TODAY’S NEWS (Thursday) – John Whitson joins FORT ERIE, …Woodbine set to go tomorrow and big Derby preps Saturday!

COMING SOON TO THOROUGHBLOG – ‘JAKE’S TAKE’, an analysis of a race (or 2) each weekend at Woodbine! 



and Happy Easter!

Woodbine revs up tomorrow with a nice card of 10 races and the inaugural $100,000 Debut Stakes and the weather is expected to be glorious for GOOD FRIDAY.

A large contingent of American trainers have peppered the entries for the first two cards of the 167-day meet. Saturday, it is fortunate there are such trainers since the 10 race card drew just 66 entries.

There are a litany of changes on and off track for 2010 – mostly the main focus is the construction of a new slots area that will house 1,000 more machines, set to open by early next year.

The area of hallway near the elevators by the apron is now closed as that will have the slots.

Bill Tallon of Daily Racing Form, who was with Thoroughblog when we interviewed new CEO Nick Eaves (David Willmot steps down in June but stays on as chairman) says:

“When all is said and spun, Woodbine will be host to some 3,000 slot machines. And, with Eaves pegging the current win per machine at $850 per day with 10 percent going to WEG and the same amount to the horsemen for purses, the implications are enormous.”

Indeed, purses are huge at Woodbine (okay so Monmouth’s boutique meeting is going to overpower Woodbine this year but over less days) and thus the Larry Rivelli’s James Hatchett’s, Wesley Ward’s and others from the U.S. have filled the entry box already and the horses are good ones too.

Despite a lack of quantity, the FRIAR ROCK STAKES prep on Saturday has 4 stakes winners in the field 5 horse field including graded stakes winner WESTERN SMOKE, and Florida whiz-kid WILDCAT FRANKIE.

Tomorrow’s feature is for Ontario-sired older sprinters but it’s a doozy with DRUNKEN LOVE, STUCK IN TRAFFIC, STRAY CAT STRIDE and a bunch of other good ones in the mix travelling 5 furlongs.

apr1drunk.jpg DRUNKEN LOVE,  tough in tomorrow’s Debut Stakes at Woodbine. Terence Dulay photo.


The Woodbine shows on SUN TV are no longer and Woodbine, in a dramatic change of mind, has now changed it’s Score shows to a learners show after years of catering to the hard core fans…

from Woodbine:

Bet Night Live to hit airwaves

Bet Night Live, focusing directly on the wagering component of racing, will launch on Monday, May 17 for Standardbred racing and Wednesday, May 19 for Thoroughbred racing.

The two-hour programs, to air on WEG’s longtime TV partner, The Score, are designed to introduce new people to the sport and immediately experience the excitement and anticipation of horse racing and the

thrill of winning. 

Fast, informative and fun, each show will feature a four-race wagering contest.  At-home contestants who sign up for a new account with HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI), WEG’s online wagering platform, could

find it pre-loaded with the $24 needed to play.  There are prizes for first, second and third, as well as a couple of randomly selected players in each contest.  Each day’s winner also gets a chance to play

for the grand prize of a trip to Las Vegas and a seat in the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship.

The programs will be packed with features like HPI Wagering 101, which will help those new to the sport learn the art of betting and The HPI Edge, handicapping tips from the pros.  The addition of industry

profiles and items designed purely for entertainment value ensure a fast-paced, information-rich package.

“Bet Night Live is a totally new type of show,” said WEG’s Senior Show Producer Rob Platts.  “We think of it as watch, wager and win.

It’s the only thing on television that lets you wager and win

live-to-air, and have a really good time doing it.”

Bet Night Live will air across Canada on The Score, Mondays and

Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Eastern time.



John Whitson, a horseman and former manager of Woodbine Sales and until a few years ago, regarded as the Vice president of racing Woodbine has had, will start working at Fort Erie when that season kicks off on May 1.

Whitson retired from Woodbine a few years ago but has kept his hand in the track as host and coordinator for horses shipping in from Europe for the big grass races.

Missed by most at Woodbine, Fort Erie will now get to continue to blossom as Whitson is expected to handle duties with regards to racing/race office.



Top 2 Kentucky Derby hopefuls set for final preps


AP Sports Writer

The top two Kentucky Derby contenders likely will be running their final prep races Saturday – No. 1-rated Lookin At Lucky is all but set for the Santa Anita Derby and No. 2 Eskendereya is the probable favorite for the Wood Memorial.

Lookin At Lucky and Eskendreya are ranked 1-2 in the AP’s Run to the Roses Top 10 list of Derby contenders for the sixth week in a row.

Lookin At Lucky won the Rebel Stakes in his 2010 debut, and has six wins in seven career starts. The 3-year-old colt should be favored over No. 5-ranked Sidney’s Candy in the Santa Anita Derby.

Eskendereya is one of eight potential Kentucky Derby starters for trainer Todd Pletcher. The colt, winner of the Fountain of Youth, should be the favorite over Gotham winner Awesome Act in the Wood

Saturday, Aqueduct

WOOD MEMORIAL S.-GI, $750,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m


1 Most Happy Fella Ecton Park Napravnik Badgett Jr

2 Awesome Act K Awesome Again Leparoux Noseda

3 Eskendereya K Giant’s Causeway Velazquez Pletcher

4 Schoolyard Dreams Stephen Got Even Dominguez Ryan

5 Jackson Bend Hear No Evil Borel Zito

6 Carnivore K Giant’s Causeway Shepherd Delozier III

All carry 123 pounds.

Saturday, Santa Anita

SANTA ANITA DERBY-GI, $750,000, 3yo, 9f (AWT)


1 Posse Power Posse Mawing Lucarelli

2 Thomas Baines Johannesburg Rosario O’Neill

3 Who’s Up K Graeme Hall Espinoza Puhich

4 Sidney’s Candy Candy Ride (Arg) Talamo Sadler

5 Setsuko Pleasantly Perfect Bejarano Mandella

6 Caracortado Cat Dreams Atkinson Machowsky

7 Lookin at Lucky K Smart Strike Gomez Baffert

8 Cardiff Giant K Yankee Gentleman Reyes Puhich

9 Skipshot K Skip Away Alvarado Hollendorfer

10 Alphie’s Bet Tribal Rule Solis Barba


Following her dead-heat with BIOFUEL for champion Canadian 2yo filly, NEGLIGEE is ready to race again – Saturday in Kentucky.

Meanwhile, Biofuel has recently returned to Woodbine and could start in the STAR SHOOT STAKES soon.

Saturday, Keeneland

CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND S.-GI, $400,000, 3yo, f,

1 1/16m (AWT)


1 Upperline Maria’s Mon Bridgmohan Stidham

2 It’s Tea Time Dynaformer Garcia Arnold II

3 Negligee K Northern Afleet Maragh Terranova

4 Beautician K Dehere Albarado McPeek

5 She Be Wild Offlee Wild Lezcano Catalano

6 Apple Charlotte Smart Strike Nakatani Motion

7 Protesting A.P. Indy Castellano McGaughey

8 Evening Jewel K Northern Afleet Desormeaux Cassidy