HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY BIRTHDAY HORSES!!
and all the best for 2013!
It’s the CHINESE YEAR OF THE SNAKE – yours truly’s year!!
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MOMENT OF 2012?
From FRANKEL to BLACK CAVIAR to CAMELOT to I’LL HAVE ANOTHER to WISE DAN – these were the big names in horse racing outside of Canada this past year.
There sure were a lot of reasons to get up early in the morning, or stay up late, and watch races from elsewhere with the mighty Frankel winning everytime he went to the post. Same with BLACK CAVIAR
‘down under’, she was the iron mare in sprints.
Don’t forget RAPID REDUX, who set a record for 22 straight wins by a North American horse and then was retired. The gritty claiming horse was a fann favourite worldwide.
In Canadian racing, we had many special moments. Let’s try some of our favourite moments/horses chronologically:
PROSPECTIVE and DIXIE STRIKE, from the Mark Casse barn, got things really going for Canadian fans when they won stakes races in the south in the winter. The former headed to the Kentucky Derby, but
had a rough trip and was unplaced. He still managed to be a super 3yo, a blue collar guy if you will, as he won 5 stakes, raced at 8 different tracks and took races like the Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) and
Ohio Derby (Grade 3).
The Malibu Moon colt, soon to be 4, last raced in November when he won the Delta Mile and he had a workout in Ocala on Dec. 24.
Since he did not race 3 times in Canada, he was not eligible for a Sovereign award but he certainly would have been a contender for Horse of the Year.
PROSPECTIVE, by Cindy Pierson Dulay
DIXIE STRIKE, plucked from our very own yearling sale from the consignment of the now defunct Arosa Farms for $45,000, started the year off with a bang when she won the Florida Oaks on the grass at
Tampa Bay Downs in January. Trained by Casse for Oxley, the Dixie Union gal, a half sister to Inglorious, was also a hard worker all season. She was 5th in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland, then won the
Grade 3 Selene at Woodbine before bombing in the Woodbine Oaks at 4 to 5.
She bounced back with a super 3rd in the Queen’s Plate and then hit her peak with a win in the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie over the boys.
She is a millionaire now and is a contender for champion 3yo filly.
In the winter, I got to visit the famed WINDFIELDS FARM in Oshawa, now just a shell of its former self and surrounded by construction of houses and a sports complex. The farm’s buildings are crumbling
and most will likely be torn down but it was interesting to go into many of the barns and houses and see what was left behind. The vet clinics and offices still had lots of books and some trophies, health records of great horses and other items.
My favourite photo was of the feed cart, full of feed, poised outside an open stall door, appearing as if people up and left when the farm was vacated.
The property is owned by a group including the Durham College.
The gravesites outside the stallion barn have been kept up and the stallion barn has been cleaned up and restored so perhaps we will see an attraction/museum there one day soon.
Windfields Farm today – by Elizabeth Ross
The night before the Woodbine season began, the champions of 2011 were honoured at the fun and lavish SOVEREIGN AWARDS ceremony and dinner. NEVER RETREAT, an American mare who was a top grass mare, was Horse of the Year. I was lucky enough to win the Sovereign for best Feature story for GLORIFICATION, a story on Inglorious in CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED MAGAZINE. That category
no longer exists for this year’s awards as all writing, newspaper, feature, web, are all lumped together.
Kudos to newbies Janis Maine and Ericka Rusnak who were nominated for photos!
Champion 2yo colt of 2011 MARITIMER was sold for big, big money at this time to Ramzan Kadryov. Owner/breeder Howard Walton made off like a bandit in the deal as the colt has raced twice since then
and done little.
I took trips to concerts by JANN ARDEN and MADONNA which spiced up the winter and then the American 3yo set started heating up. When Canadian J Paul Reddam’s chestnut colt I’LL HAVE ANOTHER (Flower Alley) won the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita little did we know…
One of the best Canadian breds of 2012 was TAYLOR SAID, who posted a 104 Beyer Speed Figure when he won the John Longden Stakes in May at Hastings Park. It was one of the highest Beyers of any
Canadian-bred of the year. He won 6 of 7 races on the year, 5 stakes, including the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. He has since been sold to Dubai. Taylor Said was owned by Glenn Todd and Patrick Kinsella’s
Northern American Thoroughbred Horse Company and that pair were Sovereign Award winners.
OH YES, NORTH AMERICAN WON 17 STAKES RACES THIS YEAR!
