The day has finally come, the last day of the 2012 Woodbine meeting. This is the latest the season has ever ended but it is expected to be ( degrees Celcius today (about 50 Fahrenheit).

Go out and enjoy great racing, give your friends and co-workers hugs and wish them all the best for the holidays and the winter.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays!





Woodbine by Norm Files


VALEDICTORY – Woodbine ends 2012 season

It will be a slightly more emotional last day of racing for the horse racing industry today at Woodbine. 13 races will be held from 1 until 7 on a mild, rainy day, appropriate since there is are grey clouds over the province’s horse people and horses.
No dates for next year to this point – unheard of.

Woodbine does not have to apply for dates yet since it needs to wait to see what kind of cash flow it will have to conduct a race meeting.
Negotiations are on-going as we speak about rental agreements for the slot machines, that will be one source of income. Betting on races will be another but, of course, live racing will not have started yet. Then, OMAFRA will be presented with figures and determine what amount will be available to racetracks, and how many tracks will divide up this money.

Sue Leslie, head of OHRIA and the HBPA, emphasizes that every group and individual involved in the negotiations are working literally 24/7, ‘as needed’ to get deals worked out.
“Audits of track books are going on as we speak,” said Leslie. “We need to prove the economic worth of our industry. We are in a better position now than we were in April when we were dealing with an ill-informed government.”

The provincial government, in a state of flux and essentially without a leader currently, is in a mess and Leslie said that her groups and WEG, CTHS and others are meeting with all party reps to make sure each one knows the important of the horse racing industry byt the time a new leader arrives in the new year.

There is no question there will be unemployment, from the backstretch to the front side. How can a track run a business with so many employees from food to TV, pay them all winter long, when it’s going to need every cent just to get things going.  The Breeders were the first to take a hit when the cancellation of SARP was announced in the spring. Don Drummond report, which outlined some ways the province could lessen its debt, noted the money that racing received from slots, some #345 million. However, the most important aspect of the SARP is that $1.1 billion is made ANNUALLY by the province, an amount that will be lost to Ontario. How does one wipe out such an industry that provdes so much?

With breeders cutting back or getting out of the business, eventually the horse population will drop. Some trainers have already intimated they will have less horses for 2013, some don’t even know when, or if, they will return to Woodbine.

“I don’t know if we can sustain the wagering levels we have had in recent years,” said Leslie. “We need a long term solution to keep Woodbine on the international stage where it has been for years.”

Let’s hope for the best and thank you to OHRIA, CTHS, HBPA and WEG, among others for fighting the battle.


There are plenty of betting opportunities for fans today as big fields for most of the 13 races offer some interesting handicapping puzzles. The annual 1 7/8 mile starter allowance is on the card as is the popular VALEDICTORY STAKES, a Grade 3 event at 1 3/4 miles.
PEYTON, who won the prep, goes for Bill Graham, whose WINDHAVEN has to be considered Breeder of the Year in Canada based on the litany of super runners he bred that races in 2012.
The pick from THOROUGHBLOG is GET A GRIP, who began his career overseas years ago, and is essentially a high claiming type. But this guy was under such a strangehold and in a fight with his rider in the prep, and still finished 2nd, if he gets any kind of trip today, he should win.
Bill Mott trainee IMPERIAL PIPPIN, a mare, is also a contender and SO LONG GEORGE, with 4 wins this year, is a longshot pick.

Inaugurated as the Valedictory Handicap in 1952 at the Dufferin Park Racetrack, it was moved to the new Woodbine Racetrack for the 1956 running where it remained through 1960. From 1991 through 1993, the race was hosted by Greenwood Raceway; thereafter, the race returned to Woodbine were it remains.

Always a longer distance race on dirt, over the years it has been contested at a variety of distances:

1952 : 1⅝ miles
1954–1955 : 1⅜ miles
1956–present : 1¾ miles

There was no race run in 1953 and the regularly scheduled race on December 7, 2008 had to be canceled due to extreme cold weather forced.

The Valedictory was upgraded to grade III status in 2011.

Also today, GENTLEMAN JACKSON can be the winningest horse at Woodbine if he wins for the 6th time in 2012 in an allwoance/optional claimer today. Also in the race ar 4-time winners RUN TO THE BANK and CONSOLIDATOR JOE.

Sunday, Woodbine, post time: 5:56 p.m. EST
VALEDICTORY S.-GIII, $150,000, 3yo/up, 1 3/4m (AWT)

1 Quaesitor Friends Lake Stein Howard 3-1
2 Attendant K More Than Ready Bridgmohan Frostad 12-1
3 Th Original Scotty Mr. Scotty Ramsammy England 20-1
4 Heathcote Niigon Wilson Attard 10-1
5 Political Fever K Political Force Campbell Mattine 20-1
6 Peyton K Tale of the Cat Contreras Doyle 2-1
7 So Long George K Arch Da Silva Chrlmbus 8-1
8 Get a Grip (Ire) Royal Applause (GB) Moran Attard 6-1
9 Imperial Pippin Empire Maker Moreno Mott 4-1


The track is very, very slow and perhaps that has helped for a lot of wild and fun finishes.
Race 1 was a ding dong battle to the wire with Ontario bred FREUD’S VALE winning his maiden for $20K for Ivan Dalos and trainer Nick Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who starts just one horse today, will race in Florida this winter. His barn, run by Martha Gonzalez and a how bunch of super workers, is among the top stables in Canada. Nick himself stables at Fort Erie and that track’s future is in the air currently.

Race 2 was the 4th win this year for TAPIT’S BREW, a cool dude who races for Heritage Hill Farm and trainer Scott Fairlie. The 6yo is 11 for 31 in his career and he was winning for $20,000 claiming.

Race 3- The red-hot Canadian sire SILENT NAME (JPN) had a lovely debut winner is the much-hyped SILENT ADMIRIER, who was a fat 7 to 2 to win a maiden allowance for Ontario sired guys. He ralleid 4 wide under Wilson under a hold and won easily for Ghostzapper Racing, one of the syndicates of the Horse Racing League, developed by Frank stronach.
Stronach was on hand to buy the colt last year at the local sale from Paradox Farm for $38,000.

Race 4-, a 2yo allowance at 1 1/16 miles went to Ontario bred PAPAMIENTO, a gelding by Sightseeing out of Lanilica by Langfuhr, bred by Bill Bonchoff. The gelding has 2 wins and 2 close 2nds in his 4 races for Ron Braley and trainer Ralph Biamonte.

Race 5- Trainer Danny Vella has had a solid year, heck he won the Queen’s Plate. He also won on Saturday with his own PLAYING FOR FUN, who is 2 for 7 this year and took a $16K claimer yesterday with a stretch rally.

Race 6- SECOND ACT blew by the field late and won her maiden for $23,500 for Anderson Farms Ont. Inc. and partner and trainer Mark Frostad. Luis Contreras, the leading rider, was on board the Strut the Stage filly, who was bred by Frostad.

race 7 was an Ontario sired allowance and Kevin Beswick’s homebred WAKEBOARDER came back from a 10th place finish 13 days ago to win on the turn-back from 9 furlongs to 7 furlongs. Norm Mcknight trains the Bold Executive 3yo who is 2 for 11 this year.

Race 8 – HURRICANE LORRAINE has given some nice prize money to Tequesta Racing and trainer Alison Crook in the last 3 weeks. She has won twice and took this allowance race for non-winners of 3 on the turn-back from a route to 7 furlongs. She is a 3 time winner, earner of over $100,000 and she is by Weather Warning, bred by James Mann.

Race 9 – Diane Smullen’s homebred BILBY RHODE won his maiden easily for $11,500 as one of four winners for jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson. The North Light gelding was the first winner for trainer Pat Dixon.

Nice training job by Ron Sadler to have LYNNESSA ready to win a maiden allowance off a 2 month break for owner/breeder Phil Lanning. The Old Forester 3yo had shown plenty of promise in her first 3 races and she took the 10th with a wide rally.
The final race of the day was a $10K claiming race for non-winners of 2 won by Bear Stables’ BEAR HOLIDAY TWO, a homebred who is 2 for 11 this year. He was taken over by Carla Christoffersen in the summer when the 3yo went to Fort Erie to win his maiden for $7,500.



A final reminder, take care of your horses after the season ends, know where they are going.

THOROUGHBLOG recently updated everyone in the last post about the thoroughbreds recently bailed out from an Ottawa pen. Many had raced in November at Woodbine. The photos below are of E Z IRISH (by Easing Along) , who was vanned off from a Woodbine race in August. She has a serious leg injury and was likely headed for slaughter. This winning gal is now safe.

The photos were provided by Transition Thoroughbreds are were taken in Ottawa. Auctions are not the answer, that is cruelty. There are alternatives even if it means a few hundreds extra dollars. Respect these beautiful creatures, we bred them and put them o this earth to race for us, show them some dignity.

 Happy Days for E Z Irish….(Michael Burns photo)

and these days for E Z Irish: