**MONDAY MORNING THOUGHTS
What a great sport and industry we have: beauty, power, thrills and emotion as hard working people from all facets of the business get together to bring horses to the races hoping for a win.
Bettors do the same too, attempting to decipher each race and how it will be run, who is the best value, who is in the best form.
Horse racing wagering is as strong as ever and a lot of horses from Woodbine and this country are going to make a lot of noise on an international stage in the coming weeks!
Read on about some of the top Canadian-breds who were in action on the weekend.
PACE MAKES THE RACE..phony?
As for SUPER SATURDAY at BELMONT PARK, the results made many of us go, wha?
The JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP was a strange race as the 3yo’s Orb and Palace Malice did not show up, FLAT OUT was only okay, CROSS TRAFFIC buckled at the start and RON THE GREEK came out of a slumber to win by a long margin.
RON THE GREEK, a 6yo horse by Full Mandate, was blown out in this race last year and his only win in more than a year was in the slop in the Sunshine Millions restricted stake at Gulfstream. He loves slop, but then was no factor in the Woodward last time.
Anyway, he heads to Santa Anita for a re-match with the Dude in the BC Classix – the Dude beat him in the Santa Anita Handicap and Charles Town Classic this year.
As for the pace of races it is hard for a bettor to watch important races look more and more preps and not carry any weight as events of their own.
The pace set up in the Kelso Stakes at Belmont was ridiculous and heavy favourite GREYDAR led all the way; LAUGHING won the Flower Bowl as everyone guzzled behind her and it was her 4th straight score in graded stakes company.
Then, when LITTLE MIKE somehow won the Turf Classic over a tough entry of Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution, well, the head scratching began. Little Mike had been 4th and 6th in his 2 race since coming back from his 11th and 8th place finishes in Dubai.
At least Canadian-bred PRIVATE ZONE, born in Aurora at Adena Springs, made the day of racing at Belmont a reason to cheer for those of us who could not connect on a winner.
Who were the stars of Woodbine this past weekend? Well, there were 2 stakes races and the quickest of these was the Victorian Queen, for Ontario sired 2yo fillies. The winner, the exciting 2yo filly REGAL CONQUEROR, is a Bill Sorokolit homebred by Sky Conqueror, the Grade 1 winning turf star. The filly is the first runner for Sky Conqueror and she is 2 for 2 in her career. She posted a 77 Beyer Figure in winning the Victorian Queen for trainer Darwin Banach.
The other stakes race was also a restricted event, the Classy n Smart Stakes for older mares. The winner, MOONLIT BEAUTY, got away with a ridiculously slow pace and won the 1 1/16 mile race with a 71 Beyer.
The Woodbine Polytrack played for speed both Saturday and Sunday and the few horses that rallied to win should be given extra marks.
The hot winners on the weekend were the following:
DRAGO’S BEST (Seeking the Best) posted an 87 Beyer Figure in a fast win at 7 furlongs on the grass for $3,000 claiming for Josie Carroll and Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms. The 4yo colt is 4 for 13 in his career.
LUCKY LOTTO came from off the pace in a very easy win on Saturday in the 9th race, an allowance optional claiming race. He was offered for $60,000 claiming and won with a 91 Beyer for his 2nd score this year from just 4 races/ He is a Martin Cherry homebred by Pure Prize who is 5 for 14 in his career.
On Sunday, the 2yo BEAR’S COWBOY won his maiden in his 2nd career race in a nice MSW event with a 70 Beyer. He is by hot young sire TWO STEP SALSA and is a Florida bred owned by Bear Stables, trained by Reade Baker.
Another 2yo race on the Sunday card was a 7 furlong race for Ontario sired youngsters and the itty bitty colt OUTRUN THE RAIN, who showed he had plenty of talent when he was at the June 2yo sale in Ocala (he was bought for just $20,000), dead heated with Janet Black and Devonleigh Farms’ BANDAMBA. It was a cool race since Outrun the Rain,a son of STRUT THE STAGE – Thunder and Rain by Capote is so small and Bandamba, by Giant Gizmo – Bacall by Alysheba, is so big.
The breeders of the colts are Auchamore Farm and Devonliegh Farm respectively and the winning trainers were Mark Casse and Ian Black.