DIXIE STRIKE, Michael Burns Photography
It was a big year for BRITISH COLUMBIA for sure. I’LL HAVE ANOTHER‘s Derby and Preakness win put the spotlight on his young rider, MARIO GUTIERREZ, a leading jock at Hastings who wintered in
California and then got the mount on the top colt.
Meanwhile, in Ontario, the 3yo set was all a mess once Stronach Stables’ RIVER RUSH upset the Plate Trial with a stunning rally as a maiden.
The son of Orientate was no match,however, for the speedy STRAIT OF DOVER (English Channel), owned and bred by Wally and Terri Leong of Kelowana, BC, who went 3 for 3 on the year with his Plate
score. It was Danny Vella’s 2nd Plate win as a trainer.
The colt was later injured and did not race again.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER roars to Derby glory
(he’s second from right) Cindy Pierson Dulay)
THOROUGHBLOG, along with hundreds and hundreds of press people from all over the world, travelled to Belmont Park for the 3rd jewel of the Triple Crown in early June. I’ll Have Another looked like he was on the verge of winning the series and the excitement was almost unbearable.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER put racing on the front pages of the papers everywhere, gave some life to our great sport.
It is hard to forget the moment I walked into the press office the morning before the big race, however, and saw long faces. The colt was about to be scratched having injured himself.
Before long, he was off to Japan.
Hey, it was a great race anyways as UNION RAGS rallied late to beat PAYNTER, the latter being one of the most incredible stories of 2012 in American racing. Paynter got so ill this last summer and fall
that at times, it did not look like he would live. Now the colt is headed back to training.
IRISH MISSION did a lot for her ticket as top 3yo filly in Canada when she won the Breeders’ Stakes, the 3rd jewl of Canada’s Triple crown. The Woodbine Oaks winner, a gangly, slow learner, came around
nicely for Robert Evans and trainer Mark Frostad and was 2nd in the Plate. After a flop in the ‘Wales, she took the Breeders’ for her 3rd win of the year.
In early summer, we saw the emergence of HUNTERS BAY as one of the top older runners in the land. He won 2 straight graded stakes races and then was 2nd in the WOODBINE MILE, his finale race of the
The Ghostzapper horse, owned by Stronach Stables and trained by Reade Baker is a top candidate for Horse of the Year.
Speaking of the Woodbine Mile, it was super cool to get the top US horse WISE DAN to Toronto. He did not disappoint and later parlayed that score into a Breeders’ Cup Mile win. He could be the HORSE OF THE YEAR in the US.
The Canadian International attracted a very International field and it was JOSHUA TREE and the personable Frankie Dettori that took the race. It was the 2nd win for the horse in the race and it was a feel-good story.
Other stories of the year:
SHELLEY BROWN won the trainer’s title at Assiniboia Downs to become the first woman to take that title .
JULIE ROBILLARD did the same at Fort Erie, tying with ROSS ARMATA for the leading trainer title by wins.
FORT ERIE.. what can you say, there have been groups that have banded together to save it but can it combat the latest disaster of slots being pulled?
A timeline for the Fort…
June 16, 1897: Fort Erie Race Track opens
Sept. 9, 1999: Ontario government installs slot machines at Fort Erie to attract more people to racing
Jan. 1, 2010: Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, new non-profit organization, takes control of track after deal reached with owner Nordic Gaming and government
March 12, 2012: Government decides to end Slots-at-Racetracks program in 2013
April 30, 2012: Government closes slots facility at Fort Erie
June 5, 2012: Consortium votes to close track on Dec. 31
Oct. 29, 2012: Last day of racing at Fort Erie
Dec. 31, 2012: Track scheduled to close.
MARK CASSE (and John Oxley) – you could say it was an embarassment of riches for the Casse stable which unleashed one nice 2yo after another during the year. The fillies SPRING IN THE AIR (Grade 1) and SPRING VENTURE won graded stakes, the colts DYNAMIC SKY, STAR CONTENDER and UNCAPTURED were boss too.
The latter won the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs and will be the Canadian 2yo champion, perhaps HORSE OF THE YEAR in Canada.
Better yet, he’s Canadian-bred.
BILL GRAHAM - his WINDHAVEN bred stakes winners like UNCAPTURED, STAR CONTENDER and RIVER SEVEN, 3 of the best 2yos in the land. He also bred the unbeaten 2yo in Alberta, BOSCO.
JOYFUL VICTORY was a top older mare in the US and his own winners included Henny Heart and Peyton.
