Considering January is meant to be a quiet period for horse racing, there sure is a lot happening.
Woodbine jockey Patrick Husbands popped up in my Google News alerts twice recently. The first instance was a positive story listing the inaugural Horse Racing Ambassadors of Barbados Awards.
"During the event, jockeys, trainers and horse owners were rewarded for their outstanding achievement at race tracks in Canada, the United Kingdom and Trinidad and Tobago.
Those jockeys who received the Ambassador of Horse Racing Award include Patrick Husbands and Jonathan "Jono" Jones for their outstanding contribution at the Woodbine Race Track in Canada.
Race horse owners Eugene Melnyk and Lord Michael Taylor respectively, also copped Ambassador of Horse Racing Awards for their outstanding achievement at the Canadian Circuit."
However, another less-favourable story announced that
Husbands was blamed for Blackstone Street's flop in the 16th running of the First Citizens Gold Cup at Santa Rosa Park.
"During an inquiry by the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority into the running of the son of Victory Gallop/Skipping Lass, champion trainer Glenn Mendez said that in his opinion the horse was “fit and sound as at any stage of his career.”
And he also produced a veterinarian certificate from Dr Roger d’Abadie to back up his claim.
Mendez offered that the rider (Husbands) who was flown in especially for the mount to challenge Bruceontheloose, “may have attempted unorthodox tactics which worked against the horses’ natural running style.” "
Try as I might, I could not find video of the race. Husbands won 188 races from 972 starts in 2009 as the leading rider at Woodbine.
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Video is causing quite the stir in the racing world at the moment as the popular Youtube Channel Partymanners which featured some 1500 race videos from the past 30 years had its account suspended. The topic has been touched on by Equispace, Big Event Blog and most recently by the R2 Collective.
The Partymanners channel provided video content for hundreds of blogs and was an important resource for fans and handicappers alike. To lose access to these videos is a huge loss to racing.
Recently, Woodbine Entertainment Group launched their own WEG Replay Channel on Youtube which features video of both harness and thorougbred races from WEG tracks.
As well, Youtube channels run by Churchill Downs Incorporated and TVG offer a great deal of recent racing video.
However, these channels currently lack the historical footage that was made available by Partymanners. One can only hope that the Partymanners account will be re-opened as the valuable footage is of huge marketing importance to a racing industry struggling to find new fans.
As an aside, I find it very frustrating as a racing fan/writer/blogger to dig so hard to find both video and statistics that are so readily available to the public in other sports. For the most part, racing statistics are only available as a paid service. Whereas, baseball fans can access sites such as Baseball-Reference.Com and browse to a multitude of FREE historical baseball statistics. If a reader can point to a similar racing site, I'd be most grateful.
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I'm almost afraid to mention the following link considering the issues above, but recently Equidaily reported on an article in the Village Daily Sun regarding a horse racing video archive site.
Said site, Chef-De-Race features an incredible archive of race videos spanning from 1932 (Phar Lap!) to present day. According to Chef-De-Race, "The media player below provides access to streaming videos of famous races. At present the list includes every Kentucky Derby since 1969 plus other personal favorites."
To view the media player, click on this link.
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A recent in-race fight between jockeys at Philadelphia Park went viral on the web and was featured on ESPN.
I went to the track and a hockey game broke out...
As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Two jockeys at Philadelphia Park got into a fistfight yesterday, which wouldn't be big news - except the jockeys were riding in the fifth race when the brawl broke out.
Divine Light, ridden by Eriluis Vaz, was disqualified after Vaz punched Mi Helena's jockey, Ademar Santos, in the face as their horses rode along the backstretch. Neither horse finished in the money.
A replay showed that after Vaz threw his punch, Santos appeared to punch Vaz right back. Then Vaz nailed Santos with his whip.
Santos said Vaz had veered toward him three times before the blows began.
"I asked, 'Man, why you go like that?' " Santos said. "Then he hit me in the face . . . in the mouth."
Santos said he "reflexed," but contended that he did not connect with his punch. Vaz responded by whipping him in the upper back, Santos said.
Lou Albertrani, the agent for Vaz, said he couldn't comment because he hadn't yet seen the race and hadn't talked to Vaz.
"My rider said, 'I got hit in the face; I've got to do something,' " said Carson Phelps, the agent for Santos. "It looked like [Vaz] was trying to knock him off the horse."
Fortunately, none of the horses involved in the race were hurt by the antics of the jostling jocks.
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Upcoming entries for Woodbine-based trainers currently competing south of the border include:
January 15 - Gulfstream Park - Race 9, Maiden Special Weight, Tangled Passion
January 15 - Gulfstream Park - Race 7, Maiden Special Weight, Divine Miss
January 13 - Gulfstream Park - Race 9, Maiden Special Weight, Romantic Song
**Jockey Rob Landry of Toronto will pilot both Divine Miss and Romantic Song.
Mark E. Casse
January 13 - Tampa Bay - Race 8, Allowance Optional Claiming $32,000 Retraceable
Tampa Bay - Race 6, Claiming $50,000 Munsters Lane
Tampa Bay - Race 8, Claiming $25,000 Regan Lodge
Tampa Bay - Race 8, Allowance Primping
Tampa Bay - Race 10, Maiden Claiming $50,000, Northern Monarch
Tampa Bay - Race 10, Maiden Claiming $50,000 Shawnee Shoot
January 14 - Penn National - Race 2 - Maiden Special Weight, First Bullet
Scott H. Fairlie
Philadelphia Park - Race 7 - Claiming $20,000 Six Pack Sammy
Philadelphia Park - Race 8 - Claiming $25,000 Wink At the Girls
Philadelphia Park - Race 2 - Claiming $7,500, Hubbert's Peak
Philadelphia Park - Race 10 - Claiming $7,500, Gotaghostofachance
Mark R. Frostad
January 13 - Gulfstream Park - Race 9, Maiden Special Weight Quick Split
January 14 -Gulfstream Park - Race 3, Maiden Claiming $25,000 Asset
Check out Equibase for a listing of all the entries. I'm working on a more efficient (i.e. electronic) way to report this news.
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Finally, the Jockey Club of Canada has posted the 2009 Sovereign Awards Voter Information Package which features past performances of all horses under consideration for nomination.
The 35th Annual Sovereign Awards will take place at