UNION RAGS – okay, so why John Velazquez went up the rail, who knows, why Mike Smith let him up the rail, who knows. But it was a great race under trying circumstances
CINDY PIERSON DULAY PHOTO
I’m in New York State of Mind….
A whirlwind trip to the Big (and I mean big!) Apple was almost everything to be imagined.
The sights, Ground Zero (although you have to make a 24 hour reservation to actually go inside to see the memorial now), Times Square, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rockefeller Plaza and NBC Studios, Saks of Fifth Avenue (!!), Grand Central Station, Penn Statiomn, New Yok Public Library, Fifth Avenue, you name it. Wild stuff for a Bramptonian.
The BELMONT STAKES turned out to be magical in its own way. 85,000 at a huge racetrack is something to behold. Yes, I had seen that before, but it is always cool to be amongst the fans in the grandstand when any field of horses moves up to the gate and the crowd roars. When the Belmont horses were sprung (sans I’ll Have Another), the goosebumps explode as the noise is deafening.
I’ll Have Another did make an appearance, he was brought into the winner’s circle, a bit to our right from where we were sitting. The ceremony was low key, the horse got a polite amount of clapping as he was surrounded by people. Mario Gutierrez was hoisted up on the colt with a cowboy hat on. And then, they were gone.
The crowd was raucous at all points of the day and it was fun to see the reams of young people, many who stood in long lines to bet, only to ask a neighbour in line, “how do you bet?”. Funny stuff.
Not funny were the large tables piled high with I’LL HAVE ANOTHER poster boards, beautiful colour photos with checkmarks beside the Derby and Preakness and awaiting another checkmark – the occasional person picked up one, but essentially, they went to waste.
UNION RAGS, a personal fave, did not get to show his stuff in the Derby and it was likely a mistake to not make a rider change after the Florida Derby. But the Belmont eventually came down to the 2 horse race this corner believed and while Mike Smith was hard on himself for coming off the rial with PAYNTER (by Canadian-bred Awesome Again), UNION RAGS was not to be denied it seems.
Trainer Michael Matz, a a popular horseman, knew the Dixie Union tag was perhaps dicey at 1 1/2 miles but, hey every horse is different:
“I talked it over with Peter Brette, my assistant, and the second dam was Terpsichorist and she was by Nijinsky, and there’s some distance right there. I know Dixie Unions haven’t gone more than a mile and an eighth, but the way he trained and big as he is and his stride, we’re in the same boat as everybody else in there. They didn’t know if they could go mile and a half, either.”
“We always thought this horse had Triple Crown potential. When we trained him, we gave him four races as a 2-year-old and gave him a rest and had a good plan. He never missed a beat. His first race couldn’t have been any easier. He had trouble in his second race and his third race. I do really think that this horse, when he has a clean trip and can show himself, is one of the best 3-year-olds in this crop. Whether he could have done something against I’ll Have Another, I don’t know, but it sure would have been fun to see.”
A crowd of 85,811 wagered $13,777,920 on Belmont Stakes Day races today, the second largest Belmont Stakes Day on-track handle ever, trailing only the $14,461,402 wagered in 2004 when Birdstone broke the Triple Crown bid of Smarty Jones.
The on-track handle was also the third largest ever at Belmont Park, behind only the $14,742,521 wagered on Breeders’ Cup Day 2005 and the 2004 Belmont Stakes Day handle. It easily eclipsed the previous non-Triple Crown Day record of $10,581,093 set in 2001 by 30.2 percent and was up 36.4 percent over $10,098,573 in 2011.
The attendance of 85,811, the sixth largest ever at Belmont Park, smashed the previous non-Triple Crown Day record of 73,857 set in 2001 by 16.2 percent and was up 53.8 percent from 55,779 on Belmont Stakes Day last year.
All-sources handle, which includes all wagering on NYRA Belmont Stakes Day races nationwide, was $96,485,985, the third highest ever for Belmont Stakes Day. It broke the previous non-Triple Crown Day record of $89,705,885 set in 2009 by 7.6 percent and was up 18.8 percent over last year’s total of $81,245,326.
So, for us, now the focus turns to the CANADIAN TRIPLE CROWN, the first jewel, the famed QUEEN’S PLATE is less than 2 weeks away and here is a list of probables:
DIXIE STRIKE TO RUN IN PLATE
15 – with some bubblers… DIXIE STRIKE is confirmed for the Queen’s Plate according to trainer Mark Casse, who will also race MAKING AMENDS and GOLDEN RIDGE in the Canadian classic.
DIXIE STRIKE is by Dixie Union, the sire of UNION RAGS…
dk b/.c.3 by Indian Charlie(In Excess (IRE)) – Major Idea(Cherokee Run)
Green Hills Farm Inc. Todd A. Pletcher
ch.g.3 by Pulpit(A.P. Indy) – Mahalo(Gulch)
Earle I. Mack LLC Josie Carroll
dk b/.c.3 by Grand Slam(Gone West) – Classic Stamp(Regal Classic)
William Sorokolit Darwin D. Banach
b.c.3 by Northern Afleet(Afleet) – Colleen’s Scorpion(Scorpion)
Terra Di Sienna Stables Roger L. Attfield
B.F. Dixie Union – Noble Strike
John Oxley Mark Casse
ch.c.3 by Distorted Humor(Forty Niner) – Indian Vale(A.P. Indy)
Melnyk Racing Stable Inc. Mark E. Casse
ch.c.3 by Discreet Cat(Forestry) – Lady Auchamore(Meadowlake)
Kinghaven Farms, Hat Trick Stable, J. Fielding, B. Hutzel & H.B. Horner Ian Black
ch.f.3 by Giant’s Causeway(Storm Cat) – Misty Mission(Miswaki)
Robert S. Evans Mark R. Frostad
g. Macho Uno – Whiskey and Low
Harlequin Ranches Reade Baker
b.c.3 by Repent(Louis Quatorze) – Primary Motive(Prime Timber)
Quintessential Racing Florida LLC, Horse’nAround Racing Stable & R. Lederman Mark E. Casse
dk b/.g.3 by Forest Danger(Forestry) – Romantic Tryst(Woodman)
Conor M. Healy Ralph J. Biamonte
dk b/.g.3 by Tale of the Cat(Storm Cat) – Emanating(Cox’s Ridge)
Windhaven Michael J. Doyle
b.c.3 by Orientate(Mt. Livermore) – Sweet Tart(Lemon Drop Kid)
Stronach Stables Reade Baker
STRAIT OF DOVER
dk b/.c.3 by English Channel(Smart Strike) – Bahrain Star(Danzig)
Canyon Farms Daniel J. Vella
ch.g.3 by Dance to Destiny(Mr. Prospector) – One On Tap(Pleasant Tap)
Brenda K. Selwyn-Waxman Michael Keogh
On the bubble - PRINCE RAPHAEL, FASTESTWHOGETSPAID, WILCOX
THE QUEEN’S PLATE NEWS this week so far is the mind boggling work by STRAIT OF DOVER yesterday in 1:12 1/5. It has been called a “brilliant” workout and this son of English Channel is certainly back to himself after he missed the Plate Trial due to a low white blood cell count.
He figures to be the Plate fave over RIVER RUSH, the Trial winner.
Two others worked yesterday: MACHO WHISKEY could be 1 of 2 for trainer Reade Baker in the June 24 Plate. He is a lightly raced gedling for Dick Bonnycastle and he is coming off his first 2 turn try when he was 5th beaten just 1 1/2 length to Colleen’s Sailor.
Brenda Selwyn Waxman’s ULTIMATE DESTINY, trained by Mike Keogh, also had a workout, a 1 mile move.
Strait of Dover (BC) Colt 3 1:12.20 h 1/2
Macho Whiskey (ON) Gelding 3 59.80 b 1/63
Ultimate Destiny (ON) Gelding 3 1:41.20 h 1/1
*MORE BELMONT STUFF….NBC SCRAMBLES….
*PAULICK REPORT – what it was like Friday before the Belmont..
WOODBINE – FROM WEDNESDAY TO SUNDAY…HIGHLIGHTS
SUNDAY – PROSPECTIVE got back on the winning track, exiting the KENTUCKY DERBY (key race!) to beat just 3 rivals in a drab running of the Victoria Park Stakes. The Malibu Moon colt posted an 85 Beyer Figure, and he was he was one of several winners for the John Oxley – Mark Casse team last week: Spirited Miss, Sky High Lady.
BEAR’S FURR was an impressive debut winner riding what appeared to be a speed bias on the Polytrack. He is a very Wando-ish looking chestnut who was one of a trio of winners for trainer Reade Baker last week. The Bear Stables also had a pretty good week as did one its main riders, EMMA-JAYNE WILSON.
Also Sunday, trainer FRANZ CREAM took his first win of the meeting when LIONS SUMMIT came from off the pace to win a maiden race under apprentice Tommy Wong for the Earle family.
Trainer MARTY DREXLER won 3 races last week including the 10th on Sunday with speedy and classy TYCOON DOBY.
Paul and Chris Fung got a win with ESTELLA, yet another Old Forester turf debut winners. She came from miles back on the grass under Patrick Husbands to win her maiden.
SATURDAY - Some rough riding on this day and the track seemed to be strongly favouring outside runners and those close to the pace.
JENNA’S WABBIT came off the winter vacation and won the Bold Ruckus Stakes (he’s an Old Forester) but he sure was all over the track. He bumped Bear and Rod out of the way off the turn and did more bumping as he dipped and dived through the stretch. He was not disqualified and he posted the day’s best Beyer of 82.
Eurico Rosa da Silva won for trainer Ralph Biamonte and ownrs Danny Lococo and Mary Biamonte.
Another rough race was the win by POETIC KID, who got trainer Kevin Attard his first win of the season. The Dell Ridge homebred by Shakespear was also not straight as she lugied in badly through the stretch and she caused some interference to Soild Appeal.
Owner/trainer Paul Buttigieg won 2 races on the card.
Friday – The Seeking the Dia 2yo beginner BEAR’S PEARL won her debut for 2yo fillies for $32K for trainer Mike DePaulo and the Bear Stable. The big Beyer Figure of the day was MY PERFECT TEN, who came off the winter vacation and won an allowance race for trainer Liz Charalambous.
EXECUTIVE MANCER won her maiden in her 35th attempt (!!) and it was the first win for owner/trainer Mort Hardy this year.
Thursday – Gord Colbourne picke dup his first win when SOCCOR TEASE (as in Socrates) won his madein for $25,000. The Van Nistlroy fellow was ridden by Quincey Welch.
Wednesday - Fieldstone Farms of Ron Delmas Sr. is having a huge spring and it won 2 races on the night with Emma-Jayne Wilson riding (she won 3).
FORT ERIE TIMES FEATURE -
FORT ERIE – In 1990, Gary Chudobiak bought his first horse and draped it in the colours of his late father, John, who was a longtime trainer at the Fort Erie Race Track.
Six years ago, Claudia Rabstein watched as Smiling Jordan, trained by her husband Henry Whalen, won the popular Puss n Boots Fort Erie Cup race.
John Simms’ horses Roman Romance and Wiry Willie had successful careers — even winning a few races at Woodbine — after developing at the Fort Erie track.
Those memories, which came at a time when the sport was vibrant and profitable, will serve as the track’s eulogy when it’s put to rest after 115 years on Dec. 31, 2012.
“I think you had to be expecting it,” trainer/owner Rabstein said Thursday morning at the mostly deserted stalls. “You don’t know what you’re going to do.”
CANADIAN-BREDS ELSEWHERE, news borrowed from our friend at Thoroughbred Daily News…
PARX RACING – June 10, MSW 6 furlongs
DOVE SEASON (f, 4, City Zip–Dove Cry, by Dove Hunt), a 3-1 shot, rated in mid-pack while off the rail
behind an opening quarter in :21.99. She spurted into contention midway on the turn and reeled in
pacesetting My Pink Easterbaby (Straight Man) in the dying strides to best that rival by a head. The winner is
a half-sister to Sleeping Indian (Lemon Drop Kid, SW, $117,040). Click for the brisnet.com chart or Video,
sponsored by Taylor Made Sales. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $27,000.
O/B-W S Farish (ON). T-John C Servis.
REDONDO BEACH S., $72,800, BHP, 6-10, (R), 3yo/up, f/m, 1mT, 1:35 2/5, fm.
1–ALL STAR HEART, 121, m, 5, Arch–Gift of the Heart, by Ascot Knight. O/B-Gerald L Gibbs (ON);
T-Ronald L McAnally; J-Brice Blanc; $43,680. Lifetime Record: GSW, 16-6-1-1, $305,385.
2–Hard to Resist, 119, f, 4, Johannesburg–Anja, by
Gulch. ($20,000 wlng ’08 KEENOV; $35,000 yrl ’09
KEESEP). O-Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable, Ciaglia
Racing LLC, Marc Ferrell and Dyrbek. $14,560.
3–Briecat, 115, m, 7, Adcat–Silk Briefcase, by Marlin.
O-Holly & David Wilson. $8,736.
Margins: HF, 1HF, HF. Odds: 3.30, 8.90, 3.80.
All Star Heart had been sidelined since winning the
GII Las Palmas S. over the Santa Anita turf course last