MARKETING MIX, bred in ONtario by Sean Fitzhenry, can’t win a Sovereign Award but she won a Grade 1 in the US and was the best Canadian bred of the year for sure. The Medaglia D’Oro mare was a top
3yo filly in Canada and was a nominee for a Sovereign Award.
CHIEFSWOOD STABLE - The farm was on a roll with tons of winners and nice prospects until it lost its prized stallion NIIGON, who dies at Colebrook Farms. The farm won stakes with his foals such as
NIPISSING and HEATHCOTE.
HUNTERS BAY, should get most of the votes for HORSE OF THE YEAR in Canada when Sovereign voting completes in just over a week.
DANNY VELLA – won the Plate, had a strong season as did trainers READE BAKER, MIKE DOYLE and NICK GONZALEZ, and BARB MINSHALL just to name a few.
ROXY GAP – this sprinting gal won 3 graded stakes races thi year – can’t say that about too many horses in any year, and she is a top contender for champion female sprinter.
MAGIC BROOMSTICK – flew in for Sam-Son and Malcolm Pierce in the fall off a one year layoff, won 3 stakes at 2 different distances on 2 different surfaces.
On the rider’s front - JESSE CAMPBELL, EMMA-JAYNE WILSON, EURICO SA SILVA and STEVE BAHEN had strong season behind leaders LUIS CONTRERAS and PATRICK HUSBANDS.
There were so many more memorable racing days, trips and events that it would be hard to put them all down as we near 2013.
What was yours?
A favourite horse in Japan – MARSHMELLOW!
ISHIDA KAZUKI photo
It is business as usual for many Woodbine trainers south of the border as many have been quite busy not just with training but with racing.
NICK GONZALEZ and his team won another race at Gulfstream, this time on Dec., 30 with the old timer SAFETY ZONE, who turns 9 today. This durable guy won for $25,000 claiming and was thankfully not claimed. He raced in the Barbados Gold Cup a few years ago!
Monster CANADIAN-BRED from BC – TAYLOR SAID
BC OWNERS WIN WITH SON OF WAVERING GIRL
Yep, you read that right. GLENCO KID, co=owned by the North American Thoroughbred Company Inc. of Glenn Todd and others, won the Lost in the Fog Stakes at Turf Paradise yesterday. The 2yo son of
Repent is out of WAVERING GIRL (born in 1987) who was 23 when she foaled this guy.
GLENCO KID won the ASCOT GRADUATION STAKES at Hastings Park in the fall.
chart from THOROUGHBRED DAILY NEWS:
LOST IN THE FOG JUVENILE S., $35,000, TUP, 12-29,
2yo, 6 1/2f, 1:16 4/5, ft.
1–GLENCO KID, 122, c, 2, Repent–Wavering Girl (Ch. 2yo Filly-Can, MSW & GSP, $314,084), by Wavering
Monarch. ($27,000 yrl ’11 FTKOCT). O-Mark Dedomenico & North American Thoroughbred Racing
Comp Inc; B-Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC (KY); T-Sandi Gann; J-Richard Harvey Hamel. $20,398.
Lifetime Record: 6-3-0-0, $94,730. *1/2 to Military (Danzig), GISW, $462,716.
2–Hazardous, 119, g, 2, Candy Ride (Arg)–Malley Girl, by Malek (Chi). O-Vegas Racing Team LLC. $6,580.
3–Red Zeus, 119, c, 2, Red Sky’s–Crimson Cricket, by Crimson Slew. ($7,000 RNA yrl ’11 ARZOCT). O-Dick
& Peggy Hopwood. $3,290.
Margins: HF, NK, 3/4. Odds: 4.80, 1.80,
BARBADOS JOCKEYS MAY GET DEAL WITH CANADA
FROM WEEKEND NATION/NATION NEWS
By Randy Bennett | Fri, December 28, 2012 – 12:13 AM
A potential agreement between the Canadian and Barbados governments could see more of this country’s top jockeys earning big bucks on the North American circuit.
Patrick Husbands, one of Barbados’ most accomplished jockeys, who now plies his trade at Woodbine – Canada’s most prestigious race track, told WEEKENDSPORT in an interview yesterday, that the
Canadian government had contacted him on the issue.
Speaking while on holiday in Barbados, Husbands revealed that the proposal by Canada would see Barbadian jockeys and those associated with the sport being allowed to travel and work there without the
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Barbados, and I am really hoping that everything can be arranged early in the new year,” an obviously excited Husbands revealed.
Please read the full story in WEEKEND NATION, or in the eNATION edition.
HORSE-RACES.NET YEAR IN REVIEW
Highlights and extensive lists and links on those we lost in 2012: