TODAY’S NEWS – ZENYATTA IS SCARY GOOD, please come to WOODBINE!, RACHEL LOSES, Derby preps have local breeding, Kinghaven, Sue Foreman etc.!


 Sarah K Andrew photo


 HORSE OF THE YEAR 09 RACHEL loses return

Aaaah, horse racing. Opinions are like…well you know, everyone has one and all those folks who cheered for the 2 super gals of racing, RACHEL ALEXANDRA and ZENYATTA always sided a bit more with one or the other.

Well, the subtle, very quiet snickers you hear are the ZENYATTA fans who were vindicated in their selection (some of us voted for her for Horse of the Year and were mystified when she lost).

During a simply wild day of racing, it was the strong rally, then the bobbing and weaving off the turn that took ZENYATTA to her 15th straight win yesterday in the SANTA MARGARITA (over little Canadian-bred DNACE TO MY TUNE!) that sent the tingles down the spine.

The Oaklawn Park/Apple Blossom Stakes match up may be off but perhaps ZENYATTA will travel around the continent and show her stuff to everyone?

“we could have some fun with her and other fans could see her. ” – Jerry Moss, owner Zenyatta


ARCADIA, Calif. — On a cloudy afternoon at Santa Anita Race Course, trainer John Shirreffs sent a message to fellow horseman Steve Asmussen. Mano a mano, game on.

The message came courtesy of not one, but two big bay mares — first when the unheralded Zardana beat 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in Louisiana at Fair Grounds Race Course, and second when champion older mare Zenyatta won in California at Santa Anita to extend her record to 15-for-15.

“California’s tough … we’re tough. Don’t take us short,” Shirreffs said following Zenyatta’s score in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Margarita Invitational (G1).

It is all systems go for Team Zenyatta en route to the April 9 Apple Blossom Invitational at Oaklawn Park, a race the 6-year-old mare won in 2008 and has been pointing toward since the beginning of the year. But the likelihood of Rachel Alexandra making that highly anticipated meeting in Hot Springs, Ark., remains in question after her finish three-quarters of a length behind Shirreff’s Brazilian invader Zardana, a 9-1 shot making her first start on dirt since 2007 in her native country.

read story and watch video:


For the 1st time in 22 YEARS, the reigning Horse of the Year has lost the comeback race.

RACHEL ALEXANDRA, a surprising winner of the HOY at least for this corner, had a dreamy, wrapped up trip through the Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds but ultimately could not battle back when ZARDANA blew around horses and up to the champ late on the last turn.

ZARDANA, a Brazilian-bred who was 3 for 3 in her only dirt races, was coming in from California for trainer JOHN SHIRREFFS, yep, the same trainer as ZENYATTA.

Little bit of revenge there…

Jockey CALVIN BOREL, on Rachel, seemed a bit critical of the tactics he was told to employ and now the early April match-up with ZENYATTA may be out the window.


by Graham Ross | March 13, 2010

The festive overflow crowd estimated at more than 12,000—the largest since the track’s reopening following Hurricane Katrina—might have thought it was the worst of times, but even in gallant defeat, it might eventually salvage more of the best of times for Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who bowed to Brazilian-bred Zardana by three-quarters of a length in Saturday’s $200,000 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

“She was basically beat when that other horse (Zardana) went by her – but she didn’t quit,” said Rachel Alexandra’s jockey Calvin Borel after the race. “She dug in and fought right back and stayed with the winner the rest of the way. That’s the kind of racehorse she is. My little filly tried her heart out. She just needed the race, that’s all.”

However, to the victor go the spoils, and Zardana, who began her career with three straight wins at Hipodromo da Gavea in Brazil, has now expanded her unbeaten streak on a dirt surface to four. Owned by Arnold Zetcher, trained by John Shirreffs and ridden by California-based jockey David Flores, Zardana, who as a Brazilian-bred was foaled exactly five-and-a-half years ago Friday, ran a courageous race.

The winner was settled behind pace setter Fighter Wing and Rachel Alexandra running in second, challenged the Horse of the Year entering the lane shortly after that one had taken command from the weakening early leader, gained the lead near the furlong grounds and proved best the rest of the way.

“We had a picture-perfect trip,” said Flores. “The strategy was simply to get her to relax and John said she would get the job done. I got after her pretty hard coming home but she’s a real warrior.”

Zardana returned mutuels of $21, $3.20 and $2.60, toured the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.55 and increased her lifetime earnings to $428,421 with her eighth victory in 19 career starts.

