In the Winner’s Circle!

Starting Friday, April 19th the HBPA of Ontario will begin to feature a podcast for HBPA members and horse racing fans on our website at

The show called “In the Winner’s Circle” will be hosted by longtime Woodbine personalities, Renee Kierans and Jennifer Morrison.  Renee and Jen will be handicapping select races at Woodbine and Fort Erie Race Tracks, as well as other major stake races in North American such as the Kentucky Derby on May 4th.

The HBPA looks forward to working with Renee and Jen on this innovative project and to watching the show evolve during the process.

We value our member’s feedback, so please drop us a line at and let us know your thoughts on the podcast.




The 57th STAR SHOOT STAKES, on Saturday, and the 128th running of the very old WOODSTOCK STAKES are the highlights of opening weekend at Woodbine. The 133-day meeting has tons of cool things to look forward to including big event days, top class racing and a new, lower Win bet takeout of 14.95%, the lowest in North America.

The first card of the year had 87 entries, a solid number considering the late start to training and racing. The Star Shoot features an intriguing invader in FINDING MORE, who was trying to stretch her speed in longer races at Fair Grounds recently when tackling the likes of Kentucky Oaks contender UNLIMITED BUDGET.

Now she’s back at her best distance and she adds blinkers.

LEINAN is making her 3rd start off the layoff for Jim and Alice Sapara (of EDENWOLD fame) and is strictly the filly to beat. Should be a dandy event.

The WOODSTOCK is the 8th race on Sunday has seven 3yo’s going 6 furlongs. Trainer ROBERT TILLER, who has won this race twice in the last 9 years, has a3 entrants!  Stakes placed POWER PHIL, the big Beyer Figured KITTEN CANDY and supplemental entrant BAR MAGIC all have Eurico sa Silva named.

DAN THE TIN MAN, who is also stakes placed, is listed as a first-time gelding while stakes placed FIVE IRON has a race under his belt for Fred Allor.

Meanwhile, the favourite could be BLACK HORNET, whose last race on Dec. 9 was a 3rd place finish to VYJACK, winner of the Gotham Stakes and a Kentucky Derby hopeful.

Also on Sunday’s card is the prep for the Eclipse Stakes (race 9) with a loaded field that includes champion FIFTY PROOF, graded stakes winners PROSPECTIVE, DELEGATION, JAMES STREET and DON CAVALLO, That race is at 1 1/16 miles and is certainly a mouth-watering race.

Note that apprentice DYLAN DAVIS, son of famed jockey ROBBIE DAVIS, is named to ride a couple of starters for American trainer WESLEY WARD  on both days and that comebacker GARY BOULANGER is also named on a couple of runners.

Ward has won a bunch of races on opening day the last 2 years but has just an entry competing Saturday and horses in 2 races on Sunday.

KITTEN CANDY won his last race of 2012 with an 82 beyer Figure. He’s one of 3 entered in the Woodstock by trainer Robert Tiller. Norm Files photo


BY Dan Ralph

The start of the 2013 thoroughbred horse-racing season is a welcomed distraction for Nick Eaves.

After a harsh and uncertain off-season, the president and chief executive officer of the Woodbine Entertainment Group can’t wait to turn his focus to actual horse racing. On Friday, Woodbine hosts the Sovereign Awards to honour the thoroughbred industry’s top performers in 2012 before opening its 133-date 2013 racing campaign Saturday.

“It has been so difficult for everyone in our industry,” Eaves said. “The changes that were imposed are now a year old . . . and will take more time to really understand what they’re going to mean.

“To have those (Sovereign Awards and start of 2013 thoroughbred season) on the immediate horizon, I know all of us here are thrilled to be able to focus on them.”

The focus was clearly on racing Wednesday when 87 horses were entered for the Opening Day 10-race card, highlighted by the featured $150,000 Star Shoot Stakes, at six furlongs, for three-year-old fillies.

Last year, then …



The leading earner in Friday’s $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) is Donver Stable’s Canadian champion Inglorious, who has earned more than $1.4 million in her career — $600,000 of which is thanks to her win in the 2011 Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine. The Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare, a 1 1/6-mile race for fillies and mares, four-year-olds and up, marks the return to Polytrack for Inglorious, who scored five wins on the surface at two and three.

“She’s excelled on Polytrack, so certainly we wanted to get her back on it,” trainer Josie Carroll said about the five-year-old daughter of Hennessy who races for Vern and Donna Dubinsky’s Donver Stable.

In 2012, Inglorious opened the season at Keeneland, running second to Marketing Mix in an allowance race on turf. Marketing Miss won their next two meetings, both on turf at Woodbine, including the Dance Smartly Stakes (G2) in July. Inglorious did not race again for five months.

“There was no major injury,” Carroll said. “She just really got herself jarred up (in the Dance Smartly), and we decided to give her a little time off.”

Inglorious returned in December and was third in the Bayakoa Handicap (G2) over the all-weather track at Betfair Hollywood Park. In February, she finished third to Channel Lady in the Suwannee River Stakes (G3) on turf at Gulfstream Park.

“When we ran her at Gulfstream, that was going to be a decisive moment for the owners – whether she still wanted to perform at that level,” Carroll said.

That was enough to convince Inglorious’ connections to send her to Keeneland, and Carroll said, “She’s training very strongly here.”

Inglorious drew the three post in the field of eight for the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux. Last Saturday, Leparoux was aboard Inglorious when she worked five furlongs in 1:03.



What better way to celebrate the return of Thoroughbred racing to Ontario than to whoop it up at the Sovereign awards celebration tomorrow night at the track?
The lavish evening is a great way to say hello to everyone again without worrying about who is racing in the next race. There figures to be a lot of the  nominated horses and horsepeople in attendance.
Stars such as Uncaptured, Strait of Dover and others will be celebrated.
Watch the announcement and presentation of the winners in each of the 21 Sovereign Awards categories including Canada’s 2012 Horse of the Year, live on-line beginning at 9:00 pm (EST) at

Updates and red carpet moments from the evening will also be provided on Twitter using #sovereignawards as well as on Woodbine-Racetrack’s Facebook page beginning at 6:00 pm (EST).
For more information on this year’s Sovereign Awards finalists visit The Jockey Club of Canada at

**DUE TO SERVER UPDATES, THOROUGHBLOG may be down Friday through Sunday, but keep checking, sometimes these folks can do this computer pretty fast!