HANSEN says ‘bl**??^((*^p  to the Kentucky stewards, who made his folks wash his tail before the Blue Grass

Wendy Wooley/EquiSport


whew – what a fun day watching racing from all over yesterday, how exciting are things right now as the Kentucky Derby gets closer?  yesterday the last 2 big events were:



and at WOODBINE, wow, TU ENDIE WEI loped along early in the Star Shoot and then took off under mild urging in a big return outing. Betting at the big W was a solid $2.7 million.


SIDENOTE – before my wrap gets started –  I enjoyed a great day with friends at Woodbine yesterday, several who had never been before. The excitement of the sport was not lost of them, close finishes, seeing the horses saddle up close and even cheering on a Canadian horse at another track on a TV set! (Golden Ridge at Keeneland).

What was unsettling was their reaction to a couple of items – huge waits between races at Woodbine (one reporter noted 33 minutes between races, I saw 27 a lot, even on Friday’s card). It makes no matter to the die-hard racing lovers, especially when there are so many other tracks to watch, but I started losing my friends interest as the day went on. Ending a card at 6 p.m. when it starts at 1 is a long day.

The extra talking on the TV 3 minutes to post – sound which is piped in through the echoing grandstand is  somewhat distracting and seemed to be only a regurgitation of what was talked about for 12 minutes while the horses were in the paddock. As my friends put it ..”sure is a lot of talking going on, do they have to do that?”



WRAPPED UP – TU ENDIE WEI sizzles in STAR SHOOT Norm Files photo


Running as a champion should, TU ENDIE WEI dusted 3yo fillies in the STAR SHOOT STAKES yesterday, speeding 6 furlongs in 1:08.88 without barely being asked. She earned an 87 Beyer Figure in a romp over CASA LOMA (exactor picked cold in the TORONTO STAR).

The filly appeared to be a lot more settled than she was last year (she’s now 4 for 4 at Woodbine, one loss, in Kentucky) but the big test will come in the SELENE on  may 13 when she tries 2 turns again. Brereton Jones owns and bred the filly and Reade Baker trains.

Yesterday at Woodbine, there were a lot of favourites that won and a lot of popular winners too:

RACE 1: EMCEE RUSH, easy pickings for bettors as she won for Kyle Griffith and Ricky Griffith and Chris Griffith for $10,000 claiming, maiden fillies.

RACE 2 – SHELDONS CRUSADER was well prepared by trainer Robert Gerl to win for $20K and he was a favourite under Eurico Rosa da Silva.

RACE 3 – Loved the way ROMAN DAMSEL rallied from last to win for $16K for the red hot Mike Doyle barn. The C Scott Abbott mare is 4 for 21 now and Davy Moran rode the 5yo.

RACE 4 – The PICK 4 started off chalky – with ABSOULUTE HEAVEN becoming the first 2-time winner at the meeting as she won opening day and then again yesterday. The 8 year old mare was dropping off the win for just $6250 for owner trainer Jim Ensom.

RACE 5 – FATAL BULLET, in for a claiming price for the first time in a while, has won $1 . 2 million, but he’s not a stakes guy anymore. But he’s still got it and he won for $62,500 claiming for Bear Stables and trainer Baker (who was 4-2-2-0 on the day), under Emma-Jayne Wilson.

RACE 6-  liked the way CANT CATCH WYNSTON had been training anf he led all the way to win his debut for Laconian Racing, Steve Organ and Josie Carroll. The Vibank fellow did not work at all at 2 but was very well prepared.

Curiously, the BEYER FIGURES seemed low all day (the track was quick but not sure it was that quick) – and this guy got a 49 for his maiden score.

RACE 7 The PICK 4 paid well after all – longshots SUAVE VOIR FAIRE and LATIN LASHES ran 1-2 in the race – the winner paying $62.

Owner Denny Andrews picked up the Suave filly for $55,000 at Keeneland as a racing/broodmare prospect last fall and she is graded stakes placed, well bred, and a Polytrack lover. Nice score!

RACE 9 – VINO DEL TORO became the 5th winner from 10 starters for trainer Katerina Vassilieva as he ran an 81 Beyer Figure to take the $20K claiming race.

RACE 10 – Sam-Son Farms is 1 for 1 this year as PART THE SEAS became the 3rd winner for PATRICK HUSBANDS, winning the maiden alowance in her 2nd career race. She is by Stormy Atlantic.

30 to 1 shot SUAVE VOIR FAIRE wins her Woodbine debut for new owner Denny Andrews. Norm Files photo





GOLDEN RIDGE stamped himself a serious Queen’s Plate contender with another good run yesterday. The Distorted Humor colt is still green it appears, but he was 2nd in a maiden race yesterday and he picked up an 83 Beyer Figure. He is owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk.




