CHANNEL MAKER, bred in Ontario by Ivan Dalos, is Canada’s newest Grade 1 winner – NYRA/COGLIANESE/CHELSEA DURAND photo –


Posts career best 108 Beyer Figure

Canadian/Ontario-bred gelding CHANNEL MAKER led all the way to win the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on Saturday at Belmont Park during a stakes-filled card of racing. The Hirsch was a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and Channel Maker is headed to Churchill Downs for the  Nov. 3 BC Turf.

Channel Maker was bought back by breeder Ivan Dalos for $57,000 US from the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Joe Guerrieri, ‘Joey G’ as he is known at the track purchased him privately. The gelding won the Vandal Stakes at Woodbine as a 2-year-old when trained by Dan Vella. Joey G then sold half the gelding to Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable and sold the remainder of his share before this year.

The son of English Channel – In Return, by Horse Chestnut won the Breeders’ Stakes two years ago but went winless for trainer Mott for 7 races until this summer.

In his last 3 starts Channel Maker has dead-heated for the win in the Grade 2 Bowling Green and he was 2nd in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer in his last start. The turf at Belmont for the Hirsch was quite soft.

Trainer Bill Mott said, “He’s got a little different running style [from last year]. Even the last two or three times, he’s always broke and been back; he’s never gotten away cleanly enough to be up on the lead. But, the last couple times, he’s been breaking better. A horse couldn’t be doing better than he’s been doing. I don’t know if he can stay this good for another four or five weeks. But he’s just gotten better and better since we had those two runs at Saratoga. He’s been hard to hold on the ground. Put it this way, he needed to run.”

Channel Maker is a half brother to champion and Grade 1 winner JOHNNY BEAR who is headed to the Canadian international in 2 weeks.



The Jockey Club has released its REPORT OF MARES Bred statistics for 2017 listing all stallions in North America that bred a mare.

In total, 1,778 stallions appear on the list ( up 25% from 1,423 on the 2016 Report of Mares Bred List) and these stallions bred 34,288 mares (up 1.6% from 33,746 on the 2016 list). From 23,646 reports received there were 21,130 live foals reported.

The stallions who bred the most mares in 2017 are listed below.

Stallion                            Mares bred   Reports Recvd   Live foals %   State

INTO MISCHIEF             264                      226 201                   76%                    KY
DIALED IN                       231                       192 174                    75%                    KY
AMERICAN PHAROAH 214                      175 159                     74%                   KY
UNCLE MO                      207                       188 162                    78%                   KY
BODEMEISTER              194                       167 148                     76%                   KY
TEMPLE CITY                 188                       155 143                     76%                   KY
OXBOW                            187                        164 131                     70%                   KY
VIOLENCE                       187                        139 124                    66%                   KY

In CANADA, there were 1,651 mares bred by 129 stallions.

The stallions who bred the most mares (by province) were:
B.C.- Lent – 30
Alberta – Exhi – 41
Saskatchewan – Edison – 34
Manitoba – True Sense – 25
Ontario – Giant Gizmo – 72

Province – 2017 #Stallions & Mares Bred  VS. 2016 #Stallions  & Mares Bred  

Ontario – 50 & 908  VS.  62 & 894
Alberta – 34 & 373  VS.  33 & 332
BC – 20 & 180 VS.  22 & 226
Sask – 19 & 105 VS.  18 & 105
Manitoba – 6 & 85 VS.  8 & 88



ACCELERATE, considered the top horse in training in the US currently, edged clear of WEST COAST (inside) in the Grade 1 Awesome Again – VANESSA NG PHOTO – HORSE-RACES.NET

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) – Accelerate got feisty in the starting gate, went wide on the first turn, and waited for his rival before kicking into gear. Then he showed he’s ready for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Accelerate outdueled West Coast to win the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths in front of 16,801 at Santa Anita on Saturday in his fourth Grade 1 victory of the year.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Accelerate already had a guaranteed berth in the $6 million BC Classic as a result of his win in the Pacific Classic in August. The 5-year-old’s fifth victory in six races this year merely solidified his status as the best older horse in the country.

“It’s a good feeling that we might go into the Classic the favorite because I like being the favorite,” winning trainer John Sadler said. “He’s a good horse, doing great and probably the best horse in the country now, clearly. We’ll be ready.”

West Coast was coming off a six-month layoff for trainer Bob Baffert. He hadn’t raced since finishing second in the Dubai World Cup. The 4-year-old colt was the 8-5 second choice in a six-horse field in which all the other runners were listed at double-digit odds.

“He’s got a chance to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic with this race under his belt,” Baffert said. “He made that horse run today. We got beat by a really good horse. This race will really set him up well for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”

Accelerate paid $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.38 after getting fractious in the gate and breaking slowly.

“It’s nice to see all those things that didn’t go his way today, and he still came out on top,” co-owner Kosta Hronis said. “It just shows what kind of horse he is.”

