The first Saturday in May. For those of us who live and breathe horse racing, it is the most special day.

We remember life events by using the Derby as a monument. I remember watching the Derby on an old transistor mini-TV when I snuck away from a family member’s wedding (who gets married on Derby day??).  Or falling in the floor after the wire when MENIFEE failed to get up and win – I had a handful of tickets on the colt.

Or the one time I went to the Derby and saw (kind of) SMARTY JONES win in the mud. Memories of life, made stronger by our Derby memories.

Enjoy the memories that the 139th Derby brings,


KENTUCKY OAKS – RAPID PACE -= LONGSHOT WINNER OF SYLMAR rallies to win the Oaks over BEHOLDER (inside) and UNLIMITED BUDGET. The winner , a daughter of Majestic Warrior foaled in Pennsylvania, had been 2nd in the Gazelle in a previous race when expected to win, but she made no mistakes yesterday. Cindy Pierson Day/ photo

TODD PLETCHER, winning trainer: We’re pleasantly surprised with her effort and her win. We didn’t much like her first breeze here (:48.60 April 20), but her second one (:49.20 April 27) was much better done. She’s a good filly; we knew that all along. And we took her out of her natural running style last time. This time she made that good run and got it done.”
WOODBINE UPDATES to come but LUIS CONTRERAS won 6 of the 10 races yesterday including 3 for trainer MIKE DOYLE, whose barn is doing well.


**This post dedicated to our friends  LOU CAVALARIS and MINNIE…


2010 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame InductionsBig Lou (far left) being inducted into the Hall of Fame – photo

CANADIAN HORSE RACING has lost another friend – LOU CAVALARIS – trainer, racing secretary, so much more. He was 89.

Kind of fitting since the Kentucky Derby is tomorrow and Cavalaris won it in 1968 with Dancer’s Image, but bad luck ensued when the colt was disqualified later for Bute. Hey, the colt won it and Lou can be proud.



Lou Cavalaris Jr., known affectionately as “Large Lou”, was for three decades one of the leading trainers in North America. He topped the list for the most wins in 1966 with 175 victories. He was also third leading trainer in races won in North America in 1967 and 1968. In that three-year span he saddled 490 winners. In Canada , the horses he trained for Gardiner Farms, Allen Case, Windfields Farm, John Smallman, Peter Fuller and Larkin Maloney’s daughters, Mrs. W.J. Seitz and Mrs. V.P. Reid, helped him earn eight money-winning titles. He also had the most wins six times.

If talented horses define a trainer’s career, then the names of Dancer’s Image, Cool Reception, Victorian Era, War Eagle, Carney’s Point, Mary of Scotland, Two Violins, Arctic Blizzard and Ice Water, were the ones who created the highs and lows of the career of this amiable, industrious and passionate individual.

 No horse had ever been disqualified in the 94-year-history of the Kentucky Derby. But in 1968, two days after Peter Fuller’s Dancer’s Image had won the Derby, the Kentucky Racing Commission nullified the win, allegedly because traces of the pain-killer “bute” were found in a urine sample. Both Fuller and Cavalaris felt it was a “political decision” that cost them the victory. A year earlier Cavalaris had Canada’s champion 2-year-old of 1966, Cool Reception, running against the best three-year-olds in America -Derby winner Proud Clarion and Preakness winner Damascus – in the 1967 Belmont Stakes in New York. In the final furlong Cool Reception suffered a broken cannon bone and gamely held on to finish second. After what appeared to be a successful surgery to mend the fracture, Cool Reception thrashed about and shattered the bone again. “I broke down and wept like a baby,” admitted Cavalaris when he learned that Cool Reception had to be put down. Arctic Blizzard was pounds the best in 1968 and favored for the Plate but again Lou’s hopes went “poof” when the colts mashed a sesamoid and was forced into early retirement.

Next to Cool Reception and Dancer’s Image, one of the best horses he ever trained was Victorian Era, who earned Horse of the Year honors in 1966. Lou, who never did win the Plate during his lengthy and illustrious career, had the horse he felt could win it in 1965. However, owner Allen Case failed to make an eligibility payment for Victorian Era and the colt was ineligible. The Plate “kiss of death” struck again in 1970 when Gardiner Farm’s undefeated Two Violins came up lame two days before the race.

Fate and racing luck, however, intertwined Cavalaris’ career ever since the former short-order cook and World War II U.S. Merchant Marine from Hamilton, Ohio, emigrated to Canada. His racetrack training began in 1946 in Detroit, where he “walked hots” and mucked out stalls, later taking out his trainer’s license to look after his father’s horses. By 1947 he was in Toronto and saddled his first winner at Dufferin in 1949 with a $2,000 claimer named Perfect Melody. In 1953 Cavalaris tried the restaurant business and “fooled around with horses in the winter.”Then, in 1957, owner Peter Del Greco offered him a job training his horses. He had a lot of luck with Del Greco, especially with a horse they claimed in Florida for $11,000. The horse, the gritty handicapper War Eagle, was a consistent stakes winner, earning over $100,000.


Lou C. (Lou) Cavalaris Jr.But his greatest years came in partnership with George Gardiner. “Big Lou” orchestrated Gardiner Farm horses

to eight leading money winning titles in 11 years. In 1976, Gardiner horses, under Cavalaris’ training, won an unprecedented $639,816.

The total was $100,000 more than the previous record in Canada, also set by Cavalaris and Gardiner Farm. The brilliant filly champion

Ice Water and champion grass horse Carney’s Point were among Lou’s other top stakes winners that included James Bay, Yukon Eric,

Chatty Cavalier, Monte Christo II, Plegada, Henry Tudor, Orbiter, Prompt Hero, Vindent de Paul, The Knack II, Haymaker’s Jig and Frenetico,

winner of the Canadian International Championship in 1968.

In 1978, Lou traded in his work boots for an office desk. He became the highly respected racing secretary for the then

Ontario Jockey Club. After 10 years in that demanding role, Lou couldn’t resist the urge to train horses again.


He returned to the shedrow. One of his clients was George Gardiner. The respect he earned from the racing community

was evident when Cavalaris was asked to serve on the Selection Committee of the Breeders’ Cup and also was an

integral part of the Ontario Racing Commission’s Appeals Board. He retired as an active trainer in 1995 and was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

LOU continued to attend the races on the 3rd floor in the quiet section of the clubhouse for years, handicapping aces, talking with fans and the regulars.

He loved the game and truly enjoyed talking horses.


Dancer's Image in the Winner's Circle, 1968 Kentucky Derby.


*BLACK ONYX’S scratch from the Derby this morning (chip in ankle) leaves a field of 19 with slot 1 being left open…50% chance of rain…watch your horses as they get saddled, it’s a big crowd and we know some have already been unsettled (Lines of Battle)


CANADIAN NOTES: There is plenty of interest in the Derby/Oaks for Canadian fans and owners and, in particular, breeders. How about FALLING SKY? The Sam F. Davis winner is a speed type with a longshot chance. His dam SEA DRAGONESS was purchased by Bonnie Rowntree of the Ontario based WILLOW RIDGE FARM at one time.

GOLDENCENTS comes from a female family of the Bold Ruckus stakes winner BODY WORKS, owned by Phil Kives in Manitoba.

and of course there is:


CHARLES FIPKE and his THOROUGHBREDS – “It’s an addiction”

Canadian owner  has 2 horses in the Kentucky Derby, both stretch runners. I had a nice chat with him before he left for Churchill Downs:




Picked EXECUTIVE FIVE last week ($102), JACK PINE ($17)…what more do you need?




ARCADIA, Calif — The New York Times News Service

Every day at 5:15 a.m., Kevin Krigger’s alarm clock goes off. Sometimes he hits the snooze button; sometimes he turns off the alarm, and his fiancee has to coax him out of bed. But once he does rise, he never regrets it.

Awaiting him on the backside of Santa Anita Park, as the sun rises high above the San Gabriel Mountains, is a horse lover’s wonderland. There are trainers to beg for mounts, exercise riders and grooms to greet, and lately, there have been television crews to pose for. But most of all, it is the horses that keep Krigger coming back.



The KENTUCKY OAKS…yes, the fillies look like could be better than the colts this year. Can DREAMING OF JULIA duplicate the 114 Beyer from the Gulfstream Oaks? Or will it be UNLIMITED BIDGET, who looks like a freak too and is unbeaten?

LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS-GI, $1,000,000, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m

1 Silsita Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners Tanourin Stable-FL Pletcher 20-1
(f, 3, Macho Uno–Naturally Wild, by Wild Again) Stevens

2 Midnight Lucky Pegram, Watson & Weitman Kiddler & Griggs-KY Baffert 9-2
(f, 3, Midnight Lute–Citiview, by Citidancer) Bejarano

3 Beholder K Spendthrift Farm LLC Clarkland Farm-KY Mandella 7-2
(f, 3, Henny Hughes–Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek) Gomez
4 Unlimited Budget Repole Stable Ocala Stud-FL Pletcher 7-2

(f, 3, Street Sense–Unlimited Pleasure, by Valid Appeal) Castellano
5 Seaneen Girl Naveed Chowhan John Trumbulovic-KY Flint 30-1
(f, 3, Spring at Last–Afternoon Krystal, by Afternoon Deelites) Napravnik

6 Princess of Sylmar King of Prussia Stable Ed Stanco-PA Pletcher 20-1
(f, 3, Majestic Warrior–Storm Dixie, by Catienus) Smith

7 Pure Fun K Magdalena Racing Royal Oak Farm LLC-KY McPeek 30-1
(f, 3, Pure Prize–Chelsea Green by Key to the Mint) Leparoux

8 Dreaming of Julia Stonestreet Stables LLC Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings-KY Pletcher 3-1
(f, 3, A. P. Indy–Dream Rush, by Wild Rush) Velazquez

9 Rose to Gold Amaya & Centofant Joe, Joe Jr & John Mulholland-KY Santoro 15-1
(f, 3, Friends Lake–Saucy, by Tabasco Cat) Borel

10 Flashy Gray K West Point T’breds & Tom Keithley Brereton Jones-KY Mott 15-1
(f, 3, Flashy Bull–Pleasure Cat, by Cat’s Career) Alvarado

11 Close Hatches Juddmonte Farms Millsec LTD-KY Mott 6-1
(f, 3, First Defence–Rising Tornado, by Storm Cat) Rosario

Saturday, Churchill Downs, post time: 6:24 p.m. EDT
KENTUCKY DERBY-GI, $2,000,000, 3yo, 1 1/4m

1 Black Onyx Sterling Racing Cloverleaf Farms II Inc-KY Breen 50-1
(c, 3, Rock Hard Ten–Kalahari Cat, by Cape Town) Bravo

2 Oxbow K Calumet Farm Colts Neck Stables LLC-KY Lukas 30-1
(c, 3, Awesome Again–Tizamazing, by Cee’s Tizzy) Stevens

3 Revolutionary K WinStar Farm LLC W S Farish-KY Pletcher 10-1
(c, 3, War Pass–Runup the Colors, by A.P. Indy) Borel

4 Golden Soul Charles Fipke Charles Fipke-KY Stewart 50-1
(c, 3, Perfect Soul {Ire}–Hollywood Gold, by Mr. Prospector) Albarado

5 Normandy Invasion K Fox Hill Farms Inc Betz/Kidder/Gainesway/Graves/DJ Stable/Cole-KY Brown 12-1
(c, 3, Tapit–Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor) Castellano

6 Mylute Goldmark Farm LLC & Whisper Hills Farm Mike Rutherford-KY Amoss 15-1
(c, 3, Midnight Lute–Stage Stop, by Valid Expectations) Napravnik

7 Giant Finish Sunrise Stables/Tolchin/Flanagan/Smith Andrew Cohen-NY Dutrow 50-1
(c, 3, Frost Giant–Apocalyptic, by Hickman Creek) Espinoza

8 Goldencents WC Racing/Kenney/RAP Racing Rosecrest Farm & Karyn Pirrello-KY O’Neill 5-1
(c, 3, Into Mischief–Golden Works, by Banker’s Gold) Krigger

9 Overanalyze K Repole Stable Diamond A Racing Corp-KY Pletcher 15-1
(c, 3, Dixie Union–Unacloud, by Unaccounted For) Bejarano

10 Palace Malice K Dogwood Stable W S Farish-KY Pletcher 20-1
(c, 3, Curlin–Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem) Smith

11 Lines of Battle Allen/Magnier/Tabor/Smith Joseph Allen-KY O’Brien 30-1
(c, 3, War Front–Black Speck, by Arch) Moore

12 Itsmyluckyday K Trilogy Stables & Laurie Plesa Liberation Farm & Brandywine Farm-KY Plesa 15-1
(c, 3, Lawyer Ron–Viva La Slew, by Doneraile Court) Trujillo

13 Falling Sky K Newton Anner Stud/Covello/Bulger Copper Penny Stables LLC-PA Terranova 50-1
(c, 3, Lion Heart–Sea Dragoness, by Sea Hero) Saez

14 Verrazano K Lets Go Stable/Tabor/Magnier/Smith Emory Hamilton-KY Pletcher 4-1
(c, 3, More Than Ready–Enchanted Rock, by Giant’s Causeway) Velazquez

15 Charming Kitten Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey-KY Pletcher 20-1
(c, 3, Kitten’s Joy–Iteration, by Wild Again) Prado

16 Orb Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable Stuart Janney III LLC & Phipps Stable-KY McGaughey 7-2
(c, 3, Malibu Moon–Lady Liberty, by Unbridled) Rosario

17 Will Take Charge K Willis Horton Eaton-KY Lukas 20-1
(c, 3, Unbridled’s Song–Take Charge Lady, by Dehere) Court

18 Frac Daddy K Magic City Thoroughbred Partners Nancy Leonard Living Trust-KY McPeek 50-1
(c, 3, Scat Daddy–Skipper’s Mate, by Skip Away) Lebron

19 Java’s War Charles Fipke Charles Fipke-KY McPeek 15-1
(c, 3, War Pass–Java {GB}, by Rainbow Quest) Leparoux

20 Vyjack Pick Six Racing Machmer Hall-KY Rodriguez 15-1
(g, 3, Into Mischief–Life Happened, by Stravinsky) Gomez
Also Eligible:
21 Fear the Kitten Frank Irvin Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey-IL Maker 50-1
(c, 3, Kitten’s Joy–Dynarhythm, by Dynaform

QIPCO 2000 GUINEAS S. (205th RUNNING)-G1, £400,000, 3yo, c/f,
1 7 Correspondent (GB) Exceed and Excel (Aus)
O/B-Mrs Poilin Good; T-Brian Meehan; J-Paul Hanagan. Lifetime
Record: 4-2-0-0, £8,715.
Last Start–4th Apr. 20 G3 Greenham S.

2 11 Cristoforo Colombo Henrythenavigator
O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-La Traviata
Syndicate; T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Joseph O’Brien. Lifetime Record: 5-1-1-1,
Last Start–4th Oct. 13 G1 Middle Park S.

3 6 Dawn Approach (Ire) New Approach (Ire)
O-Godolphin; B/T-Jim Bolger; J-Kevin Manning. Lifetime Record:
6-6-0-0, £366,188.
Last Start–1st Oct. 13 G1 Dewhurst S.

4 2 Dont Bother Me (Ire) Dark Angel (Ire)
O-Edric Browne; B-Wardstown Stud Ltd; T-Niall Moran; J-Martin Harley.
Lifetime Record: 7-1-3-1, £25,816.
Last Start–2nd Apr. 14 Listed Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial S.

5 8 Garswood (GB) Dutch Art (GB)
(19,000gns wnlg ‘10 TATDEC; £18,000 RNA yrl ‘11 DONAUG;
60,000gns RNA 2yo ‘12 TATAPR)
O-D W Armstrong & Cheveley Park Stud; B-Cheveley Park Stud;
T-Richard Fahey; J-Tony Hamilton. Lifetime Record: 5-2-1-1, £45,063.
Last Start–1st Apr. 17 Listed European Free H.

6 10 George Vancouver K Henrythenavigator
($450,000 wnlg ‘10 KEENOV)
O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Capital Bloodstock;
T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Colm O’Donoghue. Lifetime Record: 7-2-1-1,
Last Start–1st Nov. 3 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

7 4 Glory Awaits (Ire) Choisir (Aus)
(€17,000 wnlg ‘10 GOFNOV; £33,000 yrl ‘11 DONAUG)
O-A & A; B-J Fisher; T-Kevin Ryan; J-Jamie Spencer. Lifetime Record:
8-1-0-2, £9,688.
Last Start–3rd Apr. 17 Listed Feilden S.

8 9 Kyllachy Rise (GB) Kyllachy (GB)
(100,000gns yrl ‘11 TATOCT)
O-Arjun Waney; B-Whatton Manor Stud; T-Sir Henry Cecil; J-Tom
Queally. Lifetime Record: 2-0-1-0, £2,382.
Last Start–2nd Apr. 20 Newbury maiden

9 13 Leitir Mor (Ire) Holy Roman Emperor (Ire)
O-Mrs J S Bolger; B/T-Jim Bolger; J-Rory Whelan. Lifetime Record:
13-1-7-3, £152,275.
Last Start–6th Apr. 20 Listed Woodlands S.

10 3 Mars (Ire) Galileo (Ire)
O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Susan Magnier; B-Massarra
Syndicate; T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Seamus Heffernan. Lifetime Record:
1-1-0-0, £6,038.
Last Start–1st July 16 Dundalk maiden

11 5 Moohaajim (Ire) Cape Cross (Ire)
(£40,000 yrl ‘11 DONAUG; 200,000gns 2yo ‘12 TATAPR)
O-Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum; B-Castlemartin Stud &
Skymarc Farm; T-Marco Botti; J-Adam Kirby. Lifetime Record: 5-2-1-1,
Last Start–3rd Apr. 20 G3 Greenham S.

12 12 Toronado (Ire) High Chaparral (Ire)
(€40,000 wnlg ‘10 ARQDEC; €55,000 yrl ‘11 ARQAUG)
O-Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani; B-Paul Nataf; T-Richard Hannon;
J-Richard Hughes. Lifetime Record: 4-4-0-0, £97,057.
Last Start–1st Apr. 18 G3 Craven S.

13 1 Van Der Neer (GB) Dutch Art (GB)
(55,000gns yrl ‘11 TATOCT)
O-Saeed Manana; B-Jeremy Green & Sons; T-Richard Hannon;
J-William Buick. Lifetime Record: 4-3-1-0, £76,395.
Last Start–1st Apr. 6 Listed International Trial S.
All carry 126 pounds.