QUEEN’S PLATE HERO ‘DUDLEY’ RETURNS TO WOODBINE
Two years after the biggest win of his career, SIR DUDLEY DIGGES has returned to his homeland and he will race at Woodbine on Saturday in the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes. Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s dark bay 5-year-old, now stabled at Woodbine with a string of Mike Maker trainees supervised by Nolan Ramsey, will be making his first start since he won the Sandy Lane Gold Cup in Barbados on Mar 3.
Bred by Bernard and Karen McCormack, Sir Dudley Digges has won 5 races since his Plate score. This will be his first race on the Tapeta surface.
The Eclipse, at 1 1/16 miles, will not be an easy reach for Dudley, who will be ridden by Luis Contreras for the first time.
In the field is 2 time Champion ARE YOU KIDDING ME, who won the prep for this race with ease and won the 2016 edition of the Eclipse. MELMICH, a Sovereign Award finalist for champion older male, is back in fine form and last year’s breakout star GIGANTIC BREEZE comes off the layoff for trainer Alex McPherson.
Saturday, Woodbine, post time: 4:57 p.m. EDT
ECLIPSE S.-GII, C$175,000, 4yo/up, 1 1/16m
PP HORSE SIRE OWNER TRAINER JOCKEY WT
1 Melmich Wilko Stephen Chesney & Cory S. Hoffman Attard Da Silva 120
2 Gigantic Breeze K Giant’s Causeway Hopefield Farm McPherson Boulanger 122
3 Tizzarunner Tizway Three Diamonds Farm Maker Garcia 116
4 Are You Kidding Me Run Away and Hide Ronald K. Kirk, John C. Bates & Michael Riordan Attfield Hernandez 116
5 Hollywood Critic Blame Bruce Lunsford Minshall Sutherland 116
6 Tiz a Slam Tiznow Chiefswood Stable Attfield Husbands 120
7 Sir Dudley Digges K Gio Ponti Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey Maker Contreras 118
Breeders: 1-Andrew Stronach, 2-Stan Dodson, 3-Robert T. Manfuso, 4-John Bates, Ron Kirk, Greg McDonald & Riordan, Shaw & Sones, 5-W. Bruce
Lunsford, 6-Chiefswood Stables Limited, 7-Bernard McCormack & Karen McCormack
CHAMPION TURF MARE STARSHIP JUBILEE HEADS SUNDAY’S NASSAU
“I’ve been in this game 40 years and she is my first stakes winner.” That was SOLI MEHTA at the Sovereign Awards in April when STARSHIP JUBILEE was named the 2017 Champion Turf Female. Co-owned by Mehta, from Toronto, and trainer Kevin Attard, STARSHIP JUBILEE was one of the year’s most amazing stories. Claimed for $16,000 in February from a race at Gulfstream in Florida, Starship Jubilee went on a wild run at Woodbine, earned some $350,000 for the team including numerous stakes races. She began her Woodbine campaign with a win in the Grade 2 Nassau and will do so again on Sunday.
Her rivals better have their running shoes firmly on.
Sunday, Woodbine, post time: 4:57 p.m. EDT
NASSAU S.-GII, C$175,000, 3yo/up, f/m, 1mT
PP HORSE SIRE OWNER TRAINER JOCKEY WT
1 Jennifer Lynnette K Elusive Quality Conrad Farms Casse Sutherland 118
2 Gianna’s Dream K Twirling Candy Jordan V. Wycoff Maker Contreras 118
3 Ghostly Presence Ghostzapper Chiefswood Stable Attfield Hernandez 118
4 Starship Jubilee Indy Wind Attard, Kevin and Mehta, Soli Attard Da Silva 122
5 Bletchley (GB) Makfi (GB) Keystone Racing LLC, Qatar Racing Limited and AJ Suited Racing Stable, LLC Casse Husbands 116
6 Niigon’s Eclipse Niigon Chiefswood Stable Halden Boulanger 118
7 Grizzel (Ire) Kodiac (GB) Merriebelle Stable LLC and Doyle, Mrs. Anna Doyle Moran 120
Breeders: 1-Christine Katherine Hayden, 2-Center Hills Farm & Randy Blair, 3-Chiefswood Stables Limited, 4-William P. Sorren, 5-Qatar Bloodstock Ltd, 6-Chiefswood Stables Limited, 7-Martin Butler
REMINDER: LongRun Ladies Luncheon
QUEEN’S PLATE WATCH
TELEKINESIS, the Ghostzapper colt who has a win in three starts including a second in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes, worked 4 furlongs on Friday morning at Keeneland in 50.80. Barbara Banke’s colt, trained by Mark Casse, will be coming for the Plate Trial on June 9.
AHEADBYACENTURY, winner of the Coronation Futurity last year and 3rd in the Grade 3 Marine Stakes to 2 American-breds recently, sizzled 5 furlongs at Woodbine Friday morning in 59 flat on the Tapeta.
The Midnight Lute colt was ridden in the work by Rafael Hernandez. John Ross co-owns and traines Aheadbyacentury, also owned by Jack of Hearts Racing.
KITTEN’S BOY, one of several Plate possibles for Sam-Son farms returned to work on Friday at Woodbine with a half mile in 50.80. Sam-Son also has SAY THE WORD and STRIKE ME DOWN as Plate contenders.
The former races against older horses in an allowance event on Sunday.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE, tries blinkers for the first time in the Grade III Arlington Classic
A competitive field of eight 3-year-olds will line up for the 83rd running of the Grade III $100,000 Arlington Classic this Saturday, May 26 at Arlington International Racecourse. The event will be contested over the turf at a distance of 1 1/16 miles.
