The Year of the Dog. So far, 2018 in southern Ontario has been the year of excruciating temperatures to the point where racing has been cancelled (Standardbred) and you don’t dare step outside unless you really need to.
But in other parts of the continent, racing is heating up and Canadians are doing well and Derby fever has begun…
DEREK CHIN and KEVIN ATTARD score big at Gulfstream
PIVEN, owned by Tornto’s Derek Chin and trained by top Woodbine conditioner Kevin Attard, drew off to a 4 length win in the $75,000 Limehouse Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
The Florida bred from the first crop of Prospective from the mare Her Entourage was even money in the 6 furlong dash for 3-year-olds and won under a confident ride by Jose Ortiz. It was the colt’s first race since he was 3rd in an allowance at Woodbine in November to Sable Island. He had been 4th in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes and a close 2nd in the Colin Stakes after winning his debut on Aug. 13.
A $75,000 OBS April purchase last year, Piven ran in 1:11.47 on a slowish surface, good for an 85 Beyer Figure, a career best.
Trainer Kevin Attard said the colt would be nominated to the Swale Stakes (Grade 2) at 7 furlongs on Feb. 3.
ONTARIO BRED FLAMEAWAY wins KITTEN’S JOY STAKES on turf
84 Beyer Figure for son of Scat Daddy
with some files from Gulfstream Park
Nine weeks after making his grass debut in the Breeders’ Cup, John Oxley’s Flameaway transferred his stakes-winning form from dirt to turf with a gutsy front-running victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream Park.
Already a two-time stakes winner at 2 in races rained off the grass, including the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon (G3) last fall at Keeneland, Flameaway ($7.40) won for the fourth time in six career starts in his 3-year-old debut. He completed the distance in 1:29.78 over a firm turf course.
The chestnut colt was a $400,000 yearling purchase from Phoenix Rising Farms of Deb Holmes. He is out of the mare Vulcan Rose, dam of Woodbine stakes winner Ellan Vannin.
Jockey Julien Leparoux had Flameaway in front from their rail post through a sensible quarter-mile in 23.78 seconds and half in 48.02, with mild pressure to his outside from Mojovation and both Power of Attorney and 7-5 favorite Fast Boat battling for third in behind.
Flameaway maintained a short lead rounding the far turn and entering the stretch as Mojovation, Fast Boat and Pony Up all came to present a challenge. Flameaway briefly lost the lead in mid-stretch but surged again on the inside through the final sixteenth of a mile to emerge from a four-way photo a neck in front of Pony Up, who was a neck ahead of 30-1 long shot Renaissance Frolic.
It was another neck back to Fast Boat in fourth, followed under the line by Mojovation, Speed Franco and Power of Attorney.
“I wanted to put him in the race and he put me in front pretty easily. Coming into the stretch I started to ask him, and he’s the kind of horse who waits on the others to join him,” Leparoux said. “They actually passed me a bit and when he saw them, he began to really kick it in again. When he has competition he’s a game horse, and it was a great win.
“We won on the dirt in Keeneland where he ran similar, fighting back to win,” he added. “It was a big battle to the wire and he fought hard to win. He’s a horse that if they come up next to him he’s going to try, for sure.”
Trainer Mark Casse had wanted to get Flameway, a chestnut son of Scat Daddy out of the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Vulcan Rose, on the turf throughout his 2-year-old campaign but was unable to until the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) Nov. 3, where he contended for the lead before fading to eighth, beaten less than four lengths.
“He’s a cool horse. He’s a got a wealth of talent. I don’t know if he’s figured it all out yet,” said Casse’s son and assistant, Norman. “I think he got a little lost at the top of the stretch. It looked like those horses were going to run by him, but as soon as they put their heads in front he picked up the bridle again and ran on. Julien deserved the credit for a great ride. We’re looking forward to the future with him.”
WONDER GADOT cross entered Jan 13 at FAIR GROUNDS
Big card in New Orleans next week
Ontario bred 3-year-old filly WONDER GADOT, the favourite to be named Champion 2-year-old filly in Canada at the Sovereign awards in April, has been cross entered next Saturday in the Silverbulletday Stakes worth $150,000 and the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes against colts.
The daughter of Medaglia D’Oro, who just won the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct, would be odds on in the Silverbulletday with John Velazquez up.
The Lecomte, worth $200,000, would be a tougher assignment with some fast colts in the mix going 1 mile and 70 yards.
Wonder Gadot was bred by Anderson Farms Ontario Ltd.
Woodbine favourite TOWER OF TEXAS pops up for the Grade 3 Colonel E R Bradley for trainer Roger Attfield on the same card.
Also at Fair grounds, race 1 features a pair of lightly raced Ontario bred 3-year-old colts.
READYFORPERFECTION, a Charles Fipke homebred trained by Dallas Stewart, makes his debut in the 1 mile turf maiden allowance and is a son of Perfect Soul.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE, a son of Tiznow – La Suena by Storm Cat bred by Bill Graham, will make his 2nd career start and first on grass for trainer Al Stall. A $265,000 2yo purchase, the colt was 5th in his debut at Fair Grounds on the dirt.
SCARY…..MASK romps in Mucho Macho Man and Kentucky Derby mania begins!
MASK and MCKINZIE won big on Saturday on two coasts and the Kentucky Derby mania has begun.
If you watched both races, you liked the way both colts won but had to be blown away by MASK, a son of Tapit from the Yonaguska mare Hidden Expression (clever name for the colt). A $685,000 yearling purchase by Lane’s End, this colt had won his debut at Belmont in October with an 88 Beyer Figure in a 6 1/2 furlong dirt dash.
Trained by Chad Brown, the colt was eased up early in the 1 mile Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream and won with a 91 Beyer Figure for a time of 1:37.65.
He is the 3rd foal of his dam.
McKinzie is a son of Street Sense from stakes winner Runaway Model and he was just edged in the Los Alamitos Derby but won big in the Shan Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday for trainer Bob Baffert.
Watch MASK roll…
LEAVEM IN MALIBU could enter PEGASUS WORLD CUP
Conrad Farms and Gary Barber’s LEAVEM IN MALIBU, recent winner of the 1 3/4 mile Valedictory Stakes (Grade 3) could be entered in the Pegasus World Cup later this month, against the likes of GUN RUNNER, COLLECTED and others. The Ontario bred by Malibu Moon, who posted an 88 Beyer Figure in his Valedictory win, had previously been racing in optional claiming races after a 29 length drubbing in the Durham Cup. The colt was 2nd in the Prince of Wales on dirt in 2016 before he missed a year of racing.
Trainer Mark Casse has said the status of the horse will be determined following a workout on Monday at Palm Meadows.
The current list of World Cup starters is: Gun Runner, Stellar Wind, Collected, West Coast, Seeking the Soul, Gunnevera, Toast of New York, Giant Expectations, and War Story. Other horses under consideration for the Pegasus include: Sharp Azteca, Fear the Cowboy, Giuseppe the Great, and Game Over.
POWER CORRUPT, a British Columbia-bred turf marvel?
It is not easy to keep track of Canadian breds racing all over the world and sometimes a big effort by one can get missed.
POWER CORRUPT, now a 4-year-old gelding, won the Walter Cluer Stakes at Turf Paradise in November with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, one of the highest numbers of any Canadian bred in 2017.
The son of BC sire STORM VICTORY ( a son of storm Cat – Funistrada who stands for $2,000 at Klimes Farm) from the Awesome Again mare Rose Garland, was claimed for just $4,000 at Hastings Park in the summer from Doug Clyde and Mike Anderson. Clyde bred the gelding.
From there, with trainer|James Brown for owner Mitch Sutherland, the gelding won 3 races including the HBPA Claiming Challenge Stakes. It was when the gelding was moved to grass at Turf Paradise in late fall when he surged. After winning a $6,250 starter allowance, he won the Clueer Stakes at 1 mile on grass in 1:34 2/5 for that 99 Beyer Figure.
Power Corrupt has since been last in the Cave Creek Stakes on dirt.
This is one to watch on the grass in races to come and quite a story for the sire Storm Victory and breeder Doug Clyde.
STORM VICTORY, from 11 crops, had 40 stakes horses from 179 starters.