“There is room in Ontario for horse racing, health c

By: horse-canada |


“There is room in Ontario for horse racing, health care and education. The money for it is going to change” – Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

The mini press conference at Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON at lunch time brought together media and government sorts to announce that 4 other tracks, all small harness tracks, have received funding for 3 years. That makes 6 tracks and Premier Wynne said she is “confident” that deals will be done with the other tracks.

The recommendation by Wynne that horse racing and the ONTARIO LOTTERY AND GAMING should be integrated was met with many questions but really, she was simply re-iterating what the 3-man transitional panel said last fall. That includes introducing news wagers (that have been tried and not worked) and lottery bets and/or machines where people can bet on older horse races.

Until all deals with all tracks are made for transitional funding, no numbers will be released. Theer are also no numbers on the rental agreements with the might OLG.

So, general consensus out there is that it was a fluff conference, to settle us down, keep us quiet for a bit longer.

On to the weekend’s racing! (More to come in handicapping tomorrow)


OHRIA Encouraged by Major Policy Change to Horse Industry File

With less than a month remaining before the industry’s share of revenue from the Slots at Racetracks Program ends, OHRIA ‘s continuing efforts to engage the Premier

and the government have resulted in a major policy change regarding the Horse Racing and Breeding Industry in Ontario.

 In a press-conference earlier today, Premier Kathleen Wynne, speaking in her role of Minister of Agriculture and Food, announced that the Horse Racing and Breeding Industry will be integrated into the provincial gaming strategy to ensure future revenue streams for race tracks to continue to operate racing.

 In a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Minister Wynne stated, “We continue to work with other tracks while we work with the sector on a new market-driven model that works for the industry and is good public policy.”\

Being integrated into the gaming strategy provides the industry with a chance to work with government to ensure a vibrant horse racing and breeding industry.

 “There is still a long road ahead of us,” cautioned Sue Leslie, President of OHRIA, “However we now have the opportunity to plan a more sustainable future for the horse racing and breeding industry working in partnership with the government instead of competing against the Province’s other gaming products.”

 Minister Wynne stressed that consultation with the horse racing and breeding industry, represented by OHRIA, continue with the government appointed Horse Racing Transition Panel.  “We need the process of integration to begin as soon as possible if we have any chance of future survival for the industry.” stressed Sue Leslie, stating that the OHRIA Board has conveyed the importance of action and not just words. “It is breeding season again and we must instill confidence for breeders and owners by proving that breeding and racing in Ontario is a secure investment.”

 The OHRIA Board understands that the livelihoods of many in the industry will depend on the outcome of this latest development.  “We are all hurting from the actions of this government,” commented Ms Leslie, “The lives of thousands of hard-working individuals and families have been turned upside down.  With all that this industry has been through the past year, it is understandably difficult to trust that these latest developments are going to yield the desired results.  However we view this as an important and positive step and we must continue to work with our current government to achieve a more sustainable future for our industry.”


More deals for Ontario horse racing tracks were announced today, but Fort Erie was still left waiting.

Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled horse racing contracts for Elora, Hanover, Clinton and Western Fair, bringing the total up to six tracks, including Woodbine and Mowhawk, which were previously announced.–fort-erie-announcement-to-come-monday



A year ago, John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse, Woodbine’s leading conditioner for the last several years, were heading down that ole Kentucky

Derby trail with PROSPECTIVE, winner of the TAMPA BAY DERBY. The colt’s gritty score, while not overly fast, got some of the local scribes in

Ontario excited and racing got in the papers.
Prospective was not up to the Derby 3yos, however, and thankfully, Canada  had even more fun cheering on and writing about I’LL HAVE ANOTHER with his Canadian born owner and canadian based jockey.


Meanwhile, UNCAPTURED is getting lots of buzz after 4 workouts this spring. Also a Canadian-bred, the Lion Heart colt has run his best Beyer

Figures in short races but he won at Churchill last year in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
On Wednesday he worked 5 furlongs in 59 4/5 in Ocala (although there were various times reported) and was out 6 furlongs in 1:12 2/5.

“I thought his work today was as good as a horse could work,” Casse said of the five-furlong move. “There’s been some moments

through the wintertime when I wasn’t so sure we had any chance of making the Derby. Now I’m not sure he’s not training better than ever


Saturday, Tampa Bay Downs, post time: 5:15 p.m. EST
TAMPA BAY DERBY-GII, $350,000, 3yo, 1 1/16m
1 Eton Blue Giant’s Causeway Bravo Zito 118
2 Purple Egg K Lion Heart Trujillo Cibelli 118
3 Honorable Dillon K Tapit Lanerie Kenneally 122
4 Java’s War War Pass Martinez McPeek 122
5 Dynamic Sky Sky Mesa Rosario Casse 118
6 Verrazano K More Than Ready Velazquez Pletcher 118
7 Offlee Fast Offlee Wild Santana Pellegrini 118
8 Park City Harlan’s Holiday Prado Pletcher 118
9 Falling Sky K Lion Heart Espinoza Terranova 122

and then, if you want more Casse news, he has a hatful of runners in the exhibition races at OBS on Monday before the 2yo sale:


Casse’s Spring at Last fillies highlight OBS Day of Champions

Spring comes early to Ocala as graded winners Spring in the Air and Spring Venture headline the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes as OBS holds its

24th annual Day of Champions race card on Monday.

The four races, for three-year-olds who have gone through the ring at an OBS sale, offer purses totaling $300,000 and will be streamed live via

the OBS website at Post time for the first race is 1 p.m. (EST).

Trainer Mark Casse will saddle both daughters of Spring at Last in 1 1/16-mile OBS Championship Stakes for fillies, the third race on the card.

Spring in the Air’s juvenile campaign was highlighted by her victory in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland. The bay miss was last seen running

fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies under Patrick Husbands, who also rode her in the Alcibiades and retains the mount on Monday



Saturday, Santa Anita Park, post time: 6:35 p.m. EST
SAN FELIPE S.-GII, $300,000, 3yo, 1 1/16m

1 Carving Any Given Saturday Bejarano Baffert 118
2 Flashback K Tapit Leparoux Baffert 123
3 Goldencents Into Mischief Krigger O’Neill 120
4 Kochees K Lion Heart Valdivia Pender 118
5 Hear the Ghost K Ghostzapper Nakatani Hllndrfr 118
6 Tiz a Minister Ministers Wild Cat Gomez Aguirre 118
7 Salutos Amigos Salute the Sarge Garcia Guillot 118
8 Omega Star Candy Ride (Arg) Talamo Shirreffs 118


Saturday, Tampa Bay Downs, post time: 4:45 p.m. EST
HILLSBOROUGH S.-GIII, $150,000, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/8mT
1 Last Full Measure K Empire Maker Trujillo Oliver 118
2 Audington K Eddington Marin Cole-Rivera 118
3 Mystical Star K Ghostzapper Espinoza Clement 124
4 Kya One (Fr) One Cool Cat Lopez Brown 122
5 Forces of Darkness (Ire) Lawman (Fr) Velazquez Brown 122
6 Appealing Cat Successful Appeal Centeno Motion 118
7 Old Tune (Brz) Wild Event Rosario Pletcher 124
8 Hooh Why K Cloud Hopping Allen Jr Granitz 118
9 Blue Heart K Exchange Rate Bravo Lynch 118
10 Alaura Michele Arch Serpa Romans 118
11 Stars to Shine K Tale of the Cat Lanerie Kenneally 118
12 Absolute Crackers (Ire) Giant’s Causeway Prado Motion 120


Big wins recently from Rob Smithen and Katerina Vassilieva…HAVERHILL’s score resulted in a triple-digit Beyer Figure and a lot of excitement…

charts courtesy of THOROUGHBRED DAILY NEWS...
 9th-GPX, $43,500, Alw, NW1$X, 4yo/up, 1 1/8mT,
1:47 2/5, fm.
HAMPSTEAD HEATH (g, 4, Macho Uno–Love Kiss {SW
& GSP, $217,578}, by Gone West) hit the board in
Woodbine=s Cup and Saucer S. and Coronation Futurity
at two before earning his diploma over the E.P. Taylor
course last September. Second in an allowance over the
Woodbine Poly Dec. 1, he returned to the spinach with
a third-place finish over this course Feb. 9. Backed at 3-
1 here, he saved ground while placed in a close seventh
through a half mile in :48.92. Hampstead Heath found
a seam in the stretch and rallied gamely between
horses to get the money by a half length over
stablemate Sammy Alexander (GB) (Storming Home
{GB}). Sales history: C$30,000 yrl ’10 ONTSEP.
Lifetime Record: MSP, 8-2-2-3, $171,498. Click for the chart or VIDEO.
O-Robert Smithen. B-Richard L Lister (ON). T-Brian A


6th-GPX, $43,500, Opt. Clm. ($25,000), NW1$X, 4yo/up, 6f, 1:09 4/5, ft.
HAVERHILL (g, 5, Saffir–Half a Dozen, by Saratoga Six) Lifetime Record: 23-4-6-2, $218,425. O/T-Katerina
Vassilieva. B-Spring Farm (ON). *$1,856 RNA yrl ’09 ONTSEP. **1/2 to Sextet (Singspiel {Ire}), GSP,
$193,565; Intothewilderness (Regal Classic), SP, $199,535.



Here is a list of the Ontario breds catalogued for the Ocala 2yo sale next week.  The gallop show began Thursday – the times for each 2yo’s works is included in my list:

2  10.1 Updates  Y C Kitten’s Joy Oh What a Feeling ON Eddie Woods, Agent LXXV 11
33  10.1 Updates  Y C Street Sense Rare Opportunity ON McKathan Bros., Agent III 6
70   out Updates     C Giant’s Causeway Sheer Enchantment ON Sequel Bloodstock, Inc. (Becky Thomas), Agent 11
79  10.1 Updates     F Dixie Union Sky Select ON Sequel Bloodstock, Inc. (Becky Thomas), Agent 11
88  10.4 Updates  Y C Belong to Me Staid ON Ricky Leppala, Agent I 11
134   out Updates     C Flower Alley Vaulcluse ON Niall Brennan Stables, Agent XV 8
147  10.3 Updates     C Cowboy Cal Wild and Wonderful ON Paul Sharp, Agent V 8
221    Updates   Y C Put It Back De’jade ON Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent IV 5
231    Updates   Y C Ghostzapper Dynamite Dancer ON Eddie Woods, Agent LXXV 11
255    Updates   Y F Colonel John Galadriel ON de Meric Sales, Agent I 12
279    Updates   Y F Northern Afleet Hold the Sugar ON Southern Chase Farm, Inc.\(Greg and Karen Dodd), Agent 7
324    Updates   Y C Tale of the Cat Meandering Stream ON Ricky Leppala, Agent 11
340    Updates     F Ghostzapper Morning Chatter ON Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent IV 5



Shrouded in secrecy, Nat Rea’s new Regis Farms, which has burst onto the auction scene in North America in the last year, has sent Golden

Mystery, which it just bought for a hefty sum at the Fasig Tipton Mixed sale back to her trainer Marty Wolfson.

She reportedly has been back Wolfson since about Feb. 15 or 16.

Gulfstream managed to get a report from Wolfson:

Trainer Marty Wolfson sent out Farnsworth Stables LLC’s 7-year-old mare Golden Mystery to win the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) by 3 ½

lengths going 6 ½ furlongs last out at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 10 and late the next afternoon the daughter of Awesome Again was sold at the

Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed sale for $625,000 to Regis Farms.

Wolfson had expressed his hope that the new owners would send Golden Mystery back to his barn at Calder to continue her racing career while in

such top form. He got his wish when she was returned a few days later, hitting the work tab Sunday morning with a half-mile in 49 4/5.

“She got back a few days after the sales,” said Wolfson. “She only missed training for about five days which is how much time I gave her after

the Sunshine Millions before the Hurricane Bertie. She’ll run in the Inside Information and the new owners have talked about the Humana Distaff

at Churchill, although nothing beyond that. Both of those races are at seven-eighths, which she loves.”

The $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) will be run here on Sunday March 17 and the $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs to be run

on Kentucky Derby Day May 4, both at seven furlongs, also the distance of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on

Nov. 2.

Canada to Host 43 Graded Events…

The Jockey Club of Canada has conducted its annual review of the country=s graded stakes and have
announced that 43 races will carry graded status in 2013, up from 42 a year ago. The newest addition is
the Maple Leaf S., at one time a Grade III affair, which was downgraded to listed status in 2007. Woodbine in
Toronto will play host to the lion=s share of graded stakes, five of which are Grade I tests, including the
GI Pattison Canadian International S. and GI Ricoh Woodbine Mile, both key preps for the GI Breeders= Cup
Turf and GI Breeders= Cup Mile, respectively. The Jockey Club of Canada Graded Stakes Committee
evaluates and reviews the Graded Stakes in Canada annually and determines whether races should be
upgraded, downgraded or remain the same. The Committee base their decisions on the cumulative
NARC ratings for the previous years along with the new Race Quality Score (RQS) figures introduced this year
by the North American International Catalogue Standards Committee (NAICSC). Graded stakes in
Canada must carry the following minimum purses: $250,000 for Grade I; $150,000 for Grade II and
$100,000 for Grade III.




Dufferin Park Racetrack was a bullring – a half-mile oval located in the heart of the city. When it closed, a rich slice of Toronto

culture disappeared. The track was bargain basement, lying appropriately between Honest Ed’s and Bad Boy’s, easily accessible by street cars and

buses, bringing in all ways the Sport of Kings to the hoi polloi of the racing scene.  The property and racing dates were owned by a great character, Fred Orpen. Dufferin Park opened and closed the Ontario racing season,operating before and after many of the bluer bloodlines chose the more prestigious and warmer venues and generous purses in Florida.

No event that I remember better epitomized the raison d’etre of Orpen’s Dufferin Park than the spectacular farewell to Youville. It rivalled and surpassed the final appearances of Spectacular Bid and Northern Dancer. Youville, by any standards, extended his racing career into advanced equine old age; a veritable teenager. But his swansong was finally unavoidable and a suitable send-off, before his thousands of fans who identified with him for years and had come to claim the horse as their own, called for Fred Orpen’s uncommon common touch.

Two factors were to be considered in planning for the hoped for successful last appearance by Youville at Dufferin Park. First, by this time more so than ever, Youville  did nor possess thoroughbred speed. Rather, he could cover relatively long distances at an even pace, and secondly, his lifetime earning accumulated during his long campaign for minor purses was now within reach of $50,000.

 Fred Orpen put his racing secretary to work to write a race with conditions and weight allowances so specific than no other horse on the grounds would be likely to win, and to establish a purse to the winner which would bring Youville’s lifetime earnings to $50,000 to the penny. The race was to be the Valedictory Handicap and was to be run, with great fanfare, as the last race on the last day of the racing season.

In keeping with the special considerations, the racing secretary decided on a race of two and one sixteenth miles. Not only would that favour the one-pace Youville over any other horse than stringent conditions had not made ineligible or under a prohibitive impost, but would give maximum exposure to the fan-packed grandstand and the large overflow into the infield since it would mean that the horses would pass the grandstand five times in the course of the race.

Another concern had to be that the efforts to ensure the hoped for result (without actually fixing the outcome) would not leave all eligible competition back in the barn, unwilling to provide a token supporting cast to a foregone conclusion. However, whether out of respect for Youville, Fred Orpen or Youville’s owner/trainer Bill Russell, who was such a year round fixture at the track he was widely known as “The Mayor of Dufferin Park”, or because it was getaway day and the last chance of the year to pick up even a lesser share of the better than average purse before the long wait to the next payday in the following spring, the race filled.

Everything went as hoped. Youville trailed as expected through the early fractions but gradually overhauled the entire field of tiring horses without increasing his own steady pace, to carry the familiar black and red stripped silks past the post in front. He provided a packed house with the unforgettable experience they had come for, and thousands of mementoes as many mutual tickets had been bought on Youville’s nose but far fewer were cashed.

Youville retired in style, lifetime earnings an even fifty grand.


MINE THAT BIRD coming to live the Kentucky Derby Museum