Today’s post dedicated to…..a familiar site in the Woodbine program





James Bannon Sr. passed away on Tuesday at the age of 84. He was the popular handicapper behind the name Abernathy in the Woodbine program. His son Jim writes the Journal for Woodbine.
Mass of Christian Burial, will be held at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 480 Rathburn Road, Toronto, on Friday, February 10, 2012 at 11am.  In lieu of flowers, donations to Sharelife or charity of choice would be appreciated by the family .


Peak a boo! Another newcomer for 2012 is an Old Forester colt out of My Kitty, by Catienus foaled on Feb. 3 at Woodlands Farm.

Dan Steeves photo



It may feel like deja vu all over again (a blogger/horse racing fan) stands up for the sport, calls a race into question and the stewards act – but this time it is LAUREL PARK who took the reins and suspended a rider 30 days for “failure to put forth best effort.”

Hey, it’s a fine line between riding a race to your best and not being abusive to the horse, but once again horsepeople, you must realize… bettors are betting MONEY on these races: pull up your horse if that is the case, don’t gallop around and do nothing.

The sensitivity of horsepeople when races are called into question by fans, bloggers and the like, tends to get out of hand: it certainly did here at Woodbine when a similar issue came about several years ago.

This incident was called out by THAT’S AMORE STABLE blog, and then landed in various other spots. It’s a bit sad that it takes thins kind of action for stewards/tracks to look into a situation.

The PAULICK REPORT reports on the press release from the stewards and check out the comments from fans below the story, not one is happy…

Jockey Delgado suspended 30 days for Laurel race ride
by Ray Paulick

Jockey Alberto Delgado has been suspended 30 days by Maryland Racing Commission stewards for “failure to put forth his best effort” aboard owner-trainer Dane Kobiskie’s My Sweet Nenana, who finished seventh as the 1-to-2 favorite in a $5,000 claiming race at Laurel Park on Feb. 1.

Delgado’s ride was called into question by the That’s Amore Stable blog, which said: “The bettors were essentially defrauded in this race, and the other connections seemingly had property, even lives, put at risk.  And all of those people — bettors, owners, trainers, jockeys, fans — deserve some answers and not from the internet rumor mill.”



Training track/sand ring being worked on for Sunday opening (weather permitting)

Ladies and gents, bring us your horses!
It has been a weird winter in southern Ontario, not a lot of snow in the city limits and beyond.
How have the horses managed over the winter with more mud to stand in than cold, cooling snow?
Well, ship in day is Saturday and the training track is expected to be opened Sunday.

“Opening the training track and sand ring is actually going to be pretty easy,” said Irwin Driedger, Woodbine’s ace track manager. “It’s always a little nerve-wracking getting the track open, you don’t want anybody to mess any training days, so we have to monitor the weather all the time, anything can happen.”

But Driedger said that his crew has already begun to work the tracks and other than being slightly ‘uneven” because it has not been frozen underneath, the cold temperatures at night coming up should be perfect for the surface.

“It looks like the weather will be cooperating for a while,”, said Driedger.  “On the one hand, it has been a nice winter, but it has not been consistent, with thaws, sun, and then occasional freezing.”


Have you checked our lists lately?? See main page of Thoroughblog. Here are the current Queen’s Plate contenders from this corner. Note that Maritimer, having been sold and not made eligible to the American Triple Crown, may have dropped off the radar for now.



Saturday, Gulfstream Park, post time: 5:13 p.m. EST
GULFSTREAM PARK TURF H.-GI, $300,000, 4yo/up, 1 1/8mT

1 Silver Medallion K Badge of Silver Castellano Pletcher 120
2 Hollinger Black Minnaloushe Lezcano Attfield 117
3 Big Blue Kitten Kitten’s Joy Leparoux Brown 116
4 Yummy With Butter Silvador Lopez Belsoeur 118
5 Boisterous Distorted Humor Velazquez McGaughey 120
6 Yankee Fourtune K Yankee Gentleman Maragh McLaughlin 116
7 Get Stormy Stormy Atlantic Dominguez Bush 121
8 Kindergarden Kid K Dynaformer Bravo Tagg 116
9 Smart Bid Smart Strike Prado Motion 117
10 Al Khali K Medaglia d’Oro Garcia Mott 119
11 Sangaree Awesome Again Maragh McLaughlin 114



