Tuesday morning…let STRAIT OF DOVER race in Prince of Wales!

Queen’s Plate winner was scintillating, the day was festive as Woodbine shone...MUSKETIER becomes OLDEST HORSE to ever win GRADED STAKE!


JOCKEYS AT FORT ERIE TODAY FOR ANNIVERSARY OF WALES: Richard Grubb, Gary Stahlbaum, Joey Belowus, John LeBlanc, Irwin Driedger, Brian Swatuck, Don Seymour, Larry Attard, Mickey Walls, Robert Landry, Constant Montpellier, Brian Bochinski, Patrick Husbands, Gerry Olguin, Corey Fraser, Luis Contreras, Sam McComb, Robin Platts, Sandy Hawley and Hugo Dittfach.




The rain held off at Woodbine until..well until the trophy was handed out, so it certainly did not erase any smiles!

Owner Wally Leong (6th from right) and his wide Terry (green.blue dress) join LG David Onley. Cindy Pierson Dulay photo





STRAIT OF DOVER was straight and strong on Sunday, romping home in the Plate to become the 2nd front running winner of the 1 1/4 mile classic in the last 3 years (Big Red Mike).
This Canyon Farms homebred is a serious kind of horse, however, at least on Polytrack, as he posted a 95 Beyer Figuer for his track-record win and that was one of the faster Plates in the last 10 years.

IRISH MISSION, the Oaks winner, ran a huge race after a small steadying incident early in the race. The track did seem to play a bit favourably to speed (according to jockey Justin Stein and the Daily Racing Form and the Woodbine TV hosts) so the stretch runs by ‘Mission’ and DIXIE STRIKE were amazing.

RIVER RUSH indeed bounced, a classic bounce off his huge Plate Trial run. He actually put in a good bid around the turn and into the stretch and he should be a force this season.

COLLEEN’S SAILOR is an improving colt and his even, 4th place run was good.

What would be a real shame is if STRAIT OF DOVER does not take part in the PRINCE OF WALES, the last at Fort Erie, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown.

Yes, he fared poorly in his 2 dirt races at Hastings Park but surely the configuration of that track and the fact that the owners said he had excuses in both races, suggest he warrants another chance.
It surely would be the sporting thing to do – since he will like the grass, why not give the colt a chance to become a Triple Crown winner?

On the track, $8.4 million was bet on the card, down 4 per cent from last year.
betting on the Plate race was down 22% but there was a wild crowd taking advantage of the Hats & Horseshoes party last year.
And let’s face it, betting on Plate day is up almost 50% in the last few years so a little adjustment is not a surprise.

What was a surprise was the hold that Ticketmaster and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment had on parts of the track. At least where this camp was trying hang out, on the usually free 5th floor (where I sat for the Queen a few years ago).
The 5th floor now was trying to be sold, although it was mostly empty.
MLSE monitors, posted everywhere, would not let anyone sit there if they did not have a ticket, including media.

It was disappointing that a move was made to try and sell tickets to the 5th floor and that these MLSE/Ticketmaster people were not accommodating to media.



The carnival-like Jats & Horsesoes party around the walking ring was extra cool for fans with magic, music, food and yes, a snake charmer!

Norm Files photo



The racing was stellar for sure and what a super bunch of finishes in the series of stakes races:

MY DEAR STAKES  – Okay, it was not pretty but favoured JUST GOT IN, at 4 to 5, won the pace battle and won the war, barely. This $15,000 yearling purchase, who races for Glenn Harvey (Kelynack Racing) and Stephen Duffield was in a 21 3/5 first 2 furlongs with American shipper Ju Ju Eyeballs. The pair were miles in front of the field in the 5 furlong 2yo filly dash but then slowed down badly in the strtech.
Ju Ju Eyeballs stopped and Just Got In was faltering but held on by a head over Lake Dancer (Tapit).
The winner is trained by Ricky Griffith and Chris Griffith rode.

HIGHLANDER STAKES – GRADE 2 – This popular 6 furlong turf sprint attracted a couple of nice shippers in Fiddlers Patriot (2nd by a nose to Signature Red last year) and Surfrider, a Dansili colt coming off a big win at Belmont.
But those 2 were nowhere in site as local speedball ESSENCE HIT MAN sped through wild pace fractions of 21 4/5 and 43 4/5 and led late until SMOKEY FIRE, coming off a layoff of almost 2 years blew past.
Winning jockey Eurico Da Silva rode like a wild man through the stretch and then yee-hawed at the wire. The pretty grey gelding is owned by Jim Dandy Stable and trained by Sid Attard.
he posted the day’s highest Beyer Figure of 99 for 1:07 3/5.

Holy Smokey! Eurico says Eureka on Plate day when Smokey Fire wins the Highlander

Terence Dulay photo




TRILLIUM STAKES – a $100,000 overnighter won by Upperline last year, almost won by that gal this year.
But it was STARS TO SHINE who won off an 8 month layoff for The Grange House and trainer Mark Frostad. This is a nice Tale of the Cat mare who was a good 5th in the Grade 1 Spinster last season and winner of the Belle Mahone Stakes. Alex Solis rode.

KING EDWARD STAKES – GRADE 2 – This 1 mile turf event lured stars like TREND, HOTHERSAL and STORMY LORD  all graded stakes performers but it was 13 to 1 longshot RIDING THE RIVER who had not won a stake and had not win since last June 5 who took the $250,000 race in a stunner. Owned by Linmac, Dominion Bloodstock and Hugh Galbreath, Riding the River was making his 3rd start off the layoff and he edged Big Band Sound. Todd Kabel rode the winner for his 1st stakes score of the season

SINGSPIEL STAKES – GRADE 3 – Who did not get choked up watching this race? MUSKETIER, 10-years-old, become the oldest horse to win a THOROUGHBRED graded Stakes when he edged stablemate SIMMARD after a stretch long duel in the 1 1/2 mile turf event.
The German-bred, owned by Stella Perdomo and trained by Roger Attfield, is a horse, not a gelding, and an 11th time winner in 47 races. He has won over $1.1 million and won this race last year.


MUSKETIER (Ger) becomes oldest horse to win a graded stakes race in Thoroughbred history – doing it at WOODBINE in the Singspiel.

Cindy Pierson Dulay photo



Yr Plate winner   Plate winning Beyer   Plate Trial Beyer (Plate Trial winner)

1988 REGAL INTENTION 102 –  n/a
1989 WITH APPROVAL 99 – n/a

1990 IZVESTIA 113 – n/a
1991 DANCE SMARTLY 102 100
1992 ALYDEED 105 105
1993 PETESKI 101 88 (Circulating)

1994 BASQUEIAN 103 93
1995 REGAL DISCOV’Y 99 96 (All Firmed Up)
1996 VICTOR COOLEY 102 103
1997 AWESOME AGAIN 100 97 (Cryptocloser)
1998 ARCHERS BAY 106 98 (Brite Adam)

1999 WOODCARVER 97 88 (Catahoula Parish)
2000 SCATTER THE GOLD   92 89 (Pete’s Sake)
2001 DANCETHRUTH’N 94 96 (Win City)
2002 T J’S LUCKY MOON 86 89 (Shaws Creek)
2003 WANDO                 111 95 (Mobil)

2004 NIIGON                 97 97 (A Bit O’Gold)
2005 WILD DESERT    92 92 (Dance With Ravens)
2006 EDENWOLD         94 81 (Pipers Thunder)
2007 MIKE FOX                          90 88 (Jiggs Coz)

2008 NOT BOURBON                93 88 (Not Bourbon)
2009 EYE OF THE LEOPARD 92 85 (Eye of the Leopard)
2010 BIG RED MIKE                 92 91 (Big Red Mike)
2011 INGLORIOUS                    99  90 (Check Your Soul)
2012 STRAIT OF DOVER 95  89 (River Rush)

(Before 1992, Beyer Figures calculated by the author)


26 years ago today – June 26, 1986:
DID YOU KNOW…Jockey Sandy Hawley won his 5,000th career race, aboard Mighty Massa, at Canterbury Downs.


Trish Burns at Fort Erie shot this cool photo of WITH ALL DILIGENCE and her poorly fitted saddle being approached by Wayne Whalen.

Patricia Burns photo



Hopefully within 20 days, Strait of Dover’s team will decide to race the colt at Fort for the Prince of Wales.

Until then, the track has a 115 year anniversary party tomorrow with a bunch of famous jockeys heading down from Woodbine, celebrating the track and the ‘Wales.

Sunday is LADIES DAY with Spa Booths a Breakfast Club in the a.m. and live entertainment as always.

Celebrate this wonderful track this year, make a trip down and enjoy the racing and the fun!