Alternative Route, assigned to post three, is a winner on the main track and the synthetic and will look to add a victory over the grass to his resume in Saturday’s race. Owned by Spendthrift Farm in partnership with Town and Country racing, the Ontario-bred son of Tiznow broke his maiden at second asking over the main track at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots in January and two starts later won his stakes debut in the Rushaway Stakes over the Polytrack at Turfway Park for trainer Al Stall, Jr. Alternative Route will wear blinkers for the Arlington Classic and will be reunited with jockey Mitchell Murrill, who was aboard for his stakes victory last out.
“He didn’t get into the (Grade II) American Turf (at Churchill Downs, May 4) and we didn’t want to ship to Canada twice – the prep for the Queen’s Plate is three weeks before,” Stall said. “We landed on the Arlington Classic. His full sister (Enstone) is a graded stakes winner on the turf. He worked nice on the turf at Churchill (a half-mile in 51.80 on April 29). [It was] kind of slow but finished up well. It’s the logical spot for us, if it rains and gets taken off the turf then that’s fine with us.”
Trainer Brad Cox won last year’s edition of the Arlington Classic with Cowboy Culture and will be represented in this year’s race by Ezmosh, who is still in search of his first stakes victory. Bred in Oklahoma, the son of Tizway won his grass debut last time out in a first-level allowance event over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson Turf Course on March 25. Owned by Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing and Zayat Stables, Ezmosh broke his maiden at third asking at Churchill Downs last September and tried graded stakes company in Keeneland’s Grade I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, where he was sixth behind Free Drop Billy. He will break from gate four under Jose Valdivia, Jr.
GREENWOOD STAKES EVENT AT WOODBINE SATURDAY
Pull out your fascinators and seersucker suits!
The inaugural Greenwood Stakes festival – dubbed “Toronto’s newest society event at the races” – is coming to Etobicoke’s Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday, May 26 from noon to 7 p.m.
The afternoon will include high-stakes thoroughbred horse races, style contests, lawn games, art installations, and culinary fare, as well as a cocktail showcase with Toronto’s top mixologists and more.
PHIL KIVES TO BE HONOURED BY THOROUGHBRED OWNERS AND BREEDERS
courtesy Ivan Biggs – Assiniboia Downs The Insider
K-5 Stables–“Canadian Breeder of the Year”
Stable manager and Kives’ wife to be honoured at Lexington awards banquet
Chalk up another success story for Manitoba breeding. Those who carried on owner/breeder Phil Kives’ breeding program after he died two years ago will be honoured at a U.S. awards banquet in September for “Canadian Breeder of the Year.”
Phil’s wife, Ellie, and K-5 Stables manager Leona Stahl received the pleasant news last week. The honour comes from the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association who will make a presentation at its 33rd awards banquet in Lexington, Ky.
Although the award refers to 2017, Stahl told The Insider she believes it is based on Kives’ breeding program in general, something she was closely involved with. “ I enjoyed many hours with Phil discussing which stallions we would breed to,” Stahl said. “A lot of studying stallion pedigrees for hours.” And it obviously paid off:
Before he died, Phil set into motion a mating that resulted in the highest price ever paid for a Manitoba-bred horse–$310,000 U.S.–at an auction last year in England. It was for a filly, Daddy’s Daughter who had resulted from a mating between K-5’s Golden Stripe and Scat Daddy (who also fathered Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Justify). Stahl believes the filly’s buyer plans to use her for a brood mare and not for racing especially since Scat Daddy has died.
Kives’ mare, Golden Works, produced a colt, Goldencents, who went on to win two Breeders’ Cup Miles in a row.
Goldencents subsequently was mated to Golden Stripe to produce a colt, Gold Record, who is currently being trained by Don Schnell for his first lifetime start this spring or summer.
ASSINIBOIA DOWNS UPDATE
ALBERTA NEWS – TROOPER JOHN NAMED 2017 HORSE OF THE YEAR
Andy Stronach and Wally Pugh collect CTHS Trophy for Breeders of Year
Like any successful person, trainer Tim Rycroft aims high. Asked to describe Trooper John, who was voted Alberta’s Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old on Saturday night, Rycroft didn’t miss a beat. “He reminds me of Killin Me Smalls,” Rycroft said in a flash of the newest champion who also won Saturday afternoon’s $50,000 Journal Handicap at Northlands – defeating longshot Born in a Breeze by a neck.
“They’re both warriors. They’re both tough. They both show up and they both will run on any kind of a track – bad, good, fast or slop.” Now, Trooper John and Killin Me Smalls, who was third in the Journal, have another thing in common as the latter was also voted a champion Saturday night – taking Older Horse of the Year honours for the third straight season.
“Considering everything that Killin Me Smalls has done around here, comparing Trooper John to a horse like that is definitely a good thing,” said Rycroft. But then Rycroft will also make another comparison: “Trooper John is also like a teenager. He likes to eat and he likes to sleep.
“After we’ve fed Trooper John his breakfast he likes to lay down and sleep some more. Even just before he runs we often have to wake him up.” But when the starting gate opens or when he’s training, nobody needs to set an alarm clock for the four-year-old owned by Robert Vargo and Norm Castiglione.
Evidence of that came last Sunday when, while prepping for The Journal, he was sent out for a four-furlong work which he did with aplomb stopping the clock in a very swift 45 2/5.