BREAKING NEWS – It took him almost a year to go through some 350 complaints from people like yours truly and others and then Ontario Ombudsman ANDRE MARIN will not investigate the cancellation of SARP


Happy Tuesday – WISE DAN worked 6 fur. in 1:13 this morning at Keeneland, can’t wait to see him race again..his stablemate, TURALLURE (yes those are the last 2 Woodbine Mile winners.worked today in 1:00,,today’s news on the looking cancellation of SARP and more



WILL TAKE CHARGE, with the big white face, edges OXBOW in the Rebel – Steve Queen photo




Ontario racing industry urged to attend next Thursday, 3 days out from end of SARP

T-minus 12 days until the end of the powerful slots-at-racetrack program that began in the year 2000.

I remember the launch of the Woodbine slots, the media reception and the excitement in the air as so many of us took in the lights and sounds and incredible decor of the slots floors 13 years ago. Some of us were so giddy that when we won some coins, we ran around telling everyone (LOL).

I still have the plastic buckets they gave out that day to carry our tokens.

Thus began 13 years of some fun times for Ontario horse racing, so much money for purses, an embarrassment of riches as it turned out to be I guess.  Who really knows what the province of Ontario was thinking, folks like DON DRUMMOND who recommended the cancellation of the program to begin with and another double D, DWIGHT DUNKIN


“That, in the opinion of this House, the government should delay the implementation of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s transformation of gaming strategy until after the 2014 Ontario Municipal Elections in order to allow those municipalities who wish to undertake a referendum on the issue of being a host site for a casino in a cost effective way on the Municipal ballot, the opportunity to do so; and that the government should establish a panel composed of representatives of all three parties, tasked with hearing from stakeholders and drafting fair spending limits for parties taking part in the referendum on casinos;

and that the government should freeze any changes to the Slots at the Racetrack partnership in order to enable the horseracing industry to continue to operate while the government engages the industry in a robust consultation with the goal of ensuring its survival, stability and growth; and that current funds from unclaimed purses due to racetrack closures should be made available to local or community race tracks.”










FORT ERIE – A motion being put forward in the Ontario Legislature by the NDP aimed at slowing the planned expansion of casino gambling and restoring slots funding for race tracks won’t help save Fort Erie’s historic border oval.

But there are attractive aspects of the proposal, which if adopted would delay implementation of the OLG’s “modenization” plan till after the next municipal elections in 2014, says Niagara Falls Liberal MPP Kim Craitor.


HIS RACE TO WIN, 2nd in 3yo debut

He remains a maiden but the Sam-Son farms colt closed strongly after a bit of trouble in his return to racing on Sunday at Fair Grounds. The colt, who ran well behind stablemate UP WITH THE BIRDS last year in the Coronation Futurity, is out of Fleet of Foot, a Gone West mare.
His Beyer Figure was a top 75.

GOLDEN MYSTERY, making her first start for the new REGIS FARMS of Nat Rea, of King, ON, faded to be last as the odds-on favourite in the Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream on Sunday. The mare reportedly hit her head very hard coming out of the gate. She had been bought for $625,000 at the Fasig-Tipton sale in February and stayed with trainer Marty Wolfson after making the trip north.



Despite laying off more than one hundred people, there is hardly any change in the stakes schedule for the first half of the 2013 Woodbine racing season. There is about only $300,000 missing from the list of stakes races that go from April to the July 7 Plate.
It is assumed by this corner that the second half will be released not only when the transition funding is actually received by the track but also when the fate of FORT ERIE is determined. The Prince of Wales would have to be worked into the Woodbine calendar 4-5 weeks after the Plate should Fort Erie not open.

Thirty-seven added-money events, with purses ranging from $125,000 to $1 million, are planned through July 7.

The 154th edition of the Queen’s Plate, first jewel in Canada ‘s Triple Crown of Racing, will carry a guaranteed purse of $1 million.  The 1 1/4-mile event is set for Sunday, July 7.  It will be carried nationwide on CBC.

Four other stakes, including three graded turf races, are also scheduled on the Queen’s Plate program. The Grade 2, $200,000 Highlander Stakes, the Grade 2, $200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes and the Grade 3, $150,000 Singspiel Stakes will add grass flavour to the Plate card.  The Clarendon Stakes, at $150,000, also earns billing that day.

“We release this 12-week calendar with guaranteed purses to provide confidence for horsemen as they plan their racing season,” said Steve Koch, WEG’s Vice-President of Thoroughbred Racing.  “We will release a full year stakes schedule after the industry has finalized funding projections.”

The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, first leg in Canada ‘s Triple Tiara of Racing, is scheduled for Sunday, June 9.  Also slated is the $150,000 Plate Trial, the country’s top prep race for the Queen’s Plate.  Both races will also be carried on CBC.
The $150,000 Star Shoot Stakes kicks off the stakes calendar when the 133-date Woodbine meet launches on Saturday, April 20.

2013 Stakes Schedule (through July 7)
$150,000 STAR SHOOT STAKES – Saturday, April 20
$150,000 WOODSTOCK STAKES – Sunday, April 21
$150,000 JACQUES CARTIER STAKES – Saturday, April 27
$150,000 WHIMSICAL STAKES – Sunday, April 28 (Gr.3)

$150,000 FURY STAKES* – Saturday, May 4
$150,000 QUEENSTON STAKES* – Saturday, May 11
$200,000 ECLIPSE STAKES – Sunday, May 12 (Gr.2)
$125,000 BALLADE STAKES** – Saturday, May 18
$150,000 SELENE STAKES – Sunday, May 19 (Gr.3)
$125,000 NEW PROVIDENCE STAKES** – Monday, May 20
125,000 LADY ANGELA STAKES** – Saturday, May 25
200,000 NASSAU STAKES – Saturday, May 25 (Gr.2, Turf)
150,000 MARINE STAKES – Saturday, May 26
$200,000 CONNAUGHT CUP STAKES – Saturday, May 26 (Gr.2, Turf)

150,000 HENDRIE STAKES – Saturday, June 1 (Gr.3)
$150,000 VIGIL STAKES – Sunday, June 2 (Gr. 3)
$125,000 BOLD RUCKUS STAKES** – Saturday, June 8 (Turf)
$125,000 TRILLIUM STAKES – Saturday, June 8
$500,000 WOODBINE OAKS STAKES, presented by Budweiser*** – Sunday, June 9
$150,000 PLATE TRIAL STAKES*** – Sunday, June 9
$125,000 ALYWOW STAKES – Sunday, June 9 (Turf)
$125,000 ZADRACARTA STAKES* – Saturday, June 15 (Turf)
$125,000 STEADY GROWTH STAKES** – Saturday, June 15
$150,000 VICTORIA PARK STAKES – Sunday, June 16
$150,000 VICTORIA STAKES – Saturday, June 22
$200,000 KING EDWARD STAKES – Sunday, June 23 (Gr.2, Turf)
$150,000 ACHIEVEMENT STAKES* – Saturday, June 29
$250,000 BISON CITY STAKES*** – Sunday, June 30

$150,000 DOMINION DAY STAKES – Monday, July 1 (Gr.3)
$150,000 MY DEAR STAKES – Saturday, July 6
$125,000 SWEET BRIAR TOO STAKES – Saturday, July 6
$125,000 CHARLIE BARLEY STAKES – Saturday, July 6 (Turf)
$1,000,000 QUEEN’S PLATE STAKES*** – Sunday, July 7
$200,000 HIGHLANDER STAKES – Sunday, July 7 (Gr.2, Turf)
$150,000 SINGSPIEL STAKES Sunday, July 7 (Gr.3, Turf)
$150,000 CLARENDON STAKES* – Sunday, July 7
$200,000 DANCE SMARTLY STAKES – Sunday, July 7 (Gr.2, Turf)

*starters must be foaled in Ontario

**starters must be sired by Ontario-based stallions

***starters must be foaled in Canada




FLORENCE, Ky., March 18, 2013 – At last count, the list of hopefuls for Saturday’s $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park stood at 16. With Kentucky Derby qualifying points on the line, the 12 starters will be determined by earnings in graded stakes, then by earnings in stakes, and finally by career earnings.

Breather Has Mac the Man Rested and Ready

Mac the Man is safely among the dozen who can make the Spiral gate, standing third with two stakes wins, both coming in Turfway preps. Trained by Jeff Greenhill, Mac the Man won the Turfway Prevue at 6 1/2 furlongs in January and the 96ROCK Stakes at a mile in February. But after reviewing the colt’s seven starts, Greenhill decided to sit out the third prep, the John Battaglia Memorial on March 2, and train up to the Spiral. Daily training has kept the stable’s star fit for the 1 1/8-mile Spiral.

“The Battaglia would have been four races in two-and-a-half months, so that would have made the Spiral five races in about three months. I wanted to give him a little break. We breezed him twice since the 96ROCK. The second breeze, last Friday, he went in company. The other horse broke off in front and then Mac the Man caught him about the eighth pole and drew off. The other horse was trying to win, but I told the rider, ‘If your horse beats Mac the Man, just keep on riding.’

“That was his last breeze before the Spiral, but he gallops a mile and a half and jogs a mile every day, so he’s fit and ready.”

Mac the Man went five furlongs in 1:02.40 for the breeze on Friday at Turfway, second fastest of 11 at the distance.

Norberto Arroyo Jr., top rider for the holiday meet and currently the winter/spring meet leader, was aboard for Mac the Man’s last three races—all wins—and will have the mount on Saturday.

Greenhill trains Mac the Man for his wife, Sherri Greenhill. The colt is stabled at Turfway.

Deep Bench Gives McPeek a Go-To Spiral Starter

Trainer Kenny McPeek always figured to have a strong hand for Saturday’s $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes. He still does, though his Spiral representative has changed during the course of the past couple of weeks.

Frac Daddy was originally slated to contest the Spiral, but the Kentucky Jockey Club runner-up has been battling an ulcer, so McPeek will reroute the son of Scat Daddy to the Florida Derby to give him an extra week to recuperate. The McPeek barn has a more than adequate substitute, though, in Taken by the Storm, an allowance winner on the grass last out at Gulfstream Park March 9. Taken by the Storm has already won at the Spiral distance of 1 1/8 miles, taking a maiden special on the Keeneland grass Oct. 27. He also was first in an Oct. 7 maiden special over Keeneland’s Polytrack but was disqualified to second.

“Frac Daddy’s slight ulcer that we’re dealing with is 90 percent there, but it’s not all the way there, so we made the decision to wait the extra week,” said McPeek. “Taken by the Storm is coming off a nice win, and it is fortuitous that we can bring him back quickly for the Spiral.”

Alan Garcia, winner of the 2011 Spiral aboard Animal Kingdom, will have the riding assignment on Taken by the Storm. Garcia rode Taken by the Storm for the first time in the March 9 allowance tally at Gulfstream.

Taken by the Storm is 11th on the probables list with $73,385 in earnings.

McPeek also intends to run Pure Fun in the Fathead Bourbonette Oaks (G3) on the Spiral undercard. Both McPeek horses will fly to Lexington Thursday and stable at Keeneland before vanning to Turfway Saturday morning.

Dutrow Hopes Maturity Makes the Difference for Giant Finish

While Mac the Man skipped the Battaglia Memorial on March 2, Giant Finish made his first foray into open company in that race. The New York-bred son of Frost Giant rewarded trainer Tony Dutrow’s confidence with a strong second-place finish despite breaking from the far outside in the 11-horse field and dealing with a rapid early pace.

“I was very happy and a little surprised that he ran so well in the Battaglia given that he is still so mentally immature,” said Dutrow. “He’s a young horse. He’s learning and improving. I don’t know what we’re going to see on Saturday. I’m thinking we will see better horses in against him. I’m just anxious to see if he’ll improve.”

Dutrow’s confidence is buoyed by his experience to date with offspring of the young sire Frost Giant.

“I have a handful of them,” he said. “Some have performed well as 2-year-olds, but it’s always been my opinion that they’re going to be better as 3-year-olds.”

The Southern California-based Victor Espinoza will ride Giant Finish for the first time on Saturday.

Giant Finish currently stands 10th on the Spiral Stakes list by virtue of career earnings of $81,900. Stabled at Keeneland, he will van to Turfway on the morning of the Spiral and be saddled by Mark Hubley, a longtime friend of Dutrow’s from their days competing against each other at Delaware Park.

Battaglia Winner General Election Proven on Polytrack and Dirt

Trainer Kellyn Gorder believed that two sub-par performances at Fair Grounds did not tell the truth about General Election, and the colt proved him right in the Battaglia Memorial, closing to win by half a length over Giant Finish and For Greater Glory, both also on track for the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes.

“He didn’t like the surface at Fair Grounds, but he’s already won on dirt, and he’s already won at Churchill. He broke his maiden at Churchill, and he trained there last summer. And then he won the Battaglia on the Polytrack,” said Gorder. “He came out of the Battaglia in really good shape. We gave him an easy breeze Saturday at Keeneland (four furlongs in :51.80), and we’re looking forward to the race on Saturday.”

Gorder believes as well in his jockey, Albin Jimenez, who was aboard for the Battaglia and will be back up Saturday. Jimenez is currently second in the Turfway standings behind Norberto Arroyo Jr.

“Albin rode the horse really well,” said Gorder. “He’s an up-and-coming rider. I was telling someone the other day, this is a kid you’re going to hear about in the future.”

Turfway Park stakes coordinator Tia Murphy has the Spiral hopefuls list in order of preference as follows:

Uncaptured (trainer Mark Casse); Balance the Books (Chad Brown); Mac the Man (Greenhill); General Election (Gorder); Capo Bastone (Todd Pletcher); Fear the Kitten (Mike Maker); Channel Isle (D. Wayne Lukas); My Name is Michael (Bill Mott); Black Onyx (Kelly Breen); Giant Finish (Dutrow); Taken by the Storm (McPeek); and For Greater Glory (Steve Hobby). Needing defections are Cerro (IRE) (Graham Motion); Red Wings (Lukas); Divine Ambition (Darrin Miller); and Crop Report (Motion).

The Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes is the 10th of 12 races carded Saturday. The race offers 50 Kentucky Derby points to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, 10 for third, and five for fourth. First post Saturday is 1:10 p.m. ET.


Like him or not, Lukas knows what to do with quality horses
By Bill Giauque

With just 47 days remaining to the first Saturday in May and the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. 1), one of horse racing’s greats may have awakened the echoes of one of the great training careers.

The drama is set in Hot Springs, Ark., home of Oaklawn Park and the $600,000 Rebel Stakes, and D. Wayne Lukas has entered two horses — Oxbow and Will Take Charge. Lukas, a dominant trainer from the late 1970s through 2000, ranks third with four wins in the Kentucky Derby.

He also leads all trainers with 45 Derby starters through 2012. Lukas won his third Derby with Grindstone in 1996. By that time, I had become somewhat suspicious of Lukas’ Derby horses.

When he entered Deeds Not Words in 1997, the irony was too much to bear. Lukas, always and forever as smooth on camera as a Fortune 400 corporate PR man, opened up a credibility gap between what he said and what he did…


A story on the about the famous winners of the grueling race: