Whew, okay, so THOROUGHBLOG has been trying to keep up since the flurry of activity since the SOVEREIGN AWARD evening Friday night, opening weekend of Woodbine and the Florida Derby card of racing on Sunday.

And then the computer crashes, more than once.

Anyway, the ‘BLOG is back and hopefully ready for the workload ahead as we move to a 3 day-a-week racing sked. 

OH, AND CONGRATS TO A.K. for picking ALL of the Sovereign Award horse awards correct. Please sent your address to ftdesk@horse-canada.com  for your prize!

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HEEL’S    LOOKING AT YA!   the filly NEW TOMORROW zips away to win Woodbine’s first race of the 20111 season. She was the first of 5 Wesley Ward owner and trained winners

Dave Landry photo

 

 

 

 

WOODBINE – NICE WEATHER, NICE CROWD, NICE PEOPLE

It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new life...NEW TOMORROW kicked things off and paid just $2.90 to win and by now you know the swath that owner and trainer WESLEY WARD cut through the Woodbine card.

MORE OR WES

Trainer takes 5 on Saturday but goes o’fer Sunday?

Wesley Ward had the same kind of weekend that handicappers at Woodbine or wait – perhaps it was handicappers had the same kind of weekend that Wesley Ward had!

Ward launched an assault at Woodbine perhaps never seen before – 5 wins of the 10 races, 4 were ridden by apprentice ‘Number’ Juan Delgado.

We know Nick Gonzalez has won 5 races on a card at Fort Erie – but who has done it at Woodbine??

Ward talked to THOROUGBLOG after CITY GENIUS won a maiden $10,000 claiming race, race 7, in  his 7th career start. The City Place bay gelding was cominf off races at GUlfstream.

“Other racetracks around the world should really take a look at this place,’ said Ward. “This is a super place to race a horse.”

Ward had told yours truly that he wanted to be more of a presence here in 2011 – whether he has told his speedy little horses that is another question – he was quite adamant that he will still be racing horses regularly come the dreary days of August.

Ward was in town with one of his 3 children and said he plans to check out his horses on a frequent basis.

Oh yes, and Ward didn’t just train the 5 winners – he also also owns all 5, the last one, MAGOO, in partnership with John Ray Haagsman.

And Magoo, EASY ASHLEY and NEW TOMORROW (aptly named winner of the 1st race of the season) are all by Ward’s wild sire BRING THE HEAT, who stands at Ward’s Ranch in Florida.

Wow.

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FOLLY LA LA LA..LA LA LA LA – The strikingly beautiful DON’S FOLLY came from miles behind to win the 5 furlong DEBUT STAKES. He was a stakes winner at 2 and is a tough dude. Emma-Jayne Wilson rode for trainer Ian Black and owner Don Cole. Dave Landry photo.

 

So while handicappers did well (Toronto Star – 5 winners also) by picking all of the Ward runners – or DEBUT STAKES winner DON’S FOLLY, it sure was a different ball game on SUNDAY.

It was bombs away all day long on Sunday as the Ward trainees got way overbet (actually all the faves were being overbet).

Toronto Star? 1 winner, eeks. Wesley Ward? 0 for 4.

Race 1 Sunday- The Robert Tiller trainee DISTINCT BY DESIGN went off at 4 to 5 and looked like a winner for a long time but e swapped to his wrong lead late and could not pass WHISPERED LEGEND, won won the maiden $16K race for Mary Surrency and trainer MIKE LIGHTNER. Distinct By Design was also pulled up quite sharply after the race.

LIGHTNER, a former assistant to Vladamir Cerin, won another race on the card (the trainer was 1 for 32 in his career in the last 5 years before Sunday) when WILLOW D’ORO, a Medaglia d’Oro gelding,. won his maiden for $10K claiming in race 3, alsom beating a big favourite.

Highest Beyer Figure of the weekend: MISSMISSJULIAC, grey filly won for $8,000 in race 9 on Sunday with an 84 Beyer Figure, even those her time was the same as race 2 – when the 3yo colt BEAR CHOCOLATED also sped 5 furlongs in 56 4/5.

Mymissjuliac is out of a mare who has produced at least 15 other fials including Grade 2 winner Sum Runner and stakes winner Holy Bubette. A $25K claim by David Ross a few starts ago, she was claimed for $8K by Dave Cotey on Sunday.

Sneaky firster – LITTLE MISS TOMMI was all the rage when the 2nd race on Saturday, opening day, came onto the track. The Tomahawk filly, debuting for $23,500 claiming for owner Steve Attard, Sheldon Pettle and and G. Sharpe was long gone out of the gate under Tyler Pizarro and paid just $7 and change to win. Of course, it helped that the 3 to 5 favourite PEAK CHOICE was scratched at the gate.

And another sneaky firster – SPEIGHTSTOWN LADY ran a hole in the wind to win her debut on Sunday at 18 to 1. The Speightstown filly was a $60K weanling purchase, then a $75K yearling purchase by Canadian Glenn Harvey (Kelynack Stable) and then Bought back for $190,000 as a 2yo in training.

While we have not seen many Kelynack horses win in recent years, this one,trained by Ricky Griffith, won big with a 78 Beyer Figure.

 

 

DAVE LANDRY PHOTOapr5woodbine1.jpg

 

 

Florida raced? Bah! – Okay, so the winter raced and trained horses have a huge edge for a few weeks but KITRIDGE POINT did not have to run against any kind of those horses and she won her maiden for $10,000 claiming for trainer Stuart Simon, who also co-owns. The Ontario bred was a $20,000 claiming and she is by Grand Slam.  And later on Saturday, high percentage trainer SAMMY DIPASQUALE, who always seems to win on opening day, sent out I FLY HIGH to remain unbeaten. The filly won the allowance race after a stern stretch battle with Lorne Richards’ trainee E XENTRIX. I Fly High is a Florida bred by High Fly.

SAMMY D was back with a win Sunday with his own dude, STAR PROSPECTOR, who zipped to a win for $12,500,

Simon Says – Stuart Simon came right back to win with AIR WOLF in the last race for $8,000. The 5yo gelding did not HIT THE BOARD in 8 races last year but did start 2010 at the allowance level. GERRY OLGUIN rode both Simon winners.

Track By-pass – Handicappers were scrambling around trying to seek out a track bias on the first day even though all the races were  at 5 furlongs and some races had very fast, crazy pace set-ups. DON’S FOLLY, virtually everyone’s pick to win the DEBUT STAKES, had a 21 and change opening quarter to run at and he passed virtually the entire field to win the 5 furlong stake for Don Cole. The son of Tethra was bred by the R & G Group.

On the Conteras… – The big hype of the pre-season was whether LUIS CONTRERAS will be the leading rider at Woodbine. Well, he won the late Pick 3 on Sunday – 2 for Mike Pino, so he’s in range already!