Rachel Alexandra paid $2.10 and $2.10 as the runner-up, and Unforgotten, who finished third 11 1/2-lengths farther back behind Rachel Alexandra, returned $3.20 in the show spot.

“We wouldn’t have brought her here if we didn’t think she could get the job done,” said winning owner Arnold Zetcher. “She’s small but she doesn’t back down from a fight.”

As for Rachel Alexandra, her plans for what has been a highly anticipated showdown with the Shirreffs-trained Zenyatta, who won today’s Grade I Santa Margarita at Santa Anita Park, are now up in the air.

“If I thought she’d get beat I wouldn’t have run her today, so I’m definitely going to be cautious,” said two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen. “I’m just disappointed she didn’t win today. It was a lack in fitness and it’s our job to have her there and I didn’t do it.”

A decision won’t be made on the Apple Blossom until Rachel Alexandra’s connections have had the opportunity to evaluate today’s race and how the filly came out of it.

“You take her back, you evaluate her, you see how her mood is, her diet, how she goes back to the racetrack, how she breezes,” Asmussen said. “No crystal ball could see that far ahead.”

Jockey Calvin Borel (Rachel Alexandra, second): “My little filly tried hard. She needed the race, that’s all. She needed the race more than anything. I wanted to let her run her race early but they wanted me to wait. I wanted to go on past the speed horse early (Fighter Wing). I’d have got by her anytime and my filly could have gone on but they wanted me to wait and not get into her until the sixteenth pole. You know how I know she’s a real racehorse? She was beat when that other horse went by her – but she didn’t quit. She dug in and fought right back and stayed with the winner the rest of the way. That’s the kind of racehorse she is. My little filly tried her heart out. She just needed the race.”

“She ran hard. She got tired and we needed a race. Now we got a race into her and look forward to the next one. As long as she comes back good I think we’ll be alright.

“She was a little rank but going that slow she’s going to be rank. I was just trying to save her for the end and have something to finish with. She just got a little tired. I guess I tried to sit on her a little bit longer than I wanted to and it kind of took a bit out of her. Other than that, though, she needed it. She was so tired when I pulled her up. We’re shooting for a goal, though, and win, lose or draw, that’s the goal we’re shooting for. After today you’ll see a different filly.”


Tracks not promoting the stars

It’s almost as if tracks have given up – what should have been splashed acorss pages of papers and wires all over the continent was a secret to anyone not in racing.

From Northlands to Woodbine and places beyond, these track people, marketing, whomever, did nothing to advertise the big day of racing.

ZENYATTA has never been beaten folks. This is one of the greatest racehorses to ever be seen.

Where is everyone?

Congrats Mr. Stock, you nailed it:


Saturday should be a huge day for thoroughbred racing. The industry and the individual tracks should be promoting the hell out of it because two of the greatest mares of our time, perhaps of all time, Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, will be running.

Both are undefeated. Both captivated racing like no other horses in many years.

Zenyatta, who hasn’t lost any of her 14 races, hasn’t run since posted that wonderful, out-of-the-clouds win over the boys in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic when people everywhere were standing and screaming, begging and pleading for her to win even if they hadn’t be on her. It was a moment that everyone with even a tiny little interest in the sport will never forget.




LOOKIN AT LUCKY in his first race on dirt and first race with blinkers, was leaping and jumping a lot furing the 8 1/2 furlong Rebel but this long striding colt confirmed his fave-status and won the stake with conviction, earning a 98 Beyer Figure.

Mike Pegram’s Smart Strike colt earned a 98 Beyer Figure with his bold rally to win the event and stamp himself a major player for the Kentucky Derby.

He was the champion 2yo of last year and looks as if he’s just getting better and better.


93 Beyer for Odysseus

If you ever want to watch a race that clearly illustrates a young horse who still has no idea how to race but has loads of talent – watch ODYSSEUS in what at first seemed like a narrow loss in the TAMPA BAY DERBY yesterday.

The race was a wild one for the young colt who was coming off consecutive wins at the track for Satish Sanan`s PADUA STABLE and trainer Tom Albertrani.

He stalked a solid pace set by favoured Secret Saver – half a mile in 47 flat – but then a fast wooshing move by Schoolyard Dreams shook up everyone inside the 1é4 pole and ODYSSEUS either stalled or was just taklen by surprise.

`Dreams zoomed clear but that was a very premature bid under JEREMY ROSE  and ultimately, `Dreams, by Stephen got Even, was nabbed atthe wire.

Odysseus (Malibu Moon – Persimmon Hill by Conquistador Cielo) really had no business winning – as he re-rallied off the turn but horses in front of him, outside of him and ultimately had to dive down late to the inside for his last surge.