HIP                  COLOR       YEAR
NO.      NAME         SEX        FOALED     SIRE                 DAM
6      …………………….DKB/BR C…..10  Ghostzapper…………..Just Breezing
62     True Attraction……….CH F………10  Yes It’s True…………New Attraction
101    …………………….DKB/BR F…..10  Lion Heart……………Regal Blues
116  ($35,000 YEARLING ONTARIO 2011   …………………….B F……….10  City Zip……………..Sago
141   $87,000 YEARLING ONTARIO …………………….B C……….10  Sharp Humor…………..Sobhy’s Gal
168    Tangliora…………….DKB/BR F…..10  Medaglia d’Oro………..Tango Prospect
183    …………………….CH C………10  Holy Bull…………….Tudor Queen
186    …………………….B F……….10  Spring At Last………..Unbridled Run
194    …………………….B F……….10  Songandaprayer………..Villacora
209    …………………….DKB/BR C…..10  Sun King……………..Willow Woodman
215    …………………….GR/RO C……10  Tapit………………..Woods Bay
237    Haggatts……………..DKB/BR F…..10  Harlington……………Appleby Gardens
265    …………………….CH F………10  Silver Train………….Caseys Irish Pride
301    …………………….DKB/BR C…..10  Fusaichi Pegasus………Duda
348    …………………….DKB/BR F…..10  Successful Appeal……..House of Soviet’s


Canadian jock MARIO GUTIERREZ could be headed to the Kentucky Derby aboard I’LL HAVE ANOTHER, owned by Canadian Paul Reddam – Alex Evers/EquiSport photo




SURGE POWER, an Ontario homebred for JOhn Pastorek, was an 8 to 1 upset winner of a $10,000 claming race at Gulfstream yesterday. The 4yo grey colt is by Mobil out of Spectral Arc, by Dr. Carter. He was ridden by Rajiv Maragh and trained by Tino Attard. It was Attard’s first win of 2012 in his 7th starter.

BLINDSIDEHIT won a $7,000 claiming race at Charles Town yesterday. The 4yo filly by Bluegrass Cat – Heart Lake by Unbridled was bred by Bill Graham’s Windhave in Ontario. The filly is owned by Farhay Khalaf.



17 remain eligible, INCLD.1-2 FROM LASTYEAR

APOSTLE (Mr. Elias Haloute & Sir Charles Williams)
CAVAICHI (Senator Gefforey Cave & Mr. Bill Blevins & Sir Martyn Arbib)
CHARGE IT (Aysha Syndicate)
DAGA (Lord Michael Taylor)
DANCIN DAVID (Sir David Seale) (Canada)
FUSAICHI RIDGE (Aysha Syndicate)
GIOVEDI (Bill & Hayley Blevins)
GRAEME HILL (Bill & Hayley Blevins)
INDANGER (Messrs. Dan & Martin Raizman)
JOHN BRIAN (Sir David Seale)
JOEZEL (Mr. Paul Mouttet) (Trinidad)
LITTLE MAN ARRAN (Bill & Hayley Blevins)
MINGUN TEMPLE (Ms. Amanda Marshall-Way & Ms. Helen Spencer)
REWARD ME (Sir David Seale)
RING TIME (Mr. Christopher Gibbs)
SHOW ME THE MONEY (Lord Michael Taylor)
ZOOM (Mrs. Gay Smith)


Equine Guelph Report on Research: Racing Track Surfaces

A number of factors affect the performance of a racing or training surface according to the well received 34-page “Racing Surfaces White Paper” published in June this year.   This international publication is a survey of current understanding on ways to enhance track safety, and is co-authored by an esteemed panel including: Michael “Mick” Peterson, Ph.D., University of Maine, United States; Lars Roepstorff, DVM, PhD, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden; Jeffrey J. Thomason, PhD, University of Guelph, Canada; Christie Mahaffey, MPhil, University of Maine, United States; C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, Colorado State University, United States.

Though there is still much research to be done since the forming of the racing surfaces committee at the inaugural Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in 2006, this publication will benefit trainers, track superintendants and any person in charge of riding surfaces.  Details of proper maintenance of surfaces and training guidelines can be found, based on the knowledge gained from the researcher’s findings thus far.  The download is available at

Climate and maintenance are two of many factors analyzed by the researchers looking for the best possible training surface conditions to enhance safety for the horse and rider. The Racing Surfaces White Paper publication will have future applications in helping in the design of tracks, in terms of banking and cushioning properties in track surfaces not only in racing but in training as well.  U of G, Co-author Dr. Jeff Thomason notes, “Horse industry leaders, interested in creating an optimum surface to help minimize injuries in the limbs of horses, will be interested in following this research”.

Thomason is pleased to be a part of this White Paper publication. It is the most comprehensive scientific body of research on race tracks to date; yet it is just scratching the surface.  New questions have been cultivated requiring further investigation.  Thomason will continue to be involved with this collaborative research with targeted studies on the effect of racetrack characteristics on the horse-hoof-track interaction.

With so many variables in play the next steps in research are always, short very specific experiments with a narrow focus (e.g., the effect of different height toe grabs or different shoes on the same surface).  “It is only by meticulously piecing together the answers of each precise question that you begin to see the big picture” says Thomason.  Studying the influences of forces and loads and the mechanics of loading on the hoof itself is an integral part of Thomason’s research.  One method used to measure these forces is by gluing lightweight sensors to a horse’s hooves before it goes out to the training track.  These sensors have been used to record two kinds of data: strain and shock.

With so many track surface options available (including synthetic, dirt or turf), Thomason is often asked what the best option is.  The preponderance of evidence at the moment suggests the consistency of the surface is more important than the material it is made of.  A well-maintained all-weather track is desirable.  The track should be consistent around its circumference.  Three unknown topics requiring further research are:  1) the range of hardness or softness that is not dangerous to the horse.  2) How well does water need to run off a track? 3) Do track surfaces need to have different properties for the impact as opposed to the sliding?  Research proves good maintenance is an extremely important component for providing consistency and improving safety.  Of course, the track has to be well constructed to start with.  Regular maintenance includes light harrowing between races to level the hoof prints left in the ground.  Deeper harrowing, as required, provides a cushion at the top of the surface.  One superintendent reported a 30 – 40% reduction in catastrophic fractures at his track after attending a meeting of superintendents in North America and adopting the consistency maintenance program outlined in the White Paper.

Climate also plays a vital and complicated role in determining maintenance.  Thomason reminisces, “Where I grew up, in England, the climate consisted of ample rain and you heard about the going being sloppy, firm or good.  This would be a measure of how slippery or firm the track was.”

Conversely California has problems with the surface becoming too dry. Artificial surfaces were designed to give a surface that was consistent.  This has not been achieved yet.  Even artificial surfaces change their properties throughout the day when the sun comes out.

In the morning the surface becomes softer and records indicate the racing times slow down throughout the day showing a very local effect of sunny climate on the track.

Thomason spends much of his time understanding the complexity of how the hoof interacts with the ground from absorbing the shock of impact to the abrasion of grinding into the surface and how the weight of the horse is distributed.  One excerpt of the Whitepaper states:  As the soil or top layer of the turf compacts, it becomes stiffer and more resistant to further compaction, bringing the hoof to a stop (Thomason and Peterson 2008). Once the motion of the hoof has been slowed or has stopped, the weight of the horse is dynamically transferred to the hoof and then to the harder surface material beneath the hoof. This dynamic transfer of the weight of the horse to the hoof is the source of the acceleration, resulting in peak loads which may approach 2.5 times the bodyweight of the horse.

The hardness of the track influences how quickly the foot is decelerated and then the stiffness of the track when the load is being applied. This rate of deceleration controls the strain which is transferred to the leg and results in higher peak loads for stiffer surfaces. Repeated loading to the bone can cause micro fractures and the catastrophic fractures (Radin et al. 1972).  Horses and their owners stand to benefit from this research when new information is discovered regarding how to reduce the factors causing injuries on limbs.