for trainer Jimmy Jerkens should she pass a workout test on Tuesday. The daughter of Ghostzapper – Holy Grace by  Holy Bull won her maiden in her 2nd career race on May 12 on a deep, slow Belmont dirt in 1:45 2/5 for an 86 Beyer Speed Figure.

HOLY HELENA trained at Woodbine in 2016 with Kevin Attard, who could not take the horse to Florida for the winter and thus Jerkens, who trains Shaman Ghost for the Stronach team, got the call.

INFLEXIBILITY is headed to Woodbine from New York for trainer Chad Brown and Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence (of Cloud Computing, Preakness winner). The daughter of Scat Daddy, bred by Anderson Farms, is 1 for 2 in her career as well and she had a workout on Sunday morning (today) in 49.33 at Belmont training.

STALLION HEIRESS was unbeaten in her first 3 races before fading to 10th in the Edgewood Stakes on les than firm grass at CHurchill Downs. The Exchange Rate filly, trained by Mike Stidham, is the likely front runner for the Oaks. She worked 5 furlongs in 1:00 at Fair Hill training centre on Sunday morning. Rick Kanter owns the filly who was bred by Sea Fitzhenry.

MYTHICAL MISSION is a serious contender for Sam-Son Farms. She’s coming off a 3rd in the Fury Stakes and she had a big workout on Sunday, 59.80 for 5 furlongs.

Roger Attfield reports that GHOSTLY PRESENCE, the Princess Elizabeth Stakes winner from last year, is still possible for the Oaks following her 9th place finish in the Selene. The Chiefswood farm homebred by Ghostzapper is one of several Canadian breds who had a rough time in the Selene behind winner Grizzel and Enstone.

FINANCIAL RECOVERY finished 6th and Cindervella, who will have Jesse Campbell riding for the Oaks, finished 7th.

Oaks Probable Starters











Also possible – the Lady Angela Stakes was yesterday and is only 2 weeks out from the Oaks. It would be a surprise if anyone from that race went to the big race but the top three finishers were Silver Princess, Little Christy and Conquest Vivi





Pre-show brought to you by Ascot Stud, thank you Chris Blake for your hard work

Featured in this first Race day video are: Josh Robillard – Michael Cohen  – Katie Woods –  Michael Blake –  Gary Chudobiak – Elliot Sullivan –  Nick J. Gonzalez  – Daryl G. Ezra –  Ken Albu   – Sarah Collicutt



The first racing card of the 2017 Fort Erie racing season is this afternoon and  eight races are scheduled  followed by a free concert at the Tiki Bar with Xprime to kick off the twilight summer concert series.

Racing fans will recognize the voice of Frank Salive, who will be back in the announcer’s booth for his second season in Fort Erie. Salive has been calling races for standardbred and thoroughbred tracks for 44 years.

“I was really happy to join the racing scene and team at Fort Erie last year, and was very impressed with the track and the season we had,” said Salive. “I’m happy to be back and I’m looking forward to another great season of racing.”

Andrew Cady, who is in charge of the dirt and turf courses in Fort Erie, has the main track in excellent condition.

“It’s absolutely perfect,” said outrider John Willick about the dirt surface. John has been out on the track daily for morning training since it opened on April 29. “Maintenance has done a fantastic job, everything is looking great.”

John has been an outrider at Fort Erie since 2000, along with his wife Cathy who joined in 2003.

“It’s a great place to come and bring your family, said Cathy Willick. “Our track is unique because people can get up close to the horses. Kids love it.”

Sunday racing and the farmers’ market will return on June 11, post time 1:20 p.m. The market will run from 12:00 p.m. until the final race.

Fort Erie will host 40 race days from May 30 to October 17. Racing will run on Tuesdays and Sundays in June and July, and in August will switch to Tuesdays and Saturdays for the remainder of the meet.

New this season is Saturday twilight racing, which will run every Saturday in August at 4:20 p.m., followed by a free concert at the Tiki Bar after the races.

Racing fans can expect to see the return of all popular promotions, including family day on July 2, breakfast club on Sundays in July, Circle the Course fundraiser on Aug. 12 and many more exciting events. Fort Erie’s signature race, the 82nd running of the Prince of Wales Stakes, will take place on Tuesday, July 25, with the first race beginning at 4:20 p.m.



Gary Boulanger, one of thoroughbred racing’s most respected and resilient riders, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award.

He’s recorded over 3,400 career wins, including a memorable Queen’s Plate score in 2001 with Sam-Son Farm’s Dancethruthedawn, numerous graded stakes tallies, and a reputation for beating the odds on and off the racetrack.

It’s been Boulanger’s calling card since he first got a leg up in 1986, in the aftermath of the catastrophic injuries he suffered in an on-track incident 12 years ago, and throughout his time after returning to the saddle in 2013.

It’s also why the Gomez honour has special meaning for the 49-year-old Alberta native.

“I was totally surprised when I found out,” said Boulanger. “I had no idea I was being considered. I’m just very honoured and elated to receive this award. You look at all the names of people who have won this and you feel very fortunate to be part of that group.”

Throughout his career, one that’s taken him across North America, Boulanger has managed to make his mark at each track he’s competed at.

After beginning his career at Tampa Bay Downs in 1987, Boulanger took his talents to the Pacific Northwest, namely, Longacres Racetrack, where he won three straight riding titles from 1989-91. He also netted two riding crowns at Calder Race Course from 1994-95.

A scary spill on January 30, 2005 nearly ended Boulanger’s life. He suffered fractured ribs, a ruptured spleen, torn elbow tendons, a blood clot, and brain damage that required doctors to remove part of his skull to ease the swelling.

On two occasions, Boulanger flatlined on the operating table.

No one in the sport expected to see him back in the irons, including the jockey, who eventually shifted his focus to training thoroughbreds starting in 2009.

But after breezing horses for Hall of Fame conditioner Mark Casse, Boulanger miraculously made his way back to race riding. He rode his first race in eight years at Tampa Bay in 2013. Fittingly, his first win after the accident came on a Casse-trained horse.

A fixture at Woodbine since 2013, Boulanger, won 95 races last year – 88 of them at the Toronto oval – the most total victories he’s posted since 2004.

“I’ve always loved the sport,” he said. “When you were younger, you didn’t see some things the way you do now. There are certain aspects of being a rider – like not getting upset at the little things – that have changed over time. I’ve also really embraced the enjoyment of the bond I have with the horses I ride.”

Boulanger’s in the midst of another impressive season having won 18 races, including two stakes, at Woodbine. King and His Court, a Casse trainee, is a major contender for this year’s Queen’s Plate, set for July 2.