The colt is 3 for 4 in his career and could be even better than he`s shown so far – or not.

And ODYSSEUS is making Ontario horsewoman SUE FOREMAN very happy since Foreman owns a half sisters to the colt, VANETTA HILL and her daughter MARGARTIA HILL.

VANETTA HILL (Crown Attorney) is one of 3 foals from the mare PERSIMMON HILL that Foreman foaled when she owned PERSIMMON HILL. Vanetta Hill’s first foal for Foreman is stakes calibre KEINO WEST who was on the Plate trail last year.

SAN FELIPE at Santa Anita

Sidney comes from KINGHAVEN family

A slow pace set by the Candy Ride colt SIDNEY’S CANDY messed up things for his rivals in the 1 1/16 mile event over Pro-Ride. The previously undefeated CARACORTADO had no chance to catch up but a good race wqas run by INTERACTIF, the big black colt that came all the way from Florida and left grass racing behind.

SIDNEY’S CANDY, a homebred for Jenny Craig and the late Sidney Craig, is from a popular Kinghaven Farms family that strated with the imported mare CRELITA.

Remember her? CRELITA produced Queen’s Plate winner STEADY GROWTH for Bud and David Willmot, plus KINGSBRIDGE and so many others. She also prodiced WOOLY WILLOW, dam of Canadian-bred millionaire EXCHANGE, the 2nd dam of SIDNEY’S CANDY.


that Her Majesty will attend July 4 Queen`s Plate


(Editor`s note – the Plate will be run for the 151st time this year, not 150th as stated below)

 The details are still under a royal robe of secrecy, but all signs suggest this year’s Queen’s Plate — the 150th anniversary edition of Canada’s most famous horse race — will be witnessed by none other than its namesake monarch, Queen Elizabeth, during her scheduled nine-day visit to the country this summer.

The race, almost always run on the last Sunday in June, has been pushed this year to July 4, when the Queen is expected to be on the Ontario leg of a Canadian tour that will also include stops in Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

“There is no question we hope the Queen will come, but haven’t heard confirmation from the palace,” said Glen Crouter, chief spokesman for Toronto’s Woodbine racetrack, home of the event since the 1950s. “We keep our fingers crossed.”

read the rest of the story at:





Notes from Saturday racing…

RADIO RELAY powered from off the pace to win the  6th race at Gulfstream Park yesterday for $6,250, his 2nd win in his 3rd outing of 2010 for owner/trainer Tino Attard.

Once considered a top prospect when i nthe barn of trainer Mark Casse, the ONtario bred by Kafwain, bred by Ormonde Farm, makes his living in claiming events these days.

Last year, the 5yo horse won 3 of 12 and almost $30,000.

With the win, trainer Attard is 15-4-2-1 at the GP meeting.

Yesterday, he rallied past another Ontario bredéowndétrained fellow – Poachers Moon, trained by Barb Pirie, who now has a 14-2-4-0 record at the GP meeting.


The comeback race for top 2yo of 2 years ago, UTTERLY COOL likely did something at least for his fitness since he had been on the shelf since 2008.

Mel Lawson`s homebred by Smoke Glacken from Destroy zipped to a long lead in the 2 turn turf tilt at Fair Grounds and he held on very gamely but wilted just late and landed 3rd in the allowance event. The 4yo won 3 of his 4 races as a 2yo before a serious injury laid him up.


Unfortunate name – ROTTEN TO THE CORE made his debut at Gulfstream yesterday at 9 to 5( party of an entry) in a 5 furlong off-the-turf race. The Ontario bred was foaled atWindfields Farm and is by Orientate – Sweet and Careless, making him a half brother to Grade 1 winning filly CARELESS JEWEL, who is Canadian owned. ROTTEN TO THE CORE was not horrible but he was a flat 4ht in his opener.


Watching TURFWAY PARK, there was a superbly brave run put in by a horse named CANYON DRIVE in race 4, an allowance optional claiming event. It is not a Canadian-related note but this 5yo horse was hooked early in the 1 mile race by another tough customer, Timbucto. With R. Stokes riding Canyon Drive and R. Prescott on Timbucto, the pair opened up to 8 lengths on the field in their own mad battle.

Timbucto packed it in by incredibly, Canyon Drive kept on going under heavy heavy whip pressure. The horse is 2 for 2 since moving to Turfway.


Last year’s most expensive yearling, a Medaglia D’oro colt out of Words of Royalty, is named KOKOPELLI D’ORO.

Bought by Lana Sniderman, the colt’s name, and others can be found on this site: