NEVER RETREAT – the most accomplished racehorse to run 3 times at Woodbine in 2011 – $850,000 in earnings and looking for more – she is likely Canada’s HORSE OF THE YEAR

EquiSport photo





The penultimate Wednesday card of racing was held last night at Woodbine on a bone-chiling evening and it’s useful to note some of the trends if you want to try and conquer the last few racing days of the season at the windows.

The smaller stables will be more prominent because A)- the bigger stables have been dispersing B) the smaller stables are now dropping their horses in after perhaps running them too high all season.

You will also notice that as it’s the end of the season, some of the tactics in races are quite curious. Horses being dragged off slow pace fractions or horses sent too hard early – sometimes the instructions don’t work, sometimes you wonder if there is just not a lot of paying attention going on.

Last evening kicked off with a very preedictable winner, MAKAR (Best of the Bests-Ire) won his maiden under apprentice Jeff Alderson for owner/trainer Laurie Silvera. The gelding led throughout the 5 furlong, maiden $15K claiming event.

RACE 2 marked the second win in less than a week for folks who are just Duckiy – Suzanne and Tim Drake, who traina dn co-own KINNABARI, who ralied from way off the pace at just 5 furlongs to reel in the 4 to 5 shot CLOSING SCENE in the $10,000 claimig race. The favourite was sent hard to battle longshot Gin Queen early in the race, put that one away but certainly had no chance of hanging on (although it was pretty darn close).
Kinnabari, bred by Sue Leslie and Sedgefield Farm, is by Devil His Due and is also pwned by Pollard, Yu and McLean.

APRES MIDI was another predictable winner, race 3 for $40K claiming older horses. The son of Take of the Cat is owned by Steven Chircio and Joe Petrella and he paid $5.20.

The pick 4 started off with a contentious $20,000 claiming race as almost all of the entrants were coming off strong efforts. The race started weird, though, as Tycoon Doby sped out to a 14 length lead and went 46 3/5 for half a mile in the 1 1/16 mile race. No doubt this poor guy folded badly and the closers came. The winner, for the 3rd time in succession, was MACALLAN, an El Prado gelding owned by Stephen Gilmouir and Stephen Johnson and trained by Alec Fehr. Justin Stein rode the gelding who was claimed for $10,000 in May and he has made over $70,000.
The time for 1 1/16 miles was not far off the track record – Macallan won in 1:43.95 (record is 1:42.22)

Brereton Jones’ ANNELLE won her maiden for $20,00 claiming for 2yo fillies in her 2nd race of her career. The fille rallied from far back and was extremely wide on the turn for home but she bested the 3 other favourites to win in 1:11.68. She is a homebred by Stevie Wonderboy and she was trained by Reade Baker (Carmen Attard claimed the filly).

MILWAUKEE MIXER was long gone in race 6, a $9,500 claiing race for older fellows and he stopped the clock in 1:10 for the Ninela and Trinty Stables and trainer Abraham Katryan.

WHAT! WHAT SAY YOU finally won her maiden for Kingfield Farms, she did it last night on the turn-back from a route to a 6 1/2 furlong race. The Tomahawk gal was well known all season for her 2nds, 3rds and 4ths – last time out she was beaten by a filly whose jockey almost fell off. Anyway, she got it done under Patrick Husbands for trainer Catherine Day Phillips.

The best came in the last, however, as there was a mad pace duel in a lowly $10,000 maiden claiming race at 7 furlongs. Four horses battled up front including NON SEQUITUR, who had a late jockey change to TOMMY WONG (no whip), broke badly, threw his head and then rushed up.
Also in the battle, 4 wide was BORRACHITO, who was 4th in his latest at this level but a fellow who had spent most of the year at Fort Erie.
The chestnut gelding, by the way, had NEVER shown speed in his career (13 races) but there he was, battling 4 wide and he never let anyone pass while his rider, apprentice Jennifer Reid, never moved the whip at any point.
The Da Stoops gelding, bred in Illinois, was 70 to 1 for the queen of all bombs, Analisa Delmas and her dad’s Fieldstone Farms.





She has FIVE graded stakes wins , yep, FIVE, including a Grade 1.
Yes all have been on the grass but this monster gal, her name is NEVER RETREAT and she started winning graded stakes races this year in March:

MARCH 5 – 1st Grade 3 Honey Fox Gulfstream 97 Beyer
APRIL 16  – 1st Grade 2 Jenny Wiley Keeneland  97 Beyer
WOODBINE JUNE 4 – 2nd Nassau – Grade 2 91
WOODBINE JULE 10 1st Dance Smartly – Grade 2 97 Beyer

WOODBINE Sept 18 1ST Canadian Stakes 90 Beyer
OCT 8 1st First Lady – Grade 1 101 Beyer

And the SMART STRIKE  6YO MARE out of a STEADY GROWTH mare is going for more TOMORROW on Saturday in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park. She’s competeing against the budding Canadian -bred star ALL STAR HEART, owned by Ontario’s Gerry Gibbs.

With 3 races at Woodbine, she is eligible for Sovereign awards and she should be a cinch to win HORSE OF THE YEAR and champion turf female.

Matriarch S.
November 25, $250,000, 3yo & up, f&m, 1M, Hollywood Park, 4:37 PM PT
Post    Horse    Sire    Weight    Jockey    Trainer
1    Unbridled Humor 4, f.    Distorted Humor    123    Ramon Dominguez    H. Motion
2    Summer Soiree 3, f.    War Front    120    Gabriel Saez    H. Motion
3    Quiet Oasis (IRE) 3, f.    Oasis Dream (GB)    120    Luis Medina    Ben Cecil
4    Madera Castana (CHI) 4, f.    Indy Dancer    123    Hector Berrios    Ruben Cardenas
5    Gypsy’s Warning (SAF) 6, m.    Mogok    123    Joel Rosario    H. Motion
6    All Star Heart 4, f.    Arch    123    Brice Blanc    Ronald McAnally
7    Star Billing 3, f.    Dynaformer    120    Victor Espinoza    John Shirreffs
8    Never Retreat 6, m.    Smart Strike    123    Julien Leparoux    Chris Block
9    Up In Time (GB) 3, f.    Noverre    120    Martin Garcia    Simon Callaghan


TORONTO, November 23 – Court Vision, the 2010 Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and 2011 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile champion, who will stand at Michael Byrne’s Park Stud in Ontario in 2012, will be paraded in the Woodbine walking ring on Saturday, at noon, as part of a retirement ceremony for the future stallion.

Not only will the event offer fans one final chance to applaud Court Vision as he retires from racing, there will also be an opportunity to win a horseshoe worn by him in the Breeders’ Cup victory framed with a photo of his dramatic Breeders’ Cup win, signed by jockey Robby Albarado and trainer Dale Romans.

A limited number of Court Vision hats will also be available as part of the promotion and registered breeders can enter a draw to win a 2012 live foal season.

Court Vision, who was purchased by Spendthrift Farms in August and moved to Romans barn, was last of 13 at the half under a patient ride by Albarado in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but came flying through the stretch and held off a late charge from 2011 Woodbine Mile winner Turallure to win by a nose.  Court Vision, sent to post at odds of 64-1, combined
with Turallure for a unique, and lucrative, ‘Woodbine Mile exactor’ that paid $1,979.60.

Romans believes Court Vision is an ideal stallion.

“People should know that this is the type of horse who can right the ship a little bit in the soundness of racehorses,” said Romans. “When you get a horse that’s raced as long as he has, he can put his soundness and durability back into his foals.”

The handsome dark bay son of Gulch-Weekend Storm retired with a record of nine wins, four seconds and four thirds from 31 lifetime starts and a bankroll in excess of $3.7-Million.

The retirement ceremony will commence at noon in advance of Saturday’s 10-race card which features the $125,000 Kingarvie Stakes.  First-race post time is 1 p.m.

Ramsammy returns for racing big day

ACE Trinidad and Tobago rider Emile Ramsammy will be back home to be honoured at the gala banquet of the Caribbean Racing Promotions Limited, who will stage the inaugural Caribbean Nations Racing Challenge at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, on December 3.

The most successful local jockey now based at Woodbine, Canada, is a two- time winner of the prestigious Sovereign Award after twice being crowned champion local jockey.

Earlier, Ramsammy had indicated he would be unable to attend the banquet, but has since been able to make himself available.

The gala banquet on December 2 at the Casablanca Room, Fiesta Plaza, Movietowne will precede the big horse racing spectacular, a 10-race programme which is being described as the biggest in history.

A total of US$650,000 will be at stake in the 10 races with the joint feature being a US$100,000 race over 1800 metres the West Indian-bred Stayers Challenge Trophy, and another purse of US$100,000 in the Imported Stayers Challenge Trophy over 1800 metres.,151155.html