‘run for the Roses bodes well for Zayat colt

Um, in case you are still riding high on the UNION RAGS/HANSEN bangwagon, and yes, those 2 colts are going in, with DULLAHAN, GEMOLOGIST and ALPHA as the big ones in the Kentucky Derby, you have to be impressed with the suddenly, startling BODEMEISTER, who won the Arkansas Derby by almost 10 lengths.
Yes, 9 3/4 like it was easy and he posted a 105 Beyer (his previous 2 Beyers were 101 and 101).
This is a monster colt. And he’s only raced 4 times.
The son of Empre Maker (did anyone hear that race call where the announcer talks about ‘making up for Empire Maker’ at the finish? weird) is fast so how he hooks up with Hansen and what happens if he does will be a Derby question.
He is named for Bob Baffert’s (trainer) son Bode.
Of course, he has that lovely jinx working against him, unstarted at 2 and not Derby winner that did not race at 2 since APOLLO in …well a zillion years ago.

HOT SPRINGS, ARK. — A late arrival to the Kentucky Derby picture, Bodemeister was anything but late to the finish line Saturday.

The bay colt headed to the front out of the gate, set strong fractions and never looked back in romping to a 9½-length victory in the $1 million, Grade I Arkansas Derby in front of 63,804 fans at Oaklawn Park.

In just his fourth career start, Bodemeister established himself as a top-flight contender for the May 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. He’ll have to buck 130 years of history to win, as Apollo (1882) was the last Derby champion who didn’t race as a 2-year-old.

“We’ll see what this took out of them, and then we’ll start talking (Kentucky) Derby,” said trainer Bob Baffert, who continued his Oaklawn Park dominance with his 16th victory in 26 starts there. “Bodemeister should be in great shape. He ran hard and fast. We know distance won’t be a problem.”



BLUE GRASS STAKESa tale of a tail



Hansen gets full marks for his run in the Blue Grass (he’s the white guy). Meanwhile, good steering my Kent D. on Dullahan (rail, in back, green cap)

EquiSport/Wendy Woolley

“We do have several regulations that that it would be against,” Borden said. “It alters the appearance of a horse… He was asked not to do it… He chose to do it anyway.” – steward Barbara Borden in Kentucky

Then there was the BLUE GRASS FIASCO – why fiasco, well only because of the madness when HANSEN came over with a blue tail and then was ordered to have the colour removed by his handlers.
This is a very talented colt, scary good, but how fast does he need to go early in his races? He went very fast yesterday on the pace and beat everyone except a colt who came from 11th – DULLAHAN, who is a half brother to Derby winner MINE THAT BIRD.

There is a great great video on the link below of Lyndsay Hunter who said Dr. Kendall Hansen thought dyeing Hansen’s tail blue (halfway down) was an interesting way to lure younger people to the track, generate interest, etc.

That was weird too, as DULLAHAN blew past to win easily but then was pulled up sharply right after the wire by jockey Kent Desormeaux. It was a scary incident and no one is really sure what was going on. The horse later came back to the winner’s circle looking fine. But that can’t be good on a horse when he just ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 and change.

As for PROSPECTIVE, the colt based at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse, owner John Oxley and jockey Luis Contreras, he remains on the earnings list in 16th, and the Derby is on the dirt not Polytrack, but he was absolutely all out on the turn as Contreras was jumping up and down on him, and he wound up 6th beaten 6 1/2. That’s his second Grade 1 race where he has not threatened and one would have to think that would be the end of the Derby dream – the field is loaded with monsters this year.
Luis Contreras said after the race:
“My horse ran OK. I got a little trouble in the first turn. If it wasn’t that thing in the first turn probably I’d be closer. My horse ran good but had had a little bad trip in the first turn. That was the only thing.”

HANSEN’S BLUE TAIL – story, pic and video



Under sunny skies and summer-like weather conditions, opening day at Hastings Racecourse Saturday was a resounding success.

Raj Mutti, Regional General Manager, BC Racing, said wagering numbers on-track were up 12% over last year and all sources up 14% compared to 2011 figures.

“This is my 8th year working at Hastings,” Mutti said, “and I have never seen a crowd this huge on opening day. We had a great young demographic mixed in with our regulars as we continue to build a great brand and great experience for the local Vancouver sports and entertainment scene.”

Actual attendance figures are not available at Hastings Racecourse because there is not an admission charge and thus no turnstile count.

Day 2 at Hastings – a 1:50 p.m. start Sunday – showcases the first of 40 stakes races this year with the running of the $50,000 George Royal for 3-year-olds and up that has drawn a full field of 10. B.C.
Horse Racing Hall of Fame member Robert (Bob) Hall, owner and trainer of the immortal George Royal, will be guest decorator for the feature scheduled to start at 5:20 p.m.

Another highlight of Sunday’s card is the $2,397 Pick 5 Carryover that starts in Race 4.

Jockey Fernando Perez, leading rider at Hastings in 2009 who spent last season at Northlands Park in Edmonton, scored a triple on opening day with wins in the 3rd race on Dictatorship, the 7th on Taylors Deal and the 8th on long shot ($62.70) on R Dubai Girl.

TAYLORS DEAL, the BC bred double stakes winner at Turf Paradise this season, made it look easy in his allowance win at 6 furlongs, stopping the clock in 1:10 3/5.

FORT ERIE PREVIEW – onwards and upwards!