Congratulations to my new buddy APPRENTICE HANOVER (owned by Brad Grant) who won the 2nd race at Woodbine last evening.

I won’t go so far as to say it was my caressing of his forehead  that relaxed him and gave him the energy he needed to win, but…

Congratulations to everyone connected with that cool 3yo colt – in particular trainer Ben Wallace, who has joined the Thoroughbred community with his yearling purchase in September! Photo of Apprentice Hanover from Woodbine Entertainment in May.



and Husbands wins half the card!


BEAR NO JOKE, photographed in October by Norm Files.


Thoroughblog was informed about an hour before the Grade 2 KENNEDY ROAD STAKES at Woodbine yesterday that trainer READE BAKER galloped Kennedy Road at one time. Kennedy Road, the white faced, talented Horse of the Year was also a notorious troublemaker and Baker said “he scared the crap out of me”.

About the same time as this discussion, THOROUGHBLOG informed Baker that one of his 3 entrants in the Kennedy Road, BEAR NO JOKE (a personal favourite of the ‘blog) had started 3 times from the rail post and won all 3 races. He had the rail post yesterday.

BEAR NO JOKE was ready to run the race of his life (predicted by Baker) and he bettered his close 2nd place finish in last year’s Kennedy Road by edging champion ESSENCE HIT MAN and the streaking Phil’s Dream in the 6 furlong event, posting a career bext 101 Beyer Speed Figure. The time was a near track record of 1:08.63.

Essence Hit Man, with Gary Boulanger up for the first time, set splits of :22.08 and :44.15 but as he led the field into the stretch run, Wilson guided Bear No Joke off the rail and finished determinedly to score a half-length win.  Essence Hit Man stayed on for place money over the wide-rallying favourite, Phil’s Dream.

“He’s just a gutsy horse,” said Wilson. “The last two works he’s been telegraphing that he’s primed for a key effort and he showed up today. It’s nice when they show up the way they’ve been training.”

Wilson piloted Bear No Joke to a second-place effort in last year’s edition of the Kennedy Road when defeated a neck by Bear Tough Tiger. This year, however, the five-year-old gelding would not be denied.

“I was pretty happy with the one-hole and with Essence Hit Man setting the pace, I got a pretty nice spot in behind and got a shot to get an open trip down the lane and he came running,” said Wilson.

Bear No Joke came into the Kennedy Road off a seventh-place run in the Grade 1 Nearctic won by Kennedy Road rival Phil’s Dream.

Despite the lackluster effort in the Nearctic, Baker wasn’t surprised to see Bear No Joke take the spoils at a juicy 17-1.

“In his last race, he came out of the race much better than the other horses,” said Baker. “They were a little tired, they’d run hard. He (Bear No Joke) didn’t get a trip last time and there was no place for him to go, a long way down the lane. I thought he should have been first or second in his last race.”

Baker believes a much-needed rest was beneficial.

“When he gets six or seven weeks off, he runs his eyeballs out,” said Baker. “That’s what we tried to do and it worked…for once.”

Bear No Joke banked $108,000 in victory, while improving his record to 6-5-1 from 17 career starts.



PATRICK HUSBANDS won 5 of the first 9 races yesterday at Woodbine and did not have a mount in race 10, the strangest event of the day that eventually was deemed a NO CONTEST race.

The photo below of the TV image shown by Woodbine shows that the starting gate badly malfunctioned: some horses got a head start, others, like SLEW THE MAESTRO #4 were left standing for several seconds. The winner was number 1,  POLITICAL FEVER, owned by George Robertson and trained by John Cardella,  but alas, no one received any purse money and some $200,000 in exotic bets were paid back.

The starting gate has yielded quite a few head starts this year, sometimes simply by a horse pushing it open.


$2 Daily Double     4 / ALL     $9.20
Hi 5 – ALL refund

HI-5  -5   carryover          $67,545.22
$2 Exactor     ALL     Refund
$1 Pick 3     1 / 4 / ALL (3 of 3)     $106.15
$0.20 Pick 3     1 / 4 / ALL (3 of 3)     $21.23
$1 Pick 4     4 / 1 / 4 / ALL (4 of 4)     $688.75
$0.20 Pick 4     4 / 1 / 4 / ALL (4 of 4)     $137.75
$1 Superfecta     ALL     Refund
$2 Triactor     ALL     Refund


So, the PATRICK HUSBANDS show got started in race 1 when the logical gal SPLASHY GIZMO won the 2yo filly allowance for Nick Nosowenko. This daughter of Giant Gizmo (the leading 1st crop sire who had a big day yesterday), had just finished 2nd in the Fanfreluche Stakes by a head.

Husbands won the next race on CANNY NANNY, a homebred for John Oxley who just won her maiden in her 4th career start and then took yesterday’s $40K claiming event at 7 furlongs.

Husbands was at it again as he guided speedy stakes winner CRYPTIC MESSAGE to her first win of the year on the drop to claiming: $40,000. The winner was 4 for 5 last year but had been in drab form in 3 outings this season. She is owned by CEC Farms and trained by Ralph Biamonte.

A nice prospect in the Ontario sired 2yo colt ranks is FREITAG, owned and trained by Nathan Squires. This Giant Gizmo colt out of Deadlock by Regal Classic cost just $2,300 at auction but he is 1 for 4 with two 2nds and a 3rd and earnings of over $55,000. He won the 1 1/16 mile maiden allowance from just off the pace under Emile Ramsammy. Clayborn Farms bred the gelding.

Race 5, a $16,00 claiming event, went to the late charging BLUSHING BRAT, who has been in the top three in  his last 5 straight races. He is a Ontario bred by Brahms bred by Rainbows End Stable. Vaal Bhawanasingh owned and trained and Emma-Jayne Wilson rides this cool 6yo gelding very well.

WAITINGINTHEWINGS is on a roll as she won her 2nd straight race in the 6th, a 9 furlong allowance, first level, right after taking an Ontario sired non-winners of 3. Jesse Campbell rides the Niigon 4yo filly who is owned and bred by Colebrook Farms.

Race 7 was won by CUMMINGS ROAD, who was up to beat BURNUM in the late stages of this allowance race at 6 furlongs. The winning Beyer was 84. The winner is a pretty 4yo colt by Speightstown trained by Mark Casse for breeder Eugene Melnyk. Husbands rode.

Husbands won the 9th race too aboard RUN WILD, a filly meeting the boys in a $40,000 claiming race. The winner is a Wild Rush 4yo owned by Fred Allor and trained by Brian Lynch.


FLAT OUT, HONOR CODE and so many great races in the US!

The action was fast and furious at other tracks yesterday too – it was hard to keep up and move from TV to TV to see what was coming up next.

FLAT OUT ran a 100 Beyer Figure in his win in the CIGAR MILE and he had a great trip just off the pace in 5th place and powered to a nice win at a lovely 6 to 1.

Canadian-bred PRIVATE ZONE ran 2nd, leading almost all the way in a huge effort. It was thought that Private Zone came in on Woodbine-based CLEARLY NOW on the turn as the latter stumbled badly before winding up 5th, but after an inquiry, no change was made. Tough luck for Clearly Now who has had a ton of bad luck this year in his races.

The A P Indy 2yo colt HONOR CODE came back on the rail to win the Remsen Stakes over Cairo Prince in an exciting 1 1/8 mile race that yielded an 88 Beyer. The winner is 2 for 3 in his career  but the Beyer Figure was a modest 88.

At CHURCHILL it was an all 2yo day and Woodbine-based CONQUEST TITAN won an allowance race for Conquest Stables and trainer Mark casse.

Later, the Casse traine MADLY TRULY, winner of the Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine, did not do well in the GOLDEN ROD Stakes – Grade 2, and lost her chance for a shot at a Sovereign Award for champion 2yo. (That race is between PALADIN BAY and LEXIE LOU, who will both be in action again before the Woodbine season ends on Dec 15.



RODNEY HUGHES, who was in the spotlight for several years with the high profile trotter SAN PAIL has dipped his toe into the Thoroughbred racing pool, winning with STRIKE OIL (bred by Windfields farm) on Friday (Thoroughblog also wrote about the long awaited win by the 5yo gelding in yesterday’s post called PARK).


JAPAN CUP DIRT (Pants on Fire with Gary Stevens finishes 16th)

Belshazzar lands Japan Cup Dirt under Lemaire
By Howard Wright in osaka 9:22AM 1 DEC 2013

Hanshin (Osaka): Japan Cup Dirt (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt , 3yo+

BELSHAZZAR (Kunihide Matsuda/Christophe Lemaire), whose career has been blighted by illness and injury since he finished third to Orfevre in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) two years ago, continued his re-emergence on a new surface when he got the better of seven-year-old Wonder Acute in the last Japan Cup Dirt to be run at Hanshin.




It is December and for horsepeople it is a time for packing up, shopping for gifts, relaxing. For the players involved in keeping FORT ERIE RACTRACK front and centre in all discussion about horse racing in Ontario, there is no downtime.



Race track unveils festival meet plans
Proposal looks to incorporate Chinese Year of the Horse
Fort Erie Post
ByJames Culic

FORT ERIE — When the Fort Erie Race Track was deemed unsustainable last month, the government indicated it wouldn’t support it as a full-time racing venue, but would consider using the track for a “festival meet.”

No details about what that festival might look like were given at that time, but this week the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium unveiled its plan to celebrate the Asian Year of the Horse.