Some are these are issues from feedback I have heard from dozens of owners and trainers throughout the racing season. Others are some fun things.
If you have have some wish-list items, let Thoroughblog know!

1. Peace among men and woman, goodwill between all.
– And that means good communication between horse people and track management. Any track. Rumors and innuendo make for unnecessary agitation before anyone has a chance to sit down. Utilize your representative groups, keep the communication lines open and be prepared for some give and take. Not everyone is going to be happy, we have a large population of horse people and their horses, owners, breeders and hard working staff on the front and back sides of the tracks. Let’s be good to every one as much as we can. Remember, we are all here because of one thing – we all love horse racing.

2. Some needed tweaks to the WOODBINE condition book throughout the year.
That was then, this is now. What may have worked 20 years ago does not apply into 2019. Now there will be more turf races than ever with the exciting new inner turf course opening in late spring/early summer and that opens up so many more opportunities for the local horse population.
However, there are many categories that need some work in the condition book. Look at Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. The dash to the Queen’s Plate ends in late June and then what? There are no places to race a good 3-year-old who is not able to compete in the Triple Crown. The condition book must offer opportunities for the good local horses, not just the US-bred/sired starters or older horses.
If my horse finishes 5th in the Plate, where does he/she run next? Eventually they are down in class and local owners and breeders have lost value in their horses.
The 2-year-old schedule has, for many years, seen tiny fields for too many stakes races too close together. Example – the Glorious Song and South Ocean Stakes for 2yo fillies were 6 days apart in November. One race is 7 furlongs and the other, for Ontario sired gals, is 1 1/16 miles. Small fields each. Throughout the summer, the 2yo stakes are aplenty while races for 2yos that are not stakes are scarce.
The track offered many more bottom level claiming races in 2018, so many at 5 furlongs. Perhaps trying to keep Woodbine as a mid-level track (at least until the last couple of months of the season) would be a better idea than catering too much to $5,000, $6,250 claiming types at 5 furlongs.

3. Strong field for the Queen’s Plate/Woodbine Oaks

– It is a fact that the Canadian-bred horse population has been very low in recent years and collecting up some very good ones for Canada’s most famous race has been a struggle. Not unlike the Kentucky Derby, owners, trainers and breeders want to see their 3-year-old in the big race, sometimes, however, these horses are badly over-matched and never return to form. Here’s hoping for a really strong field for 2019!

4. Bonus for Triple Crown/Triple Tiara?

– It has been many years since the Bank of Montreal put up that $1 million bonus for any horse that swept the Canadian Triple Crown. BMO did not have good luck as it was won a trio of times in a short period. It has also been many years since Wando swept the series, bringing Canadian horse racing to the front pages. The Crown and the Tiara (for fillies) need some help, it would be fun to keep the top Canadian bred 3-year-olds around for at least the 3 race series for both.

5. Yearling Sale Boost – This is an important and special day!

– The biggest day for Canadian breeders is sales day. This is what they work for from the moment they plan their breedings. It would be neat to see some of the country’s top breeders save one or two of their best-bred yearlings for the local sale, rather than send all of those to Kentucky/Saratoga sales. A few of the more fancy yearlings in the local catalogue will certainly lure more prospective buyers, helping out the sale overall.

– A yearling sale is also an important day for the industry to attract buyers. Let’s make sure the sale experience is a special one for all buyers, new and regular.

6.  Get a really good western Canadian horse to come to Woodbine. How about a visit by Escape Clause, who has a big chance to be Champion Older Mare in Canada for 2018 at the Sovereign Awards? This Manitoba-bred machine is a marvel and she likes turf!

7. Owner and trainers to be mindful of their horses and know when enough vet work is enough.  The goal is no more racetrack fatalities. Not ‘just one more race’ but, ‘he’s won a couple of races for me and he should be retired now’. Horse retirement and placement/adoption should be number one for owners and trainers. Take notice of your horse’s form.

Take notice of your horse. Do the right thing and they will do right for you. The worst stories of 2018 involved positive tests and swirling rumours of drug use for horses or vets taking edges. Let’s work hard to help racing improve its public perception, We want happy fans!



DANCIN SHOES won the Sadie Diamond Futurity and the BC Debutante and was 2nd in the Fantasy Stakes in her 3 starts in 2018 – FOUR FOOTED photo

A few fun pieces about some of the smaller breeding groups in Canada

DAVID AND DELAURYN PIHL of Kelowna, BC have a small racing and breeding  operation and have raced horses in BC, Ontario and in California. In 2018, their 2yo filly DANCIN SHOES won 2 of 3 starts, both stakes races, and is an exciting prospect for 2019.

Dancin Shoes (Cross Traffic – Andthelivinsiseasy by Gone West) was born on June 21 and had an incredible arrival.

As Tom Wolski noted in his interview with David Pihl in Hoss Talk “Dancin Shoes was a late foal,” said Pihl. “And while her mother (Andtheliviniseasy) was giving birth, she developed complications and began hemorrhaging. Then our vet told us she was going to die and we should get the foal out immediately. As soon as we got the baby was out, the mare got so excited and jumped to her feet. For the next few days, my wife bottled fed the foal with fluids and she began getting better. We quickly noticed the foal was very smart and a fast learner. But, because she was a late foal, we were having trouble selling her to anyone or take to a yearling sale. She’s (Dancin Shoes) really an amazing story and we’re so blessed with what happened.”

Barbara Heads trains Dancin Shoes.

JOAN ADDISON (third from right) accepting an award from CTHS president Peter Berringer in celebration of Dun Drum’s big win in the Kingarvie. From the left: Ian Black (trainer) Janet Black, Peter Berringer, John Stapleton, Joan Addison, Emma Jayne Willson, and co-owner Barbara Brown. WOODBINE PHOTO

JOAN ADDISON of King City has been in racing for half a century. Joan and her sister Dinnie Burns offered trainer Ian Black one of his first jobs in Canada, having ridden a stakes winner for Addison overseas. Black went on to manage the famed Kinghvaen Farms before heading out on his own to train.

In December, 2018, Black sent out Addison’s DUM DRUM, co-bred with John Carey of T C Westmeath Stud, to win the Kingarvie Stakes. The 2yo by the late Bold ‘n Flashy from Addison’s mare Lea’s Moon by Perigee Moon is co-owned by Black’s wife Janet and Barbara Brown.

Lea’s Moon, who won over $120,000 racing for Colin Nightingale, has had 3 foals to race, all winners including stakes placed Ellas My Love and Drumcliffe.

Incredibly, lea’s Moon’s dam, VINTAGE RED, bred by Addison, has not only been a super producer herself, but her half sister, Littleprincessemma, produced 2016 Triple Crown winner AMERICAN PHAROAH. Now that is cool.


The cost to enter the third running of the Pegasus on Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park — with the overall $16 million purse will divided into a $7 million turf companion race — is $500,000. Top contenders include the 1-2 finishers of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Accelerate and Gunnevera, along with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light.

Others so far probable are Seeking the Soul, Bravazo and True Timber. Coolmore has purchased a spot to run in both Pegasus races with its dirt contender undecided.

Possible are Audible, Leofric, Patternrecognition and a handful of runners set to run within the next week including Battle of Midway, Something Awesome and Unbridled Juan. The latter pair are Canadiwn-breds for Stronach Stables.


Follows the microchip initiative

The Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB), an investigative agency formed in 1946 by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America to protect the integrity of the sport, has announced the introduction of the digital tattoo system, scheduled for full implementation by Jan. 1, 2020.

The announcement was made by J. Curtis Linnell, executive vice president of the TRPB.

The TRPB provides authentication of identity for every Thoroughbred racing in the United States and Canada.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) passed a model rule regarding digital tattoos this past summer. The model rule states, effective by Jan. 1, 2020, the racing secretary shall ensure that the registration certificates for all Thoroughbred horses that were foaled in 2018 or thereafter have a digital tattoo prior to entry in a race.

“With modern technology, specifically the use of microchips, scanners, wireless technology and tablets, a digital tattoo will clearly provide a superior and more robust form of identification,” Linnell said. “We want the industry at large, as well as regulators and horse identification officials, not only to be aware of the impending change but to be fully prepared for implementation of the digital tattoo by January 1, 2020.”The transition to the TRPB Digital Tattoo follows the recent requirement by The Jockey Club for a horse to be microchipped prior to being registered and, more recently, the availability of a digital certificate of foal registration. The breed registry for Thoroughbreds in North America issued the first digital foal certificate in May.

The software for the digital tattoo was developed by The Jockey Club Technology Services.

“The TRPB’s Digital Tattoos are an ideal complement to The Jockey Club’s microchip and digital certificate initiatives,” said Rick Bailey, The Jockey Club registrar. “We are working closely with the TRPB to ensure that the horse identification system in place in for Thoroughbred racehorses in the U.S. and Canada is thorough as well as technologically advanced.”

In essence, the digital tattoo is an electronic validation of the identity of a horse performed by a trained TRPB technician. The technician will use a scanner to read the horse’s microchip and the microchip number will hyperlink to electronic registration information.

After fully examining the markings and foal photos contained in the horse’s electronic record, the technician will confirm the identity of the horse standing in front of him or her and upload a selection of digital pictures documenting the horse’s markings to The Jockey Club’s database.

The TRPB technician will then place an electronic embossment on the face photo of the horse and a digital stamp on the electronic certificate of registration.

This digital tattoo will indicate that the TRPB has verified the identity of the horse and uploaded updated digital photographs to the breed registry’s database.

TRPB personnel will be meeting with racing officials, regulators, horse identification personnel and various other industry officials through the end of this year and throughout next year to familiarize them with the change. The current practice of branding horses on the inside lip will be discontinued at the end of 2019.

The TRPB website will contain additional information leading up to the rollout of the digital tattoo.