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SHOWDOWN? RACHEL ALEXANDRA the super filly versus Kentucky Derby winner MINE THAT BIRD. It may happen if some bad sports don’t get their way (read more below). (Vanessa Ng and Cindy Pierson Dulay photos)

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WOODBINE WRAP

CLEAR SAILING FOR STUCK IN TRAFFIC

Rebounding nicely from a botched season debut when he broke slowly, crack sprinter STUCK IN TRAFFIC reached out with a long smooth stride and rallied from just off the pace to win the New Providence Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine.

The bay Kiridashi 4-year-old ran the 6 furongs in 1:09.57 and held off the closing entry of Legal Move and Yummy With Butter. His Beyer Figure was  89.

On the previous outing when he broke slowly, trainer Nick Gonzalez said: “It was just one of those unfortunate things where he ran at the front doors and when he backed away, the doors opened,” noted Gonzalez. “For all the years of racing that I’ve been through, I just wrote that off. I knew that wasn’t him.”

A six-time winner from 13 starts, along with four seconds, Stuck in Traffic won two races from four starts in 2008. “He sat off the speed a little farther than I thought he would,” said Gonzalez. “He’s grown up and he’s a big boy now, so maybe he’s going to do that from here on in.

“I wasn’t really surprised he won. It was the way he did it. It was very encouraging because it looked like he was a one-dimensional horse for a while. Who knows, maybe he’ll go on to bigger and better things.”

The colt is owned by MAD Racing and Martha Gonzalez and was bred by Minshall Farms in Ontario.

 

GRADE 3 HENDRIE A SURPRISE, NOT!

– Trainer JOSIE CARROLL blamed herself for the mare Smart Surprise not winning the Grade 3 Whimsical when speedy Dancing Allstar led the way to win that event. The tables turned yesterday in the Grade 3 Hendrie when a sharp SMART SURPRISE (Smart Strike) stalked a quicker pace andthen rallied to win over a hard charging Proud Heiress.

Dancing Allstar faded to be 4th and AUTHENICAT a graded placing to be 3rd. Owned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, the mare was ridden by Husbands.

 

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We interrupt this post to introduce you to JAKE, the newest member of the Thoroughblog family!

 

THE MOST IMPRESSIVE WINNER ALL WEEKEND?

Make a note…

– EXCHANGE NOTE, a Florida bred gelding by Exchange Rate out of Open Book by Notebook, ran away with a maiden allowance in the very last of 30 races run on the weekend and earned 99 BEYER FIGURE. The dark bay is owned by Linman Farm and trainer Robert Tiller bought him for $50,000. He just missed the track record for 6 furlongs as he raced the distance in 1:08.92.

OTHER WINNERS AT WOODBINE ON THE WEEKEND

– On the people front, Patrick Husbands, the leading rider in the ‘land’ piled on another bunch of wins – 4 to be exact. GAIL CASSELMAN-COX won 2 races on Sunday, JOSIE CAROLL won a triple on the weekend and NICK GONZALEZ and MARK CASSE bagged a pair.

It was essentially as a case of everyone gets something for the last 30 races, however, as so many different trainers and jockeys won races. The track seemed to play favourably for outside runners all weekend.

Friday – SUNSET HEIGHTS, a flashy new York bred by Paynes Bay, doubled up and won for $20,000 for 3 Sons racing and trainer David Thompson.

TACITO doubled up too – he won for Terry Hamilton and trainer Alec Fehr in a 1 1/16 mile race for $25,000 claiming. Near Noise was claimed by Reade Baker from that race.

EARL BARNETT and jockey SLADE CALLAGHAN won their first race of the season when DEPUTY LOR won a 1 1/16 mile race for $10,000 claiming at 29 to 1 in his 2nd start of the season.

Gus Schickedanz and trainer MIKE KEOGH are on a roll. Beginner FIRST CIRCLE was very methodical in her approach to win the 6th race,  a maiden allowance for fillies and mares. She is by Langfurhr and a full sister to Marlang, last year’s Breeders’ Stakes winner.

SHAWANAGA doubled with with Ray Sabourin on board. The dark bay mare won for $50,000 claiming over Yolie in race 7 for Victura Farms and trainer Nick Gonzalez.

SPRINT MASTER won an allowance race in his first race of the season. Opened by Goldmart Farms and trained by Robert Tiller, the 4yo Bold Executive gelding rallied outside ( a common trend on the 3 day weekend series).

The finale on Friday when to Colebrook Farms’ SLAVENSKA, who won the maiden allowance handilyto become another winner for 2nd crop sire Dance to Destiny.

Saturday – LONE ENDEAVOUR, previously trained by the late Gord Cowie, led all the way to win the 1st race for $50,000 claiming 3yo’s. He is owned by Jeff MacPherson. He was 11 to 1 and set up a big DAILY DOUBLE with TERMS OF THE TIGER, a 2nd Fort Erie based horse. She won the 2nd race for trainer Lynn Simon and won for $9,500 claiming with a 4 wide rally.

QUEEN’S PLATE HOPEFUL MR. FORICOS TWO U ran a 77 Beyer Figure in his runaway win for Frank Annecchini and breeder Rocco d’Alimonte. Catherine Day Phillips trains the flashy Porto Foricos gelding.

TRIBAL BELLE came off the layoff to win the 6th race, an allowance event for fillies and mares. Like most of the Terry Jordan trainees, the filly was so well prepared she ran a 91 Beyer Figure in the 1:09 2/5 score for 6 furlongs.

Highly regarded CARELESS JEWEL won a maiden allowance in race 7 for Donver Stable and trainer Josie Carroll. The almost white Tapit gal won in 1:10 1/5.

Sunday – TWO-YEAR-OLDS, only the 2nd race for them, were on stage in race 1 and the 4 ½ furlong dash was won by SIR HEART THROB for Mark Casse et al. The Ontario bred by Olmodavor was nred Marilyn Hillier, part of the Love 2 Win Stable.

Sam-Son Farms’ impeccably bred EYE OF THE LEOPARD might have snuck into the Queen’s Plate picture with a win in a maiden allowance. The A.P. Indy – Eye of the Spynx colt stopped in his Keeneland debut but led all the way yesterday through 1 1/16 miles and he earned a 74 Beyer Figure.

may1109terrain1.jpgPREAKNESS PROBABLES

Photo at left: TERRAIN (Sky Mesa) is one of 14 probables for the Preakness. Read some analysis at www.horse-races.net

Horse – Trainer – Dosage – Jockey  

Big Drama – David Fawkes – 3.00 – John Velazquez

Flying Private – D. Wayne Lukas – 3.67 – Robby Albarado

Friesan Fire – Larry Jones – 3.00 – Gabriel Saez

General Quarters – Mark Miller – 2.69 – Julien Leparoux

Hull – Dale Romans – 3.00 – Miguel Mena

Luv Guv – D. Wayne Lukas –  4.60 – ?

Mine That Bird – Bennie Woolley – 5.40 – Calvin Borel

Musket Man – Derek Ryan – 4.00 – Eibar Coa

Papa Clem – Gary Stute – 3.36 – Rafael Bejarano

Pioneerof the Nile – Bob Baffert – 3.89 – Garrett Gomez

Rachel Alexandra – Steve Asmussen – 1.55 – Calvin Borel

Take the Points – Todd Pletcher – 1.35 – Edgar Prado

Terrain – Albert Stall Jr. – 2.20 – ?

Tone It Down – William Komlo – 1.22 – Kent Desormeaux

 

BIRD – WORK

– MINE THAT BIRD worked Monday morning because the trainer said he was getting too worked up. The 3yo gelding by Birdstone went in 49 1/5 for four furlongs at Churchill under CALVIN BOREL. The jockey is on JAY LENO tomorrow night.

 

BIGGEST STORY OF THE WEEKEND?

THIS RIDICULOUS ONE…

– If you missed the advancing of events, the story goes that some owners were going to get together and enter horses in the Preakness simply to have RACHEL ALEXANDRA, the super filly, excluded from the field.

The Blood-Horse reports:

Zayat Reconsiders; Won’t Keep Rachel Out

By Steve Haskin

After being besieged with unfavorable comments regarding his earlier decision to enter enough horses to prevent Rachel Alexandra from running in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Ahmed Zayat, owner of Pioneerof the Nile, said on TVG that he has decided to reconsider and will not enter any other horses.

 

Zayat said he had been contacted by Mine That Bird’s co-owner Mark Allen informing him he will be entering another horse in the second leg of the Triple Crown in order to keep Rachel Alexandra out of the race, and asked Zayat to join him, which he initially agreed to do.

 

Zayat had earlier told HRTV: “I got a phone call earlier today that I wasn’t familiar with the phone number of that particular person, and that person kept calling and, lo and behold, it was the owner of the Derby winner, Mine That Bird, and he said

www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/50705/zayat-reconsiders-wont-keep-rachel-out

BUT THE WHITNEY TEAM SAYS IT WAS NOT INVOLVED

www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/50710/whitney-will-not-exclude-rachel-alexandra

OUCH!

– Mine That Bird feature on Colorado site  says they got him from where?

Finding Mine The Bird wasn’t an easy task, and neither was the road to the Derby victory. Mark Allen, who owns Double Eagle Farm in Santa Teresa, N.M., teamed up with Dr. Blach to find the horse. They found the horse in Woodbine, Alberta, Canada, and had originally planned to do smaller, local races.

www.greeleytribune.com/article/20090511/SPORTS/905119996/1010/NONE&parentprofile=1010

 

ASSINIBOIA OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Sunday was opening day

press release

One of the biggest opening day crowds in the recent history of Assiniboia Downs, with more than 4000 race fans on hand, enjoyed a nailbiter in the first. It came down to a whisker to determine the winner of the first race of the 2009 season.

Inspeightofsuccess nosed out Northern Promise in the final strides to claim the Don Gray Memorial, the traditional first race of the year, for trainer Carl Anderson and owners Lambert, Matthews and Hill. Sitting in behind early leader Black Iris, both Inspeightofsuccess and Northern Promise were able to run down the New York invader in mid-stretch and battled down to the wire. Northern Promise, trained by newcomer to Assiniboia Downs and former Alberta trainer, Don Schnell, almost got the job done, but lost the

head bob in the final strides.

Black Iris, trained by Clayton Gray, set quick early fractions going into the homestretch but could not hold off the final charge of the winners. Best opening day since 1990’s “We haven’t seen such a successful opening day since the 1990’s,” says general manager Sharon Gulyas. “The huge crowd at the open house last Sunday with almost 2000 people in attendance and now this, gives the impression of a resurgence of interest in live racing.”

Wagering was up 19 percent over opening day of 2008. Great weather and a sold out Mother’s Day brunch created the “perfect crowd” at the track. And the horse racing did not disappoint with a competitive afternoon on all fronts.

Competitive Jockey Colony sets the stage

The grandstand was buzzing about the depth of the 2009 jockey colony. It was made evident to the impressive Mother’s Day crowd with no one jockey outshining the other. Gary Baze, in his first season at Assiniboia Downs, captured two on the day with back to back winners, Wonforrosie and City Celebrity.

The three-time leading rider Alan Cuthbertson captured his first of the season in the third aboard Fourth Top trained by Clint Willson. Cuthbertson will be attempting to capture his fourth straight riding title in 2009.

Members of the Bajan Invasion, Rocco Bowen and Renaldo Cumberbatch won the first two races and Larren Delorme, Rohan Singh and David Lopez each captured one win as well.

Ardell Sayler gets his first of 2009.

Nine-time leading trainer Ardell Sayler was one of eight different trainers to capture a win on opening day 2009. Ardell will be going for a record-setting ten training titles at Assiniboia Downs. Time to Act in the seventh got the South Dakota trainer on the board opening day.