The race to destiny is drawing near… I’LL HAVE ANOTHER and the Belmont coming up Saturday






The wild and fun ride that was racing at Woodbine on Sunday was highlighted by  2 big stakes events won by horses who will be in action again in 3 weeks in the Queen’s Plate.
IRISH MISSION, a very tall, leggy filly owned by American Robert S. Evans and trained by Woodbine’s own Mark Frostad, won the WOODBINE OAKS and took down $300,00 in purse money. She was a $375,000 purchase 2 years ago at the Fasig Tipon summer yearling sale from the consignment of Sam-Son Farms.
Frostad, of course, trained for Sam-Son from 1994 until this year.

Irish Mission had a beautiful, very simple trip behind Black Bird Rock, who set a slow pace on Polytrack that was quite fast. Never more than 2 lengths off the pace under Alex Solis, Irish Mission surged to the lead in the stretch and held off charges by Dixie Strike, Awesome Fire and finally, Northern Passion.

Solis only recently joined the Woodbine jockey colony and can only ride for Americans. Last year, Luis ontreras won the Oaks and Plate having only joined the Woodbine colony a year earlier.

Evans, whose father and brother are prominent names in the thoroughbred business, has recently moved into the Canadian-bred scene and has raced good ones at Woodbine such as Marsh Side (Canadian International – Grade 1, etc) and Akronism.
The latter has a Canadian bred Malibu Moon offspring at the track currently with Frostad.

It was certainly a very satisfying win for Evans and his racing manager Patrick Lawley Wakelin, who picked out the filly from the yearling sale.

IRISH MISSION (far right) holds off her rivals including a very awkward Dixie Strike (second from right) to win the Oaks). Cindy Pierson Dulay/ photo




The filly’s dam, Misty Mission, is a crooked legged gal from the family of Hangin Round (dam of Rainbow Connection etc.). who has been a super producer. Her first foal is graded stakes winner French Beret and she also had the talented but delicate Cross Every Bridge.
Sam-Son Farm manager Dave Whitford reports that the farm as a 2yo full brother to Irish Mission, was barren to A.P. Indy in 2011 and has an Unbridled’s Song filly by her side and is in foal to Smart Strike. The farm also has an older filly by Dynaformer out of Misty Mission who was just retired.

Robert Evans (yellow tie) celebrates the Oaks win as does an elated Mark Frostad (far right). Cindy Pierson Dulay photo



Wakelin said after the Oaks that the Plate was very likely for the filly. Her time for 9 furlongs of 1:50.50 was almost 2 full seconds slower than the Plate Trial and yielded her a 73 Beyer Figure, the third straight time she has posted that number.


RIVER RUSH, modestly bred, races for a big stable and now is a Queen’s Plate contender.
Norm Files photo




It was the Plate Trial that knocked the socks off everyone, however. The maiden colt RIVER RUSH, unsold at auction for $20,000, came from last place, zipped around the rail under Jim McAleney and took off to win by more than5 lengths in a track record 1:49.98. Okay, so the track was sizzling fast, but the victory was stirring nonetheless. The Stronach Stables homebred posted an 89 Beyer in his 3rd career race.
He was a fat 21 to 1 but those who saw his previous maiden run, one of the most troubled trips of the season, would have given him a second glance, at least toss him in tri bets.

The Trial  was a very fast race from start to finish and INCREDICAT ran furiously throughout the event and ran bravely to be 2nd. His interests told Thoroughblog that the Plate was out of the question, citing the longer distance of the classic.

RIVER RUSH was rested nicely after his troubled maiden run behind the impressive Awesome Overture (who has since been injured) but no maiden race could be found for the colt so he was a last minute toss in.

He had a short time where he had to wait with his move nearing the quarter-pole but then had all kinds of room to charge through the stretch. His 89 Beyer was explosive and certainly he will have to avoid a big bounce in the Plate in 3 weeks time.

The colt has a bit of a skimpy pedigree too, all the more fascinating. He is by ORIENTATE, a Gainesway stallion who has a $7,500 fee this season and a useful stud who tends to sire long distance horses and grass horses, even if he was a sprinter. He is the sire of Kara’s Orientation among others. He has Northern and Southern Hemisphere runners and is popular in Australia.

The mare, SWEET TART, was a $50,000 yearling purchase by Stronach. She only raced once – 3rd in a maiden allowance at Calder for trainer Brian Lynch.

A foal of 2005, Sweet Tart was bred first to Orientate, producing River Rush. She has a 2yo by Milwaukee Brew called MILLENNIUM BREW.

The mare has since long left the Adena Springs fold – she was sold for $15,000 in 2010, January at Keeneland, in foal to ‘Brew. Then she was sold by those owners, Millennium Farm, for $20,000 in foal to Zanjero for $20,000 to Strouds Lane Farm in Ocala, Florida.

She has a yearling by ZANJERO and a foal by BERNSTEIN.

RIVER RUSH is one of 15 contenders for the Plate. BIG CREEK continues to run strange races for trainer Todd Pletcher. He stalked the hot pace, stalled on the turn and was heavily ridden, but then he came on again for 3rd. It was his first race with blinkers.

CLASSIC BRYCE runs well but does not appear to have any finishing run and perhaps is not happy at the distances being this long.

BEEKER STREET took a surprising amount of attention for the race despite his sprint pedigree, but he had trouble with the trip.



dk b/.c.3 by Indian Charlie(In Excess (IRE)) – Major Idea(Cherokee Run)
Green Hills Farm Inc. Todd A. Pletcher

ch.g.3 by Pulpit(A.P. Indy) – Mahalo(Gulch)
Earle I. Mack LLC Josie Carroll

dk b/.c.3 by Grand Slam(Gone West) – Classic Stamp(Regal Classic)
William Sorokolit Darwin D. Banach

b.c.3 by Northern Afleet(Afleet) – Colleen’s Scorpion(Scorpion)
Terra Di Sienna Stables Roger L. Attfield

ch.c.3 by Distorted Humor(Forty Niner) – Indian Vale(A.P. Indy)
Melnyk Racing Stable Inc. Mark E. Casse
gr/ro.f.3 by Hard Spun(Danzig) – Like a Gem(Tactical Cat)
Hillsbrook Farms Gail Cox
ch.c.3 by Discreet Cat(Forestry) – Lady Auchamore(Meadowlake)
Kinghaven Farms, Hat Trick Stable, J. Fielding, B. Hutzel & H.B. Horner Ian Black
ch.f.3 by Giant’s Causeway(Storm Cat) – Misty Mission(Miswaki)
Robert S. Evans Mark R. Frostad
b.c.3 by Shakespeare(Theatrical (IRE)) – Moonlet Masquerade(Woodman)
William C. Schettine Lisa L. Lewis
b.c.3 by Repent(Louis Quatorze) – Primary Motive(Prime Timber)
Quintessential Racing Florida LLC, Horse’nAround Racing Stable & R. Lederman Mark E. Casse
dk b/.g.3 by Forest Danger(Forestry) – Romantic Tryst(Woodman)
Conor M. Healy Ralph J. Biamonte
dk b/.g.3 by Tale of the Cat(Storm Cat) – Emanating(Cox’s Ridge)
Windhaven Michael J. Doyle
b.c.3 by Orientate(Mt. Livermore) – Sweet Tart(Lemon Drop Kid)
Stronach Stables Reade Baker
dk b/.c.3 by English Channel(Smart Strike) – Bahrain Star(Danzig)
Canyon Farms Daniel J. Vella
ch.g.3 by Dance to Destiny(Mr. Prospector) – One On Tap(Pleasant Tap)
Brenda K. Selwyn-Waxman Michael Keogh






THOROUGHBLOG is off to the Belmont with hopefully a working computer in tow. While updates from the track close to post time for the big race are unlikely (figure to be lost in a sea of fans), keep following here on Friday and Saturday for news!



WEATHER – so far, mostly sunny and 75 degrees F
UNION WOES – not good news so far, no starting gate crew for Belmont? eeks:



One last crown to go for popular jockey

By Gord Goble, Surrey Now  

On June 9, Canadian-owned “I’ll Have Another,” ridden by jockey Mario Gutierrez and already victorious at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, seeks to become just the 12th horse in history – and the first since Affirmed, way back in 1978 – to accomplish what is widely regarded as the greatest feat in the thoroughbred racing world.

It’s called the Triple Crown, and a win next Saturday assures both horse and rider of immortality.

So why was Gutierrez sitting in a South Surrey restaurant last Thursday evening, just nine days before his date with destiny? Turns out his connection with B.C., and particularly South Surrey, runs deep.

“Mario and I go back to 2006,” said Glen Todd, himself a fixture on B.C. horse racing scene.

It was then, according to the man now seen as Gutierrez’ mentor, that “another Vancouver horse trainer spotted him riding in Mexico City.”

Gutierrez emigrated to Vancouver later that year and Todd took him under his wing.

Read more:



Fort Erie Race Track in the final turn: Impending closure will dominate annual general meeting today


FORT ERIE – It’s no longer a question of if the Fort Erie Race Track will close.

It’s just a matter of when the 115-year-old border oval – home to the second jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing and the town’s largest employer – will cease to exist.

On Tuesday, the board of directors of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium will meet for the not-for-profit group’s annual general meeting.


Black Caviar hits the road with new duds

Australia: Black Caviar, who leaves Australia bound for Britain on Wednesday, will wear a lycra compression suit during her arduous 30-plus hour journey.

On the eve of her departure, the champion mare on Tuesday morning appeared for her farewell media call at her Melbourne stable decked out in a slinky, clinging lycra number with her racing name on one shoulder and her stable name, Nelly, on the other.





Life of a jockey starts with being right size, having a huge heart

For award-winning Hastings rider Pacheco, knowing what a horse can do and pushing to win each time out are keys to success

By Yvonne Zacharias, Vancouver Sun June 5,

The first thing you notice about Hastings jockey Ryan Pacheco is how tiny he is.

He stands a hair under five feet and weighs in at 106 pounds.

With all eyes on Mexican-born jockey Mario Gutierrez as he makes a run for the Triple Crown this Saturday in the Belmont Stakes, there is some curiosity as to how one goes about entering one of the most dare-devil professions in sports.

Pacheco’s stature goes a long way toward answering the question.

“It’s all about the weight,” said the Toronto native. “If you can do the weight, then you can become a jockey.”

At around the age of 18, Pacheco started hanging around Toronto’s Woodbine racetrack and betting on horses. He wasn’t too knowledgeable but he was lucky. “I kind of played it on my gut and on the names of the horses more than anything.”

Read more: