Steve Lym (holding trophy for Moonlit Promise’s recent win in the Bessarabian Stakes, is heading to Santa Anita; Woodbine photo













The news had circulated quietly several weeks before the end of the 2018 racing season; Steve Lym was heading west.

Steve, the director of racing at Woodbine for the past 5 years and previously racing secretary, Equibase chart caller and clocker, is headed to Santa Anita Racetrack in the new year to become that track’s racing secretary and vice president.

When the news was announced on Dec. 22 local horsepeople were shocked, the HBPA (Ontario) issuing a release that said it was “disappointed and saddened” that Lym was leaving Woodbine.

Steve is a passionate racing man from a family of horsepeople. His knowledge of racing is expansive and he will be a great loss to Woodbine. His departure follows that of Media and Communications manager Keith McCalmont, who recently left for NYRA.

Woodbine and Santa Anita’s notices are below:

Notice to Woodbine horsepeople:

After more than three decades with Woodbine Entertainment (Woodbine), Director, Thoroughbred Racing, Steve Lym announced recently that he will leave the company.

“We thank Steve for his years of tireless dedication to Canadian horse racing and helping to raise Woodbine’s thoroughbred racing profile for the past three decades,” said Jonathan Zammit, Vice President, Thoroughbred Racing Operations. “Steve’s immense racing knowledge and industry expertise will be missed; however, we enthusiastically wish him all the best as he pursues other exciting opportunities.”

A lifelong thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast, Lym has been a key member of several prominent industry committees including the Breeders’ Cup Selection committee, World’s Best Horseracing Rankings Executive Committee, Canadian Graded Stakes Committee, and a Board Member of the Avelino Gomez Foundation.

“Steve’s presence in the backstretch and racing office will be missed, however, on behalf of the entire Woodbine leadership team, we wish him much success in his new role,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment.

The future of horse racing at Woodbine is very bright. The company recently announced a new four-year agreement with the Horsemen’s Benevolent Protective Association Of Ontario, that features $18 million in purse growth, further strengthening Woodbine’s position amongst the top thoroughbred racetracks in North America. In Spring, 2019, Woodbine will begin racing on a newly constructed second turf track, as the company establishes Woodbine Racetrack as a top turf racing destination.

Woodbine will now take the opportunity to think differently in reshaping the future of its’ racing operations team.

Santa Anita press release:

Steeped in the Thoroughbred business from childhood, Lym served as Woodbine Racecourse’s Racing Secretary from 2003 through 2013 and as their Director of Racing from 2013 until just recently.

Lym, who is married (Jennifer) and has two sons, Curtis, 20 and Jordan, 19, will be joining his Santa Anita team just after the first of the year.

“I’ll be there the first week in January and Jennifer and I are looking forward to this new chapter in our life,” said Lym from Toronto. “Coming from Woodbine, where we too, are a bit isolated in terms of ready access to other major tracks, I see similarities in the business model that Santa Anita is faced with an I think I bring a skill set that will transfer nicely to Southern California.”

“Steve is very excited to be coming to Santa Anita and we’re fortunate to be getting a man of his stature and character,” said Tim Ritvo, COO for The Stronach Group. “In addition to his wide breadth of experience as a horseman and racing official, Steve has served on a number of national and international boards and committees, including the Breeders’ Cup Selection Panel, which will serve him well in his new position.”

In addition to his Breeders’ Cup efforts, Lym’s standing in the Thoroughbred industry has been further enhanced by his involvement with the International Federation of Horseracing Authority World’s Best Racehorse Ranking Committee; the North American Ratings Committee, the Canadian Graded Stakes Committee and as a committee member of the Governmental Rules Working Group, which oversees all horse racing rules and regulations in Ontario, Canada.

“We think Steve’s overall experience is going to prove invaluable,” added Ritvo. “In his position at Woodbine, he was basically dealing with a year ’round racing dynamic which will serve him well here at Santa Anita. As everyone knows, we have a number of industry stakeholders that we deal with on a daily basis and Steve has already told me that he looks forward to working with all of them, including groups here in California such as the CHRB, TOC and CTT.”



There was a big card of racing at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 (Boxing Day here in Canada) with McKinzie’s super win in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes highlighting the stakes-laden card.

