FRIDAY MORNING NEWS…Assiniboia Downs fight, HANA rates Canadian tracks (ouch), Canadians looking to turn things around as KEENELAND OPENS…and more!!


FRIDAY MORNING SMILE – MEET ‘BEAR’, Josie Carroll’s pony at Keeneland…Wendy Wooley video/photos


Spring is here! Well, almost, the winter that never ends in Ontario may be finally coming to an end, but get ready for a lot of rain.
meanwhile, who won’t be glued to the TV today to watch KEENELAND’S opening day of racing – it’s the place to be! (I stole that line from our late friend The King)

The TRANSYLVANIA STAKES – Grade 3 – is loaded with Canadian power and they will need it. UP WITH THE BIRDS is a leading contender for the Queen’s Plate but could be vulnerable off his debut win in 2013. STAR CONTENDER has been entered and scratched a few times since a dreadful 2013 debut and PYRITE MOUNTAIN is promising but has to run faster off his good 2013 opener.

The 2yo’s will be out early in the card and the 7 to 5 entry from trainer Wes Ward looks strong. How about one of them – TOMEI, who races for owner Joe Pesci?!

The promising CANADIAN-BRED 3YO gelding TORMENTIA FIERA is also in action on the grass in a maiden race. The son of Perfect Soul (Ire), bred by Charles Fipke, races for A & L Racing and is the first starter this year for trainer Mike Doyle.
He is a 4 to 1 contender in the race.


First up, how about that allowance race, race 4, at 1 1/8 miles on the grass? Woodbine Mile winner TURALLURE comes off almost a 2 year layoff and meets Sovereign Award nominee FORTE DEI MARMI, trained by Roger Attfield.
P.S. – there is no speed in the race so if HOWE GREAT is EVER gonna win, it will be in race 4 today at Keeneland!

Race 5 – a 3yo allowance. Let’s see how COUNTY LINEMAN does with 1st time Lasix – the Ginger Punch Racing Stable colt by Silent Name (jpn) was bombed 38 lengths in his season debut at Gulfstream by the very good Narvaeuz (who dead-heated). Bred by Gail Wood, the colt is back on Polytrack, at 7 furlongs and trainer Mark Frostad has hired Luis Contreras, who is trying his hand at Keeneland after a stint at Gulf.
Also in the race is John Oxley’s $475,000 baby CONQUESTOR, who ran a 72 Beyer in his win in the OBS Sprint under Gary Boulanger, who rides on this day.

Both colts are in tough.

In race 6 – CHECKERED PAST makes her 2nd career start for Sam-Son Farms, which is poised to have a huge year. The Smart Strike filly was 3rd in her debut on the dirt at Fair Grounds and is on the grass now for trainer Malcolm Pierce.
Attfield trainee TANZSPIEL (Ire) has a chance from the rail for Harlequin Ranches.

As for the ASHLAND, Grade 1, the Canadian-bred fillies NIPISSING (12 to 1) and SPRING IN THE AIR (8 to 1) are part of a deep field of 3yo fillies. The forner is just getting her 3yo campaign started and this is as good a starting place as any. She is unbeaten, so who knows how good she is, although looking at the field, it is a tough test for her and longtime Woodbine veteran Steve Bahen who will get the mount.
SPRING IN THE AIR won the Alcibiades on this track last year and could be the best 3yo in the John Oxley stable. She rates a look.


Dust-up over Assiniboia Downs raises alarming questions

By: Deveryn Ross

BRANDON — After having poured almost $200 million into Assiniboia Downs over the past two decades, Manitoba’s taxpayers have been presented with a stark choice — continue to fork over almost $10 million annually, or face the prospect of the property being sold to a group the provincial government fears is intent on building an aboriginal-owned casino on the property.

The Manitoba Jockey Club, the corporation that owns and operates the Downs, has applied to the Court of Queen’s Bench for an order directing the Selinger government to continue the funding agreements the club has with the province and the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation until new arrangements can be finalized. Those agreements provide the jockey club with $9.5 million annually.

According to documents filed in court by the club, Finance Minister Stan Struthers told club officials in February the funding would be cut by at least $5 million in this year’s provincial budget, and the government planned to eventually remove the 140 VLTs now at the track.



There are a limited number of tickets still available for the Sovereign Awards at Woodbine Race Track Apr. 19. The cocktail-attire celebration will begin at 6 p.m. and will include a champagne reception, buffetstyle dinner and presentation of the Sovereign Award
trophies for 2012.
Tickets are $250 each (or $2500 for a table of 10) and can be reserved by contacting The Jockey Club of Canada at 416-675-7756 or



2013 HANA Racetrack Ratings

The Horseplayers Association of North America has released their annual Racetrack Ratings.  In 2013, for the fifth consecutive year, no track could displace Keeneland as the number one rated racetrack in North America.

“The rating algorithm indicates betting value, and at Keeneland this is exemplified perfectly,” said HANA President Jeff Platt. “With no takeout rate on any bet higher than 19%, a large field size of 9.45 horses per race, and a race office cognizant of carding interesting, bettable races for customers, Keeneland came out on top once again.”
The HANA Racetrack Ratings are based on an algorithm designed by HANA Board member Bill Weaver, a retired engineer. Using studies and empirical data which are directly correlated to horseplayer value and handle growth, key factors including takeout rate, field size, wager variety, pool size and signal distribution are weighted. A composite score is then tabulated, and the 67 racetracks are ranked.

CANADIAN RACETRACKS fared poorly, with Hastings 29th, Woodbine 41st and Fort Erie and Assininboia completing the dog-xactor in the 67 track field.

top 10

Churchill Downs
Tampa Bay Downs
Kentucky Downs
Sam Houston



THOROUGHBLOG will offer some plays tomorrow!


Saturday, Aqueduct, post time: 6:28 p.m. EDT
WOOD MEMORIAL S.-GI, $1,000,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m
1 Chrisandthecapper K First Samurai Lezcano Servis 123
2 Normandy Invasion K Tapit Castellano Brown 123
3 Quinzieme Monarque Rock Hard Ten Ortiz Jr Albertrani 123
4 Elnaawi K Street Sense Castro McLaughlin 123
5 Vyjack Into Mischief Rosario Rodriguez 123
6 Mr Palmer Pulpit Alvarado Mott 123
7 Always in a Tiz Tiznow Borel Schettino 123
8 Verrazano K More Than Ready Velazquez Pletcher 123
9 Go Get the Basil Andromda’s Hero Ortiz Violette Jr 123
10 Freedom Child Malibu Moon Trujillo Albertrani 123

SANTA ANITA DERBY-GI, $750,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m
1 Flashback K Tapit Gomez Baffert 122
2 SCRATCHED  Hear the Ghost K Ghostzapper Nakatani Hollndrfr 122
3 Power Broker K Pulpit Bejarano Baffert 122
4 Tiz a Minister Ministers Wild Cat Talamo Aguirre 122
5 Goldencents Into Mischief Krigger O’Neill 122
6 Super Ninety Nine K Pulpit Garcia Baffert 122
7 Summer Exclusive Exclusive Quality Mldnado Miller 122
8 Storm Fighter Stormin Fever Stevens Headley 122
9 Dirty Swagg Street Hero Baze Cho 122

Saturday, Keeneland, post time: 5:13 p.m. EDT

CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND S.-GI, $500,000, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m (AWT)
1 Tuttipaesi (Ire) Clodovil (Ire) Garcia Motion 121
2 Nipissing Niigon Bahen Halden 121
3 Private Ensign A.P. Indy Lanerie Romans 121
4 Spring Venture Spring at Last Mena Casse 121
5 Broken Spell K Broken Vow Rocco Jr Lukas 121
6 Redressthebalance (Ire) Ramonti (Fr) Castanon O’Neill 121
7 Kitten’s Point Kitten’s Joy Prado Motion 121
8 Kitten’s Dumplings Kitten’s Joy Bridgmohan Maker 121
9 Allanah K Scat Daddy Arroyo Jr Gorder 121
10 Every Way City Zip Graham Stidham 121
11 Spring in the Air Spring at Last Husbands Casse 121
12 Wave Theory K Smart Strike Leparoux Brown 121
13 Emollient Empire Maker Smith Mott 121
14 Magical Moon K Malibu Moon Napravnik Stall Jr 121
Also Eligible
15 Adriani K Medaglia d’Oro Rosario Fawkes 121
16 Cash Is Queen Unbridled’s Song Albarado Lyster 121

Saturday, Santa Anita Park, post time: 6:00 p.m. EDT
POTRERO GRANDE S.-GII, $150,000, 4yo/up, 6.5f

1 Italian Rules Tribal Rule Krigger Spawr 118
2 Comma to the Top Bwana Charlie Mldnado Miller 120
3 Camp Victory Forest Camp Bejarano Mitchell 120
4 Second City Distorted Humor Gutierrez Cecil 118
5 Haverhill Saffir Talamo Miller 118
6 Unbridled’s Note K Unbridled’s Song Nakatani Asmussen 118
7 Apriority Grand Slam Garcia Baffert 118
8 Jimmy Creed K Distorted Humor Gomez Mandella 123

BAY SHORE S.-GIII, $250,000, 3yo, 7f
1 Clawback Put It Back Ortiz Jr Violette Jr 120
2 Maleeh K Indian Charlie Castro McLaughlin 120
3 Retreive Put It Back Alvarado Englehart 116
4 Salutos Amigos Salute the Sarge Velazquez Guillot 116
5 Declan’s Warrior Majestic Warrior Lezcano Zito 116
6 Honorable Dillon K Tapit Rosario Kenneally 123
7 Silver Morgan K J Be K Arroyo Preciado 116
8 Clearly Now K Horse Greeley Castellano Lynch 123
9 The Truth and K G K Successful Appeal Velasquez Rodriguez 120




Dixie Blossom breezed an eighth of a mile in :9.4 – the fastest time of the day at that distance – to highlight Thursday’s Preview Show works, held in advance of Keeneland’s April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. The April Sale is scheduled for Monday, April 8, at 4 p.m. ET.

Dixie Blossom is a filly by Dixie Union out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Blossom, and is from the family of Canadian champion Hero’s Love. She is consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, agent.
CANADIAN-BRED filly SCARLET BEGONIAS, by Unbirdled’s Song – Van Lear Rose by Stroll, worked one furlong in 10 2/5 at the gallop show yesterday at Keeneland over what appeared to be a loose, cuppy Polytrack.
The filly is the first foal of 2yo champ Van Lear Rose.

And a light grey 2yo colt with blinkers by Tapit from Canadian champ GINGER GOLD worked 2 furlongs in 22 3/5 on the wrong lead. The colt is the 4th foal of the mare.

(Keeneland photo)