BREAKING NEWS – FORT ERIE WILL RACE IN 2014!
Horsepeople of Canada, gather your horses. Bring some more in from the U.S.
Fort Erie racetrack will be racing in 2014 and it will not just be a two-week ‘festival’ meeting.
The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario directors have been meeting with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Agriculture and horse owner John Snobelen to work out a solution to keeping Fort Erie open.
“It is our intention to have a meaningful race meet,” said Sue Leslie, president of the Ontario HBPA. “Everyone has worked very hard over the months to convince [Premier Wynne, Minister Snobelen] of the impact of Fort Erie to thoroughbred racing in Ontario. It generates a lot of economic importance to Ontario.”
Leslie said the details about the meeting will be determined in the coming two weeks or by the end of February at the latest. “We are sorry we are late with this announcement, but we are happy we are making it.”
The importance of keeping Fort Erie open lies with the approaching five-year plan by the provincial government (set to start April 1) to help support the Ontario horse racing industry, all three breeds. The plan includes Premier Wynne’s promise to integrate horse racing in the province with the gaming platforms of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
“That is the single most important thing [to horse racing in Ontario],” said Leslie about the integration of horse racing into the OLG gaming plans.
“It needs to be a meaningful integration where the OLG advertises horse racing, has it as part of the equation at all times.”
Keeping Fort Erie open will give the historical track an opportunity to be a part of the integration and part of the five-year plan set out by the government. Indeed, if the track closes, it would be hard to re-open it.
Now, the onus is on the members of the horse racing industry in the province to gather up the troops and ensure there is a solid horse population at the track. Last year’s small fields did not help wagering so the HBPA requests that all members spread “this positive news…by encouraging fellow horse people to support horse racing at Fort Erie Race Track. It will be essential that we as an industry continue to showcase our commitment to live racing at Fort Erie, to improving the game and growing our fan base.”
Stay tuned for more on the return, once again, of Fort Erie.
MORE ITEMS ON THE FORT ERIE ANNOUNCEMENT:
JULIA CAREY, EMMA-JANE WILSON among Canadian winners
JULIA CAREY won with SATURDAYATBERNIES at Gulfstream on Wednesday, a 4yo gelding by Bernstein that appears to have been a private purchase since his last race. The gelding won the 7 1/2 furlong turf race for $16,000 under apprentice Dylan Davis and it was his 2nd career win. Carey owns and trainers horses at Woodbine. She won 10 races in 2013.
Jockey EMMA-JAYNE WILSON was aboard the four-year-old Awesome Again filly STICK TO YOUR GUNS, who was a $50 winner at Gulfstream on Sunday for Lee Pokoik and trainer Gary Contessa.
DENNIS MILLS’ homebred filly OROLUCE won for the second time at the Gulfstream meeting when taking a $16,000 claiming race on grass on Thursday at Gulfstream. The North Light (Ire) four-year-old was claimed but overall won 3 races and over $64,000 for Mills and trainer Nick Gonzalez.
DONN HANDICAP – Bill Graham/Canadian-breds RIVER SEVEN and UNCAPTURED meet champion WILL TAKE CHARGE
Lou Tucci and his uncle Carlo know that Sunday’s Donn Handicap (GI) is a very tough race but as skill as the pair have been with claiming and racing horses, they have also had some luck along the way. And anyone in horse racing knows that good luck is integral.
The Tucci’s claimed and raced Canadian stars such as ONE FOR ROSE, a champion, and JUST RUSHING, along others. They have their own little breeding establishment with their own stallion Endeavour but also purchase yearlings or two-year-olds in training.
RIVER SEVEN, a plain bay gelded son of Johannesburg – Sans Souci Island by Chester Island, was picked up by the Tucci’s as a 2yo in training for $60,000, a bit of a bargain since the youngster was an $80,000 yearling purchase from breeder Bill Graham by Hugo Merry Bloodstock.
A graded takes winner at 2, RIVER SEVEN was a leading contender for the 2013 Queen’s Plate but setbacks meant trainer Nick Gonzalez had to play catch up in the spring with the gelding. River Seven simply did not come around in time. He raced against a speed bias in the Plate and was beaten 32 lengths. The good news for the Tucci’s? The plain bay gelding that had claimed at Gulfstream Park in the winter of 2013, MIDNIGHT ARIA, stole the Plate on the pace in a huge upset.
Midnight Aria would never race again.
So, as Midnight Aria ended up at Goldmart Farms for the rest of the year, RIVER SEVEN started to come around. He was second to UNCAPTURED in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort on the dirt, second to the tough UP WITH THE BIRDS in the Breeders’ Stakes and then a troubled second to Golden Sabre in an allowance race, a race that Gonzalez hoped would get the gelding on the wining track and build his confidence.
Well, that eventually did come. RIVER SEVEN suddenly exploded when he won the Labeeb Stakes on very treacherous grass at Woodbine, scoring by more than 10 lengths. He won the Commonwealth Stakes at Churchill Downs before simply romping in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream in December on the dirt, He broke the track record for 1 1/16 miles, posting a time of 1:41.73.
That track record has since been broken again but RIVER SEVEN has been training like a bear as he gets ready for Sunday’s huge test.
The Donn is on national TV and the 10 rivals include none other than last year’s American champion 3yo WILL TAKE CHARGE.
Meanwhile, Bill Graham’s WINDHAVEN is also the breeder of horse of the Year UNCAPTURED, the ‘Wales winner who has been on the road a lot since he was a 2yo. The son of Lion Heart, a $290,000 yearling purchase by John Oxley, has accomplished a lot but there may be more in the tank here. He was a closing 4th in the Hal’s Hope behind Lea (also in the Donn) and, like trainer Mark Casse says, Uncaptured has lost all of his speed these days but he does have a good rally.
Sunday, Gulfstream Park, post time: 6:01 p.m. EST
DONN H.-GI, $500,000, 4yo/up, 1 1/8m
PP HORSE SIRE JOCKEY TRAINER WT
1 Uncaptured K Lion Heart Mena Casse 116
2 Will Take Charge K Unbridled’s Song Saez Lukas 123
3 Revolutionary K War Pass Castellano Pletcher 119
4 Neck ‘n Neck Flower Alley Leparoux Wilkes 116
5 River Seven K Johannesburg Rocco Jr. Gonzalez 116
6 Romansh Bernardini Velazquez Albertrani 116
7 Viramundo K Stephen Got Even Lopez Wolfson 114
8 Lea First Samurai Rosario Mott 117
9 Bourbon Courage Lion Heart Lezcano Gorder 115
10 Macho Bull K Macho Uno Kappushev Dorochenko 112
11 Joshua’s Comprise Comprise Maysonett Rose 114
CANADIAN OWNED BRUJO takes on the sprinters
Manitoba’s BARRY ARNASON (did you see the story on Barry in the SIRE BOOK, Canadian Thoroughbred magazine?) owns 10 percent of BRUJO DE OLLEROS, a contender in this Gulfstream Park Sprint (GI) on Saturday. He raced against a speed bias in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November as did LAUGH TRACK, trained by Mark Casse, who was 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup and is in this race. The problem is, the Gulfstream dirt surface is often speed favouring as well.
Saturday, Gulfstream Park, post time: 5:31 p.m. EST
GULFSTREAM PARK SPRINT S.-GIII, $100,000, 4yo/up, 7f
PP HORSE SIRE JOCKEY TRAINER WT
1 Laugh Track K Distorted Humor Rosario Casse 117
2 Jackson Bend Hear No Evil Velazquez Gold 117
3 Narvaez K Holy Bull Jaen Bezara 117
4 Reveron K Songandaprayer Trujillo Bezara 117
5 Falling Sky K Lion Heart Saez Weaver 117
6 Brujo de Olleros (Brz) Wild Event Garcia Mettee 117
7 Silver Menace Silver Wagon Caraballo Ritvo 117
8 Fort Loudon Awsme of Course Zayas Gold 117
9 Catron K Distorted Humor Castellano Pletcher 117
10 Singanothersong Songandaprayer Leyva Pellegrini 119
11 Purple Egg K Lion Heart Rocco Jr. Cibelli 119
CANADIAN-BREDS NUMBER 12 IN TRIPLE CROWN NOMINATIONS
There are a dozen Canadian-bred nominees of the 413 nominated to the American Triple Crown series according to the release issued yesterday.
The Canadian-bred list is led by Grade I winner WE MISS ARTIE, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and bred by Richard Lister in Ontario.
There are 11 Mark Casse-trainees and another 10 owned by Canadians.
Ami’s Holiday C B Harlan’s Holiday Victorious Ami Tall Oaks Farm Josie Carroll Ivan Dalos
Asserting Bear C B Bear’s Kid Star Guest John Carey Reade Baker Bear Stables,
Coltimus Prime C DK B/ Milwaukee Brew Certainly Special J. Horner Justin J. Nixon Cabernet Racing Stables
Eirigh C DK B/ More Than Ready Pleasant N Low Cavendish Investing Ltd. Thomas Morley Donegal Racing
Leif Erikson C B Henrythenavigator Gumboots Eaton Hall Farm Michael J. Doyle Eaton Hall Farm
Majestic Sunset C B Artie Schiller Sunset Cocktail Ron Clarkson Mark E. Casse John C. Oxley
Mangusta C CH Street Boss Ethan’s Car Josham Farms Limited Michael Mattine Theodore F. Burnett
Manhattan Johnnie C DK B/ Roman Ruler Fancy Deed R. Harvey & A. Wortzman Eddie Kenneally Joseph Bucci
Matador C B Malibu Moon I’m Breathtaking Windhaven Farms Limited Mark E. Casse John C. Oxley
Recall Dynaformer C DK B/ Dynaformer Recoleta Charles Fipke Roger L. Attfield Charles E. Fipke
Rhythm Blues C CH Tale of the Cat Its a Ruby Garland E. Williamson Michael R. Matz Hillsbrook Farms
We Miss Artie C DK B/ Artie Schiller Athena’s Gift Richard L. Lister Todd A. Pletcher Ramsey, Kenneth L. and Sarah K.
Mark Casse trainees are:
AWESOME SKY, COASTLINE, CONQUEST AFLEET, CONQUEST TITAN, CONQUEST TOP GUN, DYNAMIC IMPACT MAJESTIC SUNSET, MATADOR and THUNDERGRAM
Other Canadian connected horses are
BIG BAZINGA, BOND HOLDER, DYLAN WARD, INDIAN BRITT, INDY’S MILLIONS, RUM POINT, THE CUSTODIAN, UNBRIDLED FOREVER and VAN FRASSEN.
ONTARIO-BREDS CATALOGUED IN THE OCALA MARCH 2YO SALE
17 Updates C Tale of Ekati Twice as Sweet Ontario Scanlon Training Center, Agent III 10
53 Updates Y F Harlan’s Holiday Allison’s Pride Ontario Eisaman Equine, Agent 7
74 Updates C Speightstown Banga Ridge Ontario Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent I 5
77 Updates F Scat Daddy Baytree Ontario Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent VIII 5
135 Updates C Distorted Humor Endless Journey Ontario Scanlon Training Center, Agent I 10
224 Updates Y F Medaglia d’Oro Lady Charade Ontario Classic Bloodstock (Danzel Brendemuehl), Agent 9
229 Updates Y C Blame La Suena Ontario Eisaman Equine, Agent 7
238 Updates Y C Old Fashioned Lochrea Ontario SAB Sales (Scott A. Bergsrud), Agent II 2
294 Updates F Mineshaft Mystical Beauty Ontario Eddie Woods, Agent LXXII 11
296 Updates C Stormy Atlantic Nicki Knew Ontario SAB Sales (Scott A. Bergsrud), Agent II 2
319 Updates C Hard Spun Penny Perfect Ontario Halcyon Hammock Farm, Agent II 1
324 Updates F Macho Uno Pop Princess Ontario Scanlon Training Center, Agent I 10
346 Updates C Street Boss Reggae Rose Ontario Classic Bloodstock (Danzel Brendemuehl), Agent 9
362 Updates C Speightstown Santerra Ontario Niall Brennan Stables, Agent XI 8
COULD THE CAST AND CREW OF MINE THAT BIRD COME TO TORONTO?
Where the popular Kentucky Derby learned his lessons?
The cast and filmmakers of ‘50 to 1’ will hit the road rock-star style on a cross-country tour beginning March 17 to promote the major motion picture’s release, says the film’s producer, director and co-writer Jim Wilson, Oscar-winning producer of ‘Dances with Wolves.’
“We’re bringing ‘50 to 1’ to the people of America,” Wilson says. The group will travel in a tour bus from New Mexico to Kentucky, making stops in cities and towns along the way, mirroring the trip racehorse Mine That Bird took on his way to the 2009 Kentucky Derby.
TEN FUNNY RACE CALLS – from AMERICA’S BEST RACING