The Grade 2 San Antonio, a popular race for older horses, was won by the grey 5yo GIFT BOX, who appears to be an up and comer in the older horse ranks.

Canadian racing fans will be familiar with his pedigree as the Kentucky bred is a grandson of Ed Lang’s stakes placed mare DELTA DANIELLE, a daughter of Lord Avie from Domasco Danielle, a full sister to Canadian star Domasca Dan.

Delta Danielle had 12 named foals including $1 million earner OUR NEW RECRUIT (won the Grade 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai, 2004) and Special Me, her 2006 foal who was unplaced.

Special Me is the dam of GIFT BOX as well as graded stakes winning mare STONETASTIC ($850,000).

Delta Danielle is from the Same Direction mare Domasco Danielle who was stakes placed as a 2yo for owner/breeder Lang. Her full brother was Frank DiGiulio and Frank DiGiulio Jr’s Domasca Dan (bred by Lang) who won the Grade 2 Jamaica Stakes and pushed With Approval to the limit in the Canadian triple Crown.

DELTA DANIELLE, a “notable matron” – photo from Dark Hollow Farm










Wednesday, Santa Anita
SAN ANTONIO S.-GII, $301,380, Santa Anita, 12-26, 3yo/up,
1 1/16m, 1:43.88, ft.

1–GIFT BOX, 122, h, 5, by Twirling Candy 1st Dam: Special Me, by Unbridled’s Song
2nd Dam: Delta Danielle, by Lord Avie
3rd Dam: Domasco Danielle, by Same Direction
O-Hronis Racing LLC; B-Machmer Hall, Carrie & Craig Brogden (KY); T-John W. Sadler; J-Joel Rosario. $180,000. Lifetime Record: 14-4-5-2,
$524,160. *1/2 to Stonetastic (Mizzen Mast), MGSW & GISP, $856.062


CANADIAN star ESCAPE CLAUSE back in action at Santa Anita

ESCAPE CLAUSE -Assiniboia Downs photo














The incredible tale of the super Manitoba filly ESCAPE CLAUSE continues as the tough gal is racing once again in California.

Bred in Manitoba, Canada, this 4-year-old filly is a truly amazing sort who will be making her 13th start of the year at her sixth different track. From June 8 at Assiniboia Downs in Manitoba, through Oct. 21 at Century Downs, located in Rocky View, Alberta, she rattled off eight consecutive wins, prompting her owner/trainer to run next in the restricted Kathryn Crosby Stakes at Del Mar, a one-mile turf event in which she finished second, beaten a half-length. She was subsequently placed first following a stewards’ inquiry. Following that, she stretched out to 1 3/8 miles on turf in the Grade 3 Red Carpet Handicap and finished third, beaten one length. With a 12: 9-1-2 mark this year, Escape Clause is 26: 18-3-3 overall, with earnings of $354,500.

The field is not an easy one with formidable speedster Fahan Mara a tough opponent.

Saturday, Santa Anita, post time: 4:30 p.m. EST
ROBERT J. FRANKEL S.-GIII, $150,000, 3yo/up, f/m, 1 1/8mT

1 Lucy De Decarchy GGG Stables Baltas Prat 120
2 Escape Clause Going Commando Don Schnell Schnell Fuentes 122
3 Quebec Into Mischief Ackerman Racing, LLC, Bond, Catherine E., Baltas Rosario 120

4 Fahan Mura K English Channel Bran Jam Stable and Clark, David W. Cerin Maldonado 122
5 Sweet Charity (Fr) Myboycharlie (Ire) Hronis Racing LLC Sadler Baze 120
6 Gliding By K Artie Schiller Bederian, Harry, Kamberian, Harout and Baltas Van Dyke 120
7 Amboseli Medaglia d’Oro D P Racing LLC Cassidy Desormeaux 120
8 Excellent Sunset (Ire) Exceed And Excel (Aus) Dunn, Christopher T., Abbondanza Racing LLC, Meah Bejarano 120

Breeders: 1-GGG Stables and Magali Farms, LLC, 2-Cam Ziprick & Arnason Farms, 3-Preston Madden, 4-Michael J. Moran, 5-Hubert Honore,
6-Greenwood Lodge Farm, Inc., 7-Dayton Investments LTD., 8-Rabbah Bloodstock Limited


Undefeated Mexican horse confirmed

Cuadra San Jorge’s Kukulkan, winner of Mexico’s Triple Crown and undefeated in 14 races, has been confirmed for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the richest race in North America to be contested Saturday, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

Kukulkan, last seen winning the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe at Gulfstream Dec. 8 on Clasico Internacional del Caribe Day (71 Beyer Speed Figure), was shipped back to Mexico the week after Clasico and has been galloping at Hipodromo Las Americas.

“We are shipping the horse on 17 of January,” trainer Fausto Gutierrez said. “That’s the date we have planned to fly him to the race. The horse is galloping here in Mexico and we will breeze him twice before he leaves.”

Gutierrez, who will saddle Kukulkan against the likes of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Accelerate, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner City of Light, Classic runner-up Gunnevera, Florida Derby (G1) winner Audible, Preakness (G1) runner-up Bravazo and Cigar Mile (G1) winner Patternrecognition, knows the 1 1/8 mile Pegasus will be a tough assignment.

“I’m very happy because I’m bringing [Kukulkan] to a very big race,” he said. “I know competition is very, very strong, but we want to try and give the horse a chance.”





CONQUEST ENFORCER, Canadian champion, euthanized

Canadian/Ontario bred CONQUEST ENFORCER was put down recently in Ocala due to issues with a stone in his bladder according to owner John Guanere. The owner of Imaginary Stables put a message on Twitter recently about the horse’s passing.

“It saddens me so deeply to announce that 2 years from the day Conquest Enforcer won the Mathis Mile that today he is being put to rest in Ocala! Conquest has brought incredible joy into our lives and may he Rest In Peace” – John Guanere

Bred by Ivan Dalos and a son of Into Mischief – Keen Victory by Victory Gallop, Conquest Enforcer burst on to the racing scene as a 2yo at Woodbine for Conquest Stables and trainer Mark Casse. He was rumoured to be thought of as a star for the Casse stable. In just his 2nd career start, the colt won the Cup and Saucer Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf with ease, only to come out of the race with some distress.

Conquest Enforcer reappeared in May of his 3yo season and won the Queenston Stakes at 7 furlongs with a 99 Beyer Figure but was kept off the Queen’s Plate trail. He won the Charlie Barley Stakes in July, was 3rd against older horses in the Play the King, won the Allied Forces Stakes and then was 3rd beaten a neck to champions Calgary Cat and Stacked Deck in the Nearctic Stakes. He was named Canada’s champion Turf Male for 2016 at the Sovereign awards but had been sold at the Conquest dispersal by them.

Loooch racing bought him for $785,000 and had Imaginary Stable and Rachael Raquel as co-owners. The horse promtply went out and won the 2016 Mather’s Mile (Grade 2) and Santa Anita for his new owners.

He did not win again in 9 races at 6 different tracks for a litany of different trainers.

The horse came to Woodbine this past April after re-joining the Casse stable briefly and he finished 3rd to Pink Lloyd.

Conquest Enforcer showed brilliance in his career; Michael Burns photo











DAN KENNY, former Queen’s Plate CBC TV host, bloodstock agent passes

with files from Four Star Sales

Dan Kenny was a familiar face around Woodbine and at the Ontario yearling sale for many years. Kenny, who bought many top mares and horses for  various Canadian owners in his years as bloodstock agent, also appeared of the Queen’s Plate broadcasts on CBC. Kenny passed away Dec. 25 in Atlanta.

Born in Johnstown, PA, Dan made the jump from journalism to the bloodstock arena in 1972. He shaped his Thoroughbred career in Canada and California before establishing his own farm in Kentucky in 1993. He advises clients through his company Dan Kenny Bloodstock. Outside of the auction scene, broodmares and matings are Dan’s forte, and he is most proud of having purchased future Broodmare of the Year In Neon for longtime client John Franks. Other mares Dan selected prior to their stakes-producing success include the dams of Champion and Breeders’ Cup winner Chilukki, Champion Phantom Light, Grade 2 winner Comeonmom, Grade 2 winner Mula Gula, and Grade 3 winner Sunny Blossom. In addition to his bloodstock successes, Dan is an avid handicapper, former auction announcer, appraiser, and has 23 years experience as a television commentator with NBC, ESPN and CBC.