Congrats to Brandon Greer who sent out his first winner when ELIZABETH CITY, yet another winner for SILENT NAME, won her maiden in the 4th on turf for Janet ward. She is a homebred half sister to turf winner D’s Perfect Soul.
GOLDEN SABRE, a Sam-Son colt who won the Charlie Barley Stakes only to be disqualified, got some redemption when he won an allowance race on turf with an 87 Beyer. The son of Medaglia d’Oro got up to beat the tough luck RIVER SEVEN who ran another hard, hard race but missed.
The other 2 decent Beyer Figures of the weekend went to POWER PHIL, who led all the way to win an Ont. sired allowance race at 1 1/16 miles in race 9 on Sunday for Frank DiGiulio (80 Beyer) and BANGLA DANCER, a grey Aljabr filly who also ran an 80 Beyer to win the $32,000 claiming finale at 7 furlongs on the grass.
MILWAUKEE BREW had 2 juvenile winners on Saturday – SWEET BREW won the first split of a 7 furlong MSW for Ontario sired gals for L T Stable and trained Danny O’Callaghan and CRAIGUE HILL won the other split for Eric MacDonald and trainer Roger Attfield.
IN THE ZONE
Canadian bred Private Zone takes Vosburgh
Passed by favored Justin Phillip with less than 50 yards to run, California shipper Private Zone fought back on the inside and survived a stewards’ inquiry into the finish to win the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational by a neck on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Second choice in a field of seven, Private Zone ran six furlongs on a fast main track in 1:08.02 for his second straight win and just his third in the last 15 starts.
Trained by Doug O’Neill for Good Friends Stable, Private Zone paid $9.20 for a $2 win bet and earned $240,000, pushing his career bankroll to $513,820 in 19 races.
“This horse has a tendency to do [wait on the lead], and it’s a credit to [jockey] Martin Pedroza for knowing the horse,” said O’Neill’s assistant, Jack Sisterson. “Just the way he was traveling, it looked like he could have opened up because he had a lot of horse. Justin Phillip came and headed him and then passed him, and he dug down deep and got the win.”
Pedroza, riding at Belmont Park for the first time since finishing second with Miss Iron Smoke in the 1991 Grade 1 Matron, and Private Zone had to wait for an inquiry into the stretch run before the race was declared official.
“Watching it live, I didn’t see anything and Martin didn’t mention anything coming back,” Sisterson said. “I didn’t think that anything was too dramatic to take the horse down.”
Breaking from the far outside, Private Zone sprung quickly from the gate and Pedroza was able to get the 4-year-old Macho Uno gelding to the inside and into a comfortable rhythm up front, leading through a rapid quarter-mile in 22.62 seconds and a half in 44.86.
Justin Phillip and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez rated in midpack before moving up on the leaders around the turn, and steadily gained on Private Zone in the stretch, sticking a neck in front. Pedroza was able to find another gear and Private Zone surged back to retake the lead and hit the wire in front.
“I got off to a good, clean start, and that’s what I was concerned about,” said Pedroza. “He’s very fast, and we just waited for the competition. When I let him run, he gave me everything he had.”
Velazquez, who guided Justin Phillip to win the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Race Course last month, felt the contact down the lane made a difference in the finish.
“I think it was enough to beat me by a head,” said Velazquez. “When he touched my horse the first time, he lost his balance. The second time, he knocked him completely off balance. Otherwise, I thought he ran a great race.”
The Vosburgh was just the fourth start of the year for Private Zone and second since finishing ninth in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 30. In his return, he captured the Pirates Bounty stakes at Del Mar on September 4, in similar front-running fashion.
CANADIAN BREDS MARKETING MIX, 2ND IN RODEO DRIVE, JOYFUL VICTORY 3RD IN ZENYATTA
MARKETING MIX made a couple of moves in the Rodeo Drive Stakes but was edged at the wire in a big effort…she was bred by Sean Fitzhenry in Ontario
on JOYFUL VICTORY, trainer Larry Jones said, “It was a good horse race. No excuses. We had a good clean trip. We had to run a little. It’s been a long time since we raced. We set this up on purpose knowing we’d fire back pretty quick for the Breeders’ Cup. If all goes well, she gets back to Churchill well, we’ll be back.” Jockey Rosie Napravnik added, “We were working much harder than everybody else around both turns and that probably cost us quite a bit; we were at a big disadvantage on both turns. The pace did slow a bit and she likes to run freely but she still ran a good race today.” Joyful Victory was bred by Bill Graham.
CANADIAN OWNED BROADWAY EMPIRE WINS OKLAHOMA DERBY!
BROADWAY EMPIRE, the 3yo who won the Canadian Derby, needs another start in Canada to be recognized at Sovereign Awards…
By Associated Press, Published: September 29
OKLAHOMA CITY — Without even looking at the pre-race chart for the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby, trainer Robertino Diodoro figured his horse, Broadway Empire, would set the pace.
“I’m not saying that’s what I wanted, but for some reason I had it in my head,” Diodoro said. “The horse is sharp and he’s trained awesome since he’s been here.”
GARRY CRUISE, FIRST RIDE AT BELMONT, GRADE 2 WIN
former Woodbine rider loves New York
FROM NYRA…. Undefeated Miss Behaviour shot past favored Sweet Whiskey on the turn and then held off a resurgent late charge from the even-money choice to take the 106th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Matron by a length on Sunday at Belmont Park.
It was the third straight victory and first in a graded stakes for the 2-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Jump Start, who broke her maiden on July 22 at Parx Racing and next took the Sorority Stakes on September 1 at Monmouth Park.
Under jockey Garry Cruise, a 34-year-old native of Scotland who was riding for the first time at Belmont Park, Miss Behaviour tracked Sweet Whiskey through an opening quarter-mile in 22.21 seconds and then made a bold move to grab the lead at the three-eighths pole, with the half going in 44.48. She swept into the stretch with a three-length advantage and had just enough left to fend off Sweet Whiskey, who made up ground steadily through the final furlong but could not catch the winner.
“When I dropped her in to be competitive a little bit, she just came into gear and and said, ‘Let’s go,'” said Cruise. “At that time, I could kind of sense that no one was going to jump on us, so I said, ‘Let’s finish this now.'”
Miss Behaviour, who was conceding four pounds to her rivals under high weight of 121 pounds, completed the six furlongs in 1:10.57.
“In this game, you learn to temper your expectations,” said Phil Schoenthal, who trains Miss Behaviour for her breeders, Cal MacWilliam and Neil Teitelbaum. “I didn’t expect her to go to the front like that and open up. When she moved to the lead at the three-eighths pole, I said to myself ‘Don’t run out of trainer, don’t run out of trainer.’ I’m sure we’ll try her at two turns at some point, but she’s a sprinter right now.”
Miss Behaviour’s victory was the first graded stakes win and first win in New York for the Maryland-based Schoenthal, a former assistant to Mark Shuman who is based in Maryland.
“When he broke from the gate, I liked the way Martin took him over and got him to the inside,” Sisterson said. “This horse has got natural speed. I wasn’t too worried about the fractions. I know he can keep that speed over the six furlongs.”
SHEIKH MOHAMMED LAUNCHES INTERNAL INVESTIGATION INTO HIS OWN HORSE OPERATION
FROM THE GUARDIAN
An illegal shipment of unlicensed veterinary goods was seized from a Dubai government private jet by UK authorities at Stansted airport earlier this year, causing Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UK’s leading owner of racehorses, to launch an internal investigation into his equine operations.
Thousands of pounds worth of unlicensed products – including steroidal injections, anaesthetics and anti-inflammatories that have been described as “potentially toxic and dangerous to horses” – were seized and destroyed by the UK Border Agency and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate on 3 May at 7pm following the arrival of a Dubai Royal Air Wing flight. Sheikh Mohammed is monarch of the gulf emirate, as well as the owner of Godolphin, the country’s largest Flat racing operation.
Her Highness Princess Haya, the sheikh’s junior wife and president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, has been ordered to conduct a thorough investigation into the seizure at the airport and a separate raid by the VMD last month at Moorley Farm in Newmarket, a location owned by his Darley Management operation, where a number of similar products were found.