47 to shot DISCREET LOVER, a $10,000 yearling purchase, is in the yellow and black silks. The son of Repent inhaled the tiring speed pairing of Mendolsohhn (purple) and favoured Diversify (rail) to win the 100th Jockey Club Gold Cup – MYRA/Coglianese/Rob Maubar photo –

AT BELMONT PARK, New York-bred millionaire and 3-5 favorite Diversify may have stubbed his toe in his attempt to win back-to-back editions of the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, but Uriah St. Lewis’ Discreet Lover was there to collect the spoils in unforgettable fashion, charging late to post a 45-1 upset in the centennial running on Super Saturday at Belmont Park.

Diversify, ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., took up his customary position at the head of the field, but was soon joined by European invader Mendelssohn, moving early under jockey Ryan Moore to press the heavy favorite through a fast opening quarter-mile in 22.72 seconds.

Drawing well ahead of the rest of the field, the pair continued their two-horse race through a 45.64-second half-mile up the backstretch with Diversify gaining some separation from his challenger as they approached the far turn, holding a length advantage as six furlongs went in 1:09.13.

Mendelssohn and Moore kept to task through the turn and Ortiz came up empty when asking for run from Diversify at the top of the lane, finally yielding his lead around the eighth pole. Mendelssohn was quickly engaged on the outside by Group 1 Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow, who made a strong move down the lane, and Discreet Lover, charging down the middle of the track under jockey Manny Franco.

Mendelssohn gave way on the inside of Thunder Snow, but Thunder Snow was unable to hold off Discreet Lover’s wide rally, getting his neck down in the shadow of the wire to give owner-trainer Uriah St. Lewis his first Grade 1.

The winning time for 1 ¼ miles was 1:59.99. Discreet Lover, a Silver member in the NYRA Starter Loyal Program, returned $93 for a $2 win wager.

With the Grade 3 Excelsior in April his only other win of the year, Discreet Lover has enjoyed a quietly solid season, finishing fourth this spring in both the Grade 3 Pimlico Special and Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. This summer, he recorded back-to-back thirds this summer in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap and Grade 1 Whitney, both won by Diversify, before finishing 12th in the Grade 1 Woodward on September 1 at Saratoga Race Course.

The $412,500 winners’ share of the Gold Cup purse nearly doubled Discreet Lover’s 2018 earnings and made a millionaire out of the hard-knocking Florida-bred, pushing his career earnings to $1,354,060. Discreet Lover, a 5-year-old son of Repent, also earned an all-fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic as part of the “Win and You’re In” qualifying series.

“It’s the first Grade 1 for the horse and myself,” said St. Lewis. “He did it all. All I want to do is go cash my ticket. He can come flying. The wire came right when we wanted it to come. It was great. But I want to go back and spend some time with him. Let’s see how he comes out of it, and then we’ll go from there. One step at a time. But everything is paid for [for the Breeders’ Cup], so we don’t have to worry.”

Thunder Snow, making his first start on the dirt since setting a track record in the World Cup in March, finished 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Mendelssohn in third. Carlino was another 2 ½ lengths back in fourth, just ahead of Diversify.



Toronto Ont.September 30, 2018.Woodbine Racetrack.Classy ‘N’ Smart Stakes.Bear Paw Jockey Luis Contreras(0range silks) captures the $100,000 dollar Classy ‘N’ Smart Stakes for owners Bear Stables Ltd. and Colebrook Farms and trainer Ashlee Brnjas. Michael Burns photo

Woodbine  weekend wrap

Bear Paw trailed the field most of the way before running on late between rivals to prevail in the $100,000 Classy ‘n Smart Stakes for Ontario-sired fillies and mares on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack.

Favourite Niigon’s Legacy ran away with the lead early on in the 1-1/16 mile main track event and clocked opening fractions of :24.01, :47.87 and 1:12.71 before the field converged on the front-runner and bunched up racing in the final turn.

Bear Paw, who had trailed throughout in rein to Luis Contreras, ran on between horses down the stretch to prevail in 1:43.77 in a photo finish ahead of longshot Stormy Summer, who had stalked the pace. Trini Brewnette snagged third-place honours a half-length behind as she edged out Sparkles’ Girl, the defending champion who finished between the top pair.

“I liked the way they raced all the way. It was just a perfect trip,” said Contreras, who currently ranks third for wins among all jockeys at the Woodbine meet. “I know this filly likes to be covered between horses and that’s the best way she runs.

“The thing is, if I hit the lead really soon before the sixteenth pole, she just kind of starts looking around. I just waited for a big move at the end.”

Bear Paw now sports a record reading 2-3-1 from seven starts during her debut season for trainer Ashlee Brnjas. Bred by Colebrook Farms and owned in partnership with Bear Stables Ltd., the three-year-old Bear’s Kid filly entered the Classy ‘n Smart Stakes off a runner-up performance at odds of 20-1 over the same course and distance in her initial stakes start, which was the OLG Algoma won by Trini Brewnette on August 29.

