Friday, December 18, 2009

Fort Erie stays open; Woodbine trainers getting busy south of the border; and Randy Waples closes in on 5000 wins

Fantastic news for the horsemen of Fort Erie arrived on Thursday afternoon when it was announced that the border oval received an economic boost that will keep the track in operation for a guaranteed three years.

Corey Fraser celebrates winning the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie aboard Gallant

As an added bonus, quarterhorse racing will be added to the mix to entice bettors to the historic racetrack.

Down The Stretch contributor Perry Lefko penned the following piece in today's Toronto Star.

Not only will Fort Erie Racetrack open for its 113th season, starting May 1, it will offer quarterhorse racing for the first time in more than 30 years as a pilot project to entice customers, in particular from south of the Canadian border.

"This is not mean to replace thoroughbred racing, it's meant to augment it," said Jim Thibert, general manager of the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation. "The quarterhorse racing is a new product that will help rejuvenate (thoroughbred racing). Our biggest market is from Buffalo. We've got to get something to get those people back over here. Not only do they come over here, but they come to bet."

More on this story can be found through the following links:

RACING: New plan introduces more racing in Fort Erie

Fort Erie gets new life, new breed

Fort Erie Racetrack given new life for three years

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Woodbine-based Grand Adventure will be the likely favourite in Saturday's Bonapaw Stakes at Fairgrounds for trainer Mark Frostad. Last out, Grand Adventure was a troubled sixth in the G2 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine.

Grand Adventure in his Woodbine stall earlier this year

Nine horses will go to post in this five and a half furlong turf sprint. Storm Treasure, who won this event last year for trainer Steve Asmussen, will leave from post nine at odds of 6-1.

P# PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 7 Early Return B J Hernandez, Jr. 118 S Margolis 6/1
1A 8 Due Date (KY)J Graham 118 S Margolis 6/1
2 1 Grand Adventure (KY) S J Sellers 116 M R Frostad 5/1
3 2 Grand Traverse (KY) V Lebron 118 T Glyshaw 6/1
4 3 Turfiste (KY) J Theriot 120 T Glyshaw 4/1
5 4 Major Marvel (KY) M Mena 116 W B Calhoun 6/1
6 5 Proud Jefe (KY) J Lanerie 116 T M Amoss 8/1
7 6 Cosmic (KY) C H Borel 118 C P Borel 3/1
8 9 Storm Treasure (KY) S Bridgmohan 118 S M Asmussen 6/1

For more on this race, check out Abram Himelstein's report in the Daily Racing Form.

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Woodbine's Malcolm Pierce sends out No Use Denying at the Fair Grounds on Sunday to contest the Daily Racing Form Distaff Stakes. The four-year-old Pin Oak Stable filly will take on five others including the favoured War Echo trained by Steve Asmussen.

Malcolm Pierce surveys the morning workouts at Woodbine earlier this year

P# PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1 No Use Denying (KY)F C Torres 118 M Pierce 5/1
2 2 Why Wonder Why (KY) J Graham 115 T Glyshaw 10/1
3 3 Pleasantly Blessed (KY)B J Hernandez, Jr. 118 S M Asmussen 7/2
4 4 War Echo (KY) S Bridgmohan 117 S M Asmussen 9/5
5 5 Fighter Wing (KY) C J Lanerie 118 G Geier 8/1
6 6 Unforgotten (FL) S J Sellers 120 D Stewart 5/2

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Plenty of Woodbine-based trainers are busy south of the border over the coming days.

Mark Casse sends out No Joke No Lie in the tenth race at Tampa Bay Downs this afternoon. 5:34PM Post time. Click here for the entries. The Casse trained Chrome Cruiser finished second yesterday in a $50K claiming event.

Scott Fairlie has a pair entered at Philadelphia Park. Heart of Cold will try tomorrow's second race at the $5K claiming level. Sunday's fourth race at Philly Park will see Fairlie's Graceful Gracie take on a group of $15K claimers.

Scott Fairlie (far left) with the now retired blog favourite Cawaja Beach

Mark Frostad is very busy over the weekend at the Fair Grounds with Dream Delight, Seeking Luck, Lucky Lulu racing Friday, Grand Adventure on Saturday and Battle At Sea on Sunday.

More information on the success of Woodbine trainers, jockeys and horses will be passed along via this blog over the dark winter months.

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On the harness side of the game, driver Randy Waples is closing in on 5000 lifetime wins. The affable linesman, a double O’Brien Award winner as driver of the year, has posted 4996 lifetime wins.

With 10 drives lined up for Friday,December 18 and a further 11 drives on Saturday, December 19,Waples is on track to reach the milestone well before the New Year.

Also approaching a career milestone is veteran driver, Rick Zeron, who has 6984 wins as of December 16 and is gunning for the magic 7000.

Rick Zeron and his son Scott bundled up at a snowy Woodbine

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Finally, the Sovereign Awards have been moved to the swank confines of Ultra Nightclub, in Toronto, Ontario on Friday, January 29th, 2010.

A champagne cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres begins at 6:00 and will be followed by the presentation of the awards at 8:00. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased by calling the Jockey Club of Canada, (416) 675-7756 or by email

If you're a fan of horse racing, why not come out and mingle with the stars of the racing game.


Calvin Carter said...


I see that Mark Frostad has Hotep in training at the Fair Grounds. Will he make a Kentucky Derby bid with Hotep or bring him back to Canada for the Classic Races?

Keith - TripleDeadHeat said...

Hi Calvin,

Thanks for reading.

Though I haven't spoken with Mr. Frostad recently, I suspect Hotep will return to Canada.

I had the pleasure of watching Hotep break his maiden impressively at 1M1/16 on International Day at Woodbine.

Hotep is a full brother to the current Queen's Plate champ - Eye of the Leopard - and why not follow in big bro's hoofsteps!



ps - copy and paste this link into your browser for a review of his maiden breaker: