Good Luck Dixie!


DOWN WITH DIXIE, a hard knocking claiming gelding, was recently re-acquired by Renee Kierans and retired from the racetrack. The gelding had raced this year for Kierans, was claimed by Alan Bird and raced at Fort Erie where he has been doing well, but instead of continuing on, these wonderful horsepeople retired him to a life of leisure and being a riding horse. All the best Dixie!

DO THE RIGHT THING when the season ends – be good to your horses.

R. Kierans photo


Saturday morning – As it is in the horse racing game, the good and the bad news can make you feel like you are on a rollercoaster. This weekend in Toronto, heavy rains and grey skies will play havoc with racing, there are many grass races scheduled including today’s RIVER MEMORIES Stakes but there is little chance any events will be held on turf. The Polytrack was treated with more fibre on Thursday and hopefully it holds up well with all this rain.

It’s an exciting time of year  for horse racing with Breeders’ Crown races tonight and Breeders’ Cup next week but FORT ERIE closes Tuesday and will no doubt have very sloppy tracks for the last 3 cards. Hopefully it will open again in 2013.

Canadian bred UNCAPTURED, one of 3 Canadian-bred 2yos bred by Bill Graham this year who are stars, is at Churchill Downs for the Iroquois Stakes..

Let’s enjoy what we have so far and hope for the best.



Remember 1996? It was awesome having the Breeders’ Cup at Woodbine and what a gorgeous day it was. The week leading up to the day was icky but it was cool to follow around the great CIGAR, hang out at the barn with the Paulsons and the little dog. It was a week we will never forget. Horse racing in the newspaper for weeks and days before. It was a great day.

Okay, so the Classic did not end the way we wanted (thanks Jerry Bailey for one o f the worst rides ever, 80 wide on a rail biased surface) but it was still a wild and emotional end to a great day.




CASSE WORKS QUINTET OF BREEDERS’ CUP HOPEFULS – Trainer Mark Casse had planned to work his two juvenile fillies pointing to the Breeders’ Cup on Friday and the boys would work Saturday. The threat of rainy conditions Friday and Saturday caused Casse to call an audible and all five of his Breeders’ Cup hopefuls breezed at the home of the Kentucky Derby on Friday morning.
In preparation for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I), Bill Farish’s Pool Play breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80 in company with Ontario Derby (GIII) winner Stealcase, who is being pointed to the Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.
Pool Play, winner of the 2011 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at odds of more than 36-1, had his 2011 campaign end early with a tendon injury. He returned to racing in July after more than a year-long layoff and in his most recent start he won the Hawthorne Gold Cup (GII) to improve his record on dirt to a perfect 2-for-2.
“I was just hoping to get him back,” Casse said. “We kind of had a plan and a strategy and it wasn’t necessarily to get him to the Classic, but to get him back on dirt. We did it just the way we wanted to and once we felt like he was at his peak fitness level we knew we were ready for the dirt.”
Jockey Miguel Mena was aboard for the work and will have the mount in the Classic.
Another Casse horse with an interesting workmate was John Oxley’s Spring in the Air, who worked with Commonwealth Turf (GIII) probable Lockout. Spring in the Air, who is being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) off her win in the Darley Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland, breezed five furlongs in 1:03 under exercise rider Jason Hoyte.
“I thought she handled the dirt quite nicely,” Casse said. “She was our first one to work. They went away a little slow and she finished just in a gallop. She looked good.”
Spring in the Air will be ridden by Patrick Husbands in the Juvenile Fillies.
Casse’s other Breeders’ Cup filly Spring Venture was clocked in 1:01.20 for her five-furlong drill under Hoyte while working in company. Spring Venture is undefeated in three starts and will enter the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI) off wins in the Natalma (GII) and Mazarine (GIII).
“Spring Venture got away from the pole a little quick,” Casse said.  “She just wants to go. That will be (jockey) Patrick (Husbands’) biggest challenge: getting her to relax. She worked the fastest, but that’s just her. She doesn’t really know what slow is, but she looked great.”
A $320,000 2-year-old in training purchase, Spring Venture is owned by Gary Barber and Stoneway Farm LLC.
Barber also owns Delegation, who is being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) off his win in the Durham Cup (GIII) at Woodbine. With Hoyte in the irons, Delegation breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 while working in company.
“Delegation worked really well,” Casse said. “He broke off and there were two horses in front of him going a half mile and he about ran over the top of them. He went around them and then came up on another horse and Jason (Hoyte) had him out in the middle of the track. He went in 1:02 and change, but probably could have gone in :59.”
Casse’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) hopeful Dynamic Sky also was guided in his work by Hoyte and breezed in 1:02.20 in company. Owned by Oxley, Dynamic Sky will enter the Juvenile off a runner-up effort to Joha in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland.
“He ran 72 feet farther than the winner,” Casse said. “I told (jockey) Luis (Contreras) to make an earlier run and he made a run in the middle of the turn. When he came out of the turn, he started laying in and it cost him his momentum. I think he was the best horse in the race. I don’t think there’s any question.”
Casse, who is seeking his first Breeders’ Cup victory, said the horses will ship to California on Sunday.


Nancy O (Pivotal – Arravale, headed out by Fed-Ex yesterday to California for Bob Costigan and trainer Carolyn Costigan. The filly was third in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes.  Thoroughblog will catch up Carolyn and the team in the coming days.

For a full list of Canadian-linked horses in the Breeders’ Cup, see the earlier posts this week from Thoroughblog.



It’s hard to find workout videos on Breeders’ Cup contenders but thankfully, here’s some folks who offered up one. (Hopefully HPI TV will have THE WORKS TV show on this year from TVG)



There had not been news about the track and the fibre that is continuing to be added since Thoroughblog reported on it several weeks ago.
Trackman Irwin Driedger had told Thoroughblog at the time that the fibre would be gradually added throughout this year and perhaps into 2013.
Thursday, another 15 tonnes had been added to the track and that may be the final application for this season because of the weather.
“We have to do it on a dark day, when there is no wind and when the weather is reasonable,” said Driedger. “I may not get any more days like that this year.”
The fibre applications are not a large amount and Driedger does not believe it has any effect on the playing of the surface during racing.
“It’s such a small amount for such a large area. It allows the horses to stay on top of the surface which is good but I don’t think it has much of an effect on the way the track plays.”

“Over time, the fibre on the track breaks down and disappears so we are adding fibre back to the track,” said Irwin Driedger, Woodbine’s Director of Thoroughbred Racing Surfaces. “It’s like a root system, the fibre holds the track together and it keeps the horses on top of the track more than getting into it.”

FRIDAY’S RACING at Woodbine, held on a grey, chilly day was held on the newly fibred track and it seemed to play fairly with wide ralliers and speed horses winning.

The coolest race of the day was the 1 3/4 mile turf race that was part of the LOU CAVALARIS MARATHON SERIES. It was the first time such as race has been run at Woodbine (distance and surface, the record on Polytrack is 2:57).
The starter allowance was the 3rd race of the series and was expected to be yet another win for SIN CODIGO, the Argentine bred owned by Earle Mack who had won the first 2 legs.
But yesterday’s grass course was more like a big and loving it was SERIOUS INDEED, an Ontario bred  4yo by It’s No Joke out of Casha Rainbow by Lite the Fuse who was winning his 3rd race in his 26th start. The long distance specialist has been 3rd to Sin Codigo in the two other legs. He was bred by Jim Sabiston and is owned by Alec Fehr and Winston Penny. Alec Fehr trains.

It was one of 4 winners for jockey Eurico Da Silva on the day.

RAINCOATS’NTUXEDOS is 4 for 13 in his career and was the fastest winner on the day. The Weather Warning colt, a 3yo who cost $2,000 at auction, sped away from a field of allowance/optional claiming sophomores in 1:09 3/5 for a Beyer Speed Figure of 87. The dark bay is owned by ARK Racing leesee and trained by Abraham Katryan.

Trainer Mike Doyle won 2 races including the last with the cool 3yo dude DESTINY’S SONG wo is 3 for 6 in his career. Rita Hearst owns the gelding who was originally a $62,500 purchase but won for $12,500 yesterday.

CALL ME PERSKE won the first race for Greg Lang and Rick Pettifer and partners. The Ontario bred from Devonleigh Farms is by young sire Street Boss from Bacall by Alysheba and she was making her 5th career start.
The filly won with a 3 path pace pressing trip.

Remarkable win by HOLD THAT ECHO in race 2 in a $70,300 allowance race. This gal is 5 for 16 this year (yes, she has been going all year long for various interests) and had just won for $10,000 claiming for Steven and Lee Ann Chircop.
She rallied 5 wide from well back off the slow pace to win the allowance race yesterday under Jesse Campbell over a modest field of 5 rivals.

ROYAL SLAM, a 2yo half sister to recent Grade 2 winner LONESOME STREET, won her 2nd straight race in a $25K claiming race in race 4. At a generous 5 to 1 (the Best Bet in the TORONTO STAR), the filly is by Grand Slam and was bred by Chrstine Hayden in Ontario. Mike Doyle and partners own the filly.


worked late in the morning training on Thursday

Newly purchased DOUBLE MCTWIST broke a hind  pastern after a workout late yesterday morning on the Polytrack and was put down on the track. The Bull Page Stakes winner, a son of Tomahawk, was pointing to the Frost King Stakes.

The gelding, who was bred by Biamonte’s wife, Mary, and raced for their son Bret, had been sold following the Bull Page to a partnership of Paul Braverman, Terrence Murray, and the Debmar Stable of Glenn Harvey and Steve Duffield.

Menlo Castle, a stakes winner from the Biamonte barn, broke down on the main track in September, also after a late morning workout.



The track will collect entries for the final day day of racing this morning and everyone there are on pins and needles hoping for soemthing to save the dya.
Some folks have been circulating noise that there are possible buyers out there but we have heard that story before.
The 115-year-old track has thousands of workers and hundreds of horses that will all be looking for somewhere to go soon.

Future of Fort Erie Race Track coming down to the wire

JAMES CULIC/Niagara This Week

Like the season finale of a hit TV show, the Fort Erie Race Track is heading for a big cliffhanger ending.

There are only three live racing dates left on the schedule, and the question is now whether or not they will also be the last three races ever to be held at the 115-year-old track.

Track officials have been negotiating the sale of the historic border oval since August, but according to general manager Jim Thibert, any such sale is now unlikely to happen before the end of the season on Tuesday.

That doesn’t rule out the possibility of a sale however, as the track won’t officially cease operation until Dec. 31, and Thibert was still optimistic that an investor could be found.