She was bought back by Colebrook’s John Brnjas for $50,000 from the CTHS Yearling sale 2 years ago.

The winning connections celebrated their second September stakes victory after watching the Pattison Canadian International eligible Johhny Bear defend his title in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes mid-month.

There was a huge upset in the Ontario Damsel Stakes on Saturday when ZESTINA, owned by Stronach Stables won the 1 mile grass race for Ontario-breds. Heavily favoured DIXIE MOON, the Woodbine Oaks winner, faded to last.

Hall of Fame trainer Sid Attard celebrated his birthday in the Woodbine winner’s circle as Zestina turned in a gutsy performance to win the Damsel over what was a less-than-firm turf course.

“This was a nice present!” said Attard after Stronach Stables’ homebred filly Zestina fought back in the stretch when Scarlet Flutter forged ahead.

The daughter of Silent Name and Spun Lace earned her second straight stakes win as she stretched out to the one-mile distance for the first time in her career after scoring a victory at the start of the month in the seven-furlong Passing Mood Stakes.

With Gary Boulanger aboard, Zestina tracked in third-place outside of favoured Woodbine Oaks champion Dixie Moon while Lunar Garden led the field of Ontario-bred three-year-old fillies with Safe to Say stalking behind in second.

Lunar Garden had cleared Safe to Say into a :24.21 first quarter and went unchallenged through middle splits of :47.27 and 1:10.96. It wasn’t until the turn when Safe to Say and Zestina made their moves and rallied past the pacesetter down the stretch. Safe to Say gained a short lead, but Zestina was resurgent just before the wire to prevail by half a length in 1:35.91.

The winning Beyer Figure was 76.

“She’s a very gutsy filly,” said Boulanger. “First time going a mile on the turf and she’s tough. She doesn’t ever give up.

“She’s shown us a lot in the morning. She’s kind of a feisty little girl, but if you know her, you know how to handle her. Sid and them have done a great job with her, I just get along well with her and thank you very much to all the connections.”

Zestina now boasts wins in half of her eight career starts and has never missed the board for more than $185,000 in earnings.

Other winners on the weekend included Jaroslaw Kowalcyzk’s SINGANDCRYINDUBAI who posted a 93 Beyer Figure in a turf sprint at 7 furlongs in 121.90. The Victor’s Cry gelding won the allowance/optional event for trainer Norm McKnight.

Sunday’s races were fast as the main track was quite speedy. Thoroughblog will update more from Sunday tomorrow.



from Richard Yates for Derby Bar & Grill newsletter

The betting public calculated that Summerland ($2.20) would win from here to the Okanagan in the Fantasy, but it turned into a tight two-horse race between the winner and Dancin Shoes who was lapped on her at the wire. It was the first time the top two-year-olds went a distance and they covered the mile-and-a-sixteenth in 1:45.04. Our Here’s Hannah, who set the Fantasy record last year when she got the distance in 1:44.59 and, perhaps, Senate Appointee have run faster.

It is perhaps because the races were not timed in hundredths in 1991 when Senate Appointee, one of the most outstanding fillies to ever race here, was timed in 1:45 flat. That could have been anywhere between 145 flat and 1:45.19. So, second or third fastest as it may be, it was quick. Friday was about a week back in third, three-quarters of a length better than Gifted Grey who completed the brief field. Enrique Gonzalez rode Summerland as he has for all four of her wins, beginning with a 3 ½ furlong debut in late May when she broke the track record.

Summerland went to the lead immediately at the break with Dancin Shoes in close pursuit. They ran 1-2 all the way, with Summerland clicking off even quarters in 24 and 24.21 seconds, then getting the next two quarters in 25 flat and 24.85 to close out the mile in 1:38.06. They covered the last sixteenth in a shade under seven seconds. Friday and Gifted Grey were in striking position going down the backstretch until Summerland and Dancing Shoes were asked to run. After that, they were not. It was the fourth win in five starts for Summerland and the first loss in three outings for Dancin Shoes.

Summerland was bred in Kentucky by Tres Hombres and George Gilbert. She is owned by Gilbert and trained by Philip Hall. She is a daughter of He’s Tops and the Honour and Glory mare, Otero, who won stakes at two and three at Hastings and placed in several others while winning over a $100,000.

Both Summerland and Dancin Shoes have won two stakes. Summerland had taken the Spaghetti Mouse prior to winning the Fantasy and Dancin Shoes won the Debutante and the Sadie Diamond. While the local pundits will have to sort out division honours, the fans can look forward to a rivalry next year in the three-year-old filly ranks. They are both very nice horses. It is worth noting that Dancin Shoes is a June 21 foal. The number of those that have ever won two stakes at Hastings, or anywhere else, in their two-year-old year would be mighty small.