“I’ve been running, always running….

Now I ain’t running anymore” – Jon Bon Jovi



Just thought about the new song from the movie Stand Up Guys when I think of a great horse racing year, the excitement to come as well as the hard times ahead for people and horses.

It is business as usual on Dec. 21, 2012, the first day of winter.

There were no catastrophic events this morning despite the end of the Mayan calendar.

The situation in Ontario horse racing may not be as rosy. No it’s not the end of the world, but  just a few days out from Christmas day and New Year’s day and no one knows what kind of business will be able to be held come April 2013.

The good news is, wagering on Woodbine is up again. It offers a great product and its racing is loved and appreciated worldwide. Let’s hope it can sustain that role.

The horses are now resting at farms or in parts south of the border. Some are just getting back to racing.

Others are not wanted anymore.

It is an expensive business and yes, it is a business. Horses make their money for their owners and trainers and then most of them are sold off once the well has run dry. 

You can’t make money in this business unless you treat it like a business.

There is something to be said about conscience and respect for an animal, however. What Thorooughblog has been involved in recently does not fall under that category. see more below.




Woodbine has announced that handle on Woodbine’s 2012 live Thoroughbred meet, which concluded on December 16, showed impressive growth over the 2011 season.

The 156-day meet saw an “all-sources” wagering total of $453,865,564, up 7.2% over the $423,209,365 wagered on the 165 dates offered in 2011. The numbers are even more impressive on a per card basis. Last year, an average of $2,564,905 was bet per card. In 2012, an average of $2,909,394 was recorded, an excellent 13.4% hike.

It is the fourth consecutive year of handle increases on the Thoroughbred season. Wagering rose 7.5% in 2011 over 2010, and increased 8.9 % in 2010 over 2009. It also increased 7% in 2009 over 2008. All-sources wagering on Woodbine’s thoroughbred product is up over 34% since 2008.

Wagering in WEG’s home market held relatively steady, slipping just 1.6% per card. The gains primarily came from international exports, including another significant market share increase from the U.S. outlets.

“We’re seeing legitimate interest in our racing programs in Toronto, across the country and internationally,” said Nick Eaves, WEG’s President & Chief Executive Officer. “We’re proud of the quality of our racing product and the positive momentum that we are experiencing with it. We are very thankful for the support and loyalty from our horsepeople and our increasing fan base, particularly in these challenging times.”

Customer support for racing in Toronto couldn’t come at a more important time. In February 2012, the Ontario government announced the abrupt cancellation of the Slots-at-Racetracks Program, which has played an important role in the recent success of Woodbine’s racing product and the economic impacts it has generated.

“While we are pleased with the results of our 2012 thoroughbred racing season, we are extremely concerned about the lack of certainty which exists for 2013,” said Eaves. “The continued success of Woodbine’s live racing program and the significant employment and economic impacts which come with it are dependent on a new partnership between the industry and the Province of Ontario. We remain optimistic that such a new arrangement can be achieved. We continue to work with the Government toward this end and hope to be able to provide the necessary certainty soon for all stakeholders in the province.”

Standardbred racing continues at Woodbine through the winter, including a special Boxing Day card that features a 1:00 p.m. post-time. A New Year’s Eve program will also be offered at 1:00 p.m. In the new year, racing will be conducted on a four-day-a-week basis (first race post-time is set for 7:25 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights) through the end of March.


Ontario bred colt wins at Gulfstream
The very speedy PARTY LAD, bred in Ontario by Nancy Mitchell, zipped to a big win in a $75,000 claiming optional/ allowance race yesterday at Gulfstream.

The son of Vibank – Helen’s Fury by Stormy Atlantic went wild fractions on the pace in the 5 furlong turf dash, 21.18. 43.57 and won by 4 lengths in 55.8. Trained by Mike Pino, the bay 2yo was a $5,000 yearling purchase.

He was a recent winner at Penn National and won his maiden at Woodbine.

Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0, $79,310.

O-Jal Dastur. B-Nancy Mitchell (ON). T-Michael V Pino.




Good luck to all the owners, trainers grooms and riders who are working in other places during the winter. I know some are in Florida, Philly, New Orleans and Arkansas. All the best.


Josie Carroll
December 22 – Fair Grounds

James Street    Race 5    Buddy Diliberto Memorial H.

Mark E. Casse
December 21 – Gulfstream Park

Cowdray Park    Race 6    Maiden Special Weight
December 22 – Gulfstream Park

Patrioticandproud    Race 2    Allowance
Northern Lion    Race 8    Maiden Special Weight

Mark R. Frostad
December 21 – Gulfstream Park

Milwaukee Blitz    Race 6    Maiden Special Weight

Shane Learn
December 23 – Parx Racing

Cantona    Race 8    Allowance


OHRIA: Ontario NDP gives horse racing the recognition it deserves

The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) is applauding NDP MPP Taras Natyshak for taking a strong stand on behalf of his party to express support for the horse racing industry.

“Roughly 60,000 people in the province rely on the horse-racing industry as their means of employment,” Natyshak said. “With this singular decision [to end the Slots at Racetracks Program], it has led to a massive contraction of those jobs.”

Natyshak definitively stated his party’s support for preserving the program, and argued in favor of holding local referendums before the government goes forward with its planned gaming expansion.

“We are delighted that Ontario’s NDP is expressing support for continuing the Slots at Racetracks Program through 2014, allowing for a more manageable transition for the horse racing industry.” said Sue Leslie, President of OHRIA.

“It is our hope to continue to work with all parties to develop a solution that is best for both the Province of Ontario and the horse racing and breeding industry,” said Leslie. “Until this year, the government and industry enjoyed a successful partnership with historic returns on investment for the government. Ontarians can’t afford the massive job losses which ending the Slots at Racetracks Program is expected to cause, nor the social impacts of the government’s current gaming modernization strategy.”




She won 14 races in her career at Woodbine. She posted Beyer Speed Figures in the 90’s. She had 6 different sets of owners and raced from $6,250 claiming and ended up at the allowance classes.

She went off to a life as a broodmare for many years and gave us:

X Squared 2010 1 0 0 1 $5,582
Press Inclusive 2008 0 0 0 0 $0
Press Here 2007 13 2 2 2 $119,346
Exclusive Dan Sir 2006 25 0 3 3 $12,202
Jumptoconclusions 2005 34 8 7 4 $128,253
Moment of Zen 2004 11 3 1 0 $21,843

She was sold in 2010 for $2,100 at the CTHS Mixed Sale in foal to PHILANTHROPIST and her yearling filly sold in September for $10,000.

From foaling this filly in 2011 until recently, we don’t know where Press Exclusive was or how she ended up at an auction recently – in very bad shape.

I won’t publish all of the 30 plus photos of this mare – they are available on the Facebook page of Transition Thoroughbreds and other pages. What you see is just one of dozens of sores and injuries.

How a horse can be passed along looking like this is impossible to imagine. She has provided the industry with about $750,000 in income.

Press Exclusive has been taken out of the auction and under veterinary care. Whether she makes it or not remains to be seen, she is being given a chance and will not suffer anymore should the meds not work.

How can our industry let this happen?