Some awesome races this weekend at Woodbine as we head into WOODBINE OAKS week! (race is June 3)…older horses on the sked this weekend but there is a 3yo race for Queen’s Plate hopefuls on Sunday…

PENDER HARBOUR, by Dave Landry



Just over a week to the WOODBINE OAKS, the first big event on the local racing calendar and this weekend there are 2 super stakes events for older horses.
The GRADE 3 ECLIPSE is tomorrow at 1 1/16 miles and it has attracted a very strong field of top older horses including one shipper, MISTER MARTI GRAS.
Sunday is the Grade 2 CONNAUGHT CUP, with shipper MUTUAL TRUST taking on STORMY LORD and others.

The ECLIPSE is named after the great racehorse, foaled in 1764. He is considered the first truly great racehorse. The grandson of the Darley Arabian, Eclipse did  not race until he was a 5yo and he was never beaten in 18 races. The famous saying “Eclipse first, the rest nowehere” was spoken by Irish gambler Colonel Dennis O’Kelly.

In the stud, Eclipse was the sire of 3 English Derby winners and his blood exists in many of the great racehorses of all time.

Are there stallion prospects in this year’s running of the Eclipse? Too early to say but the race has lured some super horses.

Champion 3yo of last year, PENDER HARBOUR is in the field but he has not raced this year. Sovereign finalist JAMES STREET, a graded stakes winner last year, is also in the field, one of 2 for owner Eugene Melnyk, is also making his season debut as is CITY WOLF and STUNNING STAG, both graded stakes winners last year.

Younger colt HOTHERSAL is highly regarded and is the other Melnyk runner and this will be his first stakes test. And the talented 5yo horse HUNTERS BAY also gets his first stakes attempt.
The field is simply loaded and if you pick the winner, kudos to you!

CITY WOLF, one of 2 Stronach Stable runners in the Eclipse tomorrow

Terence Dulay/




California Horse Racing Board penalizes trainer Doug O’Neill
By Bill Dwyre / Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — The bizarre and complicated world of thoroughbred blood testing and sanctions reached the mainstream Thursday, when the California Horse Racing Board penalized the trainer who has won the first two legs of the sport’s Triple Crown.

The seven-person, governor-appointed board, ruling on a case that has been argued and litigated since the summer of 2010, suspended Doug O’Neill for 45 days and fined him $15,000. The penalty actually carried an additional 135 days of suspension, but that will be voided if there are no further findings involving O’Neill in the next 18 months.

O’Neill will not be subject to any penalties until July 1, which is significant because I’ll Have Another, who he has trained, will attempt to complete racing’s first successful Triple Crown in 34 years when he runs in the Belmont Stakes June 9







Woodbine trainer MARK CASSE will try to upend the Triple Crown bid of I’LL HAVE ANOTHER with STEALCASE…

Horse Trainer Dosage Jockey

Alpha    Kiaran McLaughlin     1.67      Ramon Dominguez
Atigun    Ken McPeek     2.33      undecided
Dullahan    Dale Romans     4.20      Javier Castellano
Five Sixteen    Dominick Schettino     2.33      undecided
Guyana Star Dweej    Doodnauth Shivmangal     3.00      undecided
I’ll Have Another    Doug O’Neill     2.11      Mario Gutierrez
Optimizer    D. Wayne Lukas     3.24      Corey Nakatani
Paynter    Bob Baffert     2.50      Mike Smith
Rousing Sermon    Jerry Hollendorfer     2.60 *    undecided
Stealcase    Mark Casse     3.67      Sean Bridgmohan
Street Life    Chad Brown     3.00      Jose Lezcano
Union Rags    Michael Matz     2.14 *    John Velazquez
Unstoppable U    Ken McPeek     3.00      Junior Alvarado



Turcotte says Belmont is ‘an easy ride’

By Tom Wolski, The Province May 25, 2012 3:02 AM

Chances are if you were asked to name two jockeys who recently won a Kentucky Derby, aside from Mario Gutierrez, you would likely be stumped.

In truth, all winning a Kentucky Derby gets a jockey is a healthy paycheque. If this wasn’t true, the following names would easily come to your mind: Chavez, Espinoza, Desormeaux, Antley and Santos.

Who are they? Winning jockeys from recent Kentucky Derby races.

Instead, if a jockey wants to be remembered he must be on top of a Triple Crown winner.

It’s a rare feat accomplished by only 11 horses and jockeys between 1919 and 1978.

Yet despite the huge gap in years, the names of Triple Crown winners generally remain etched in the minds of all sports fans.

Read more:


By Gary Mason
Spellbound by a fast horse

Maybe horse racing isn’t what it used to be, but one thing about the sport will never change – the public’s fascination with those rare and beautiful animals that have a chance to win the Triple Crown.

We are obsessed again, this time with a horse that has Canadian connections – not that it is critical to our interest in the matter. I’ll Have Another has a Canadian-born owner and a jockey who honed his craft on Canada’s West Coast, but while that has heightened awareness north of the 49th in the chestnut colt’s unlikely quest to claim one of the world’s most coveted titles, we would have been spellbound anyway.

from The Star Phoenix

Season opens as uncertain future looms

By Kevin Mitchell, The StarPhoenix May 25, 2012 3:03 AM

Saskatoon’s thoroughbred racing future remains unclear, but we do know this: The 2012 season at Marquis Downs starts today, and runs all summer.

The track’s long-term future is uncertain after the provincial government eliminated, effective 2013, the $1.1 million subsidy it provides Marquis Downs each year.

Officials at Marquis Downs say they’ll survive if the government eliminates the 10 per cent parimutuel tax it levies on every wager – a total that cost the track $855,000 last year.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual.

“We’re pretty much status-quo this year,” says Rick Fior, the track’s manager of racing. “Everybody’s attitude is we run 30 days, and we’re focused on these 30 days. If you talk to the horsemen, they’d be concerned. But as far as us putting the races together … I’m sure that somewhere down the road, something can hopefully be worked out and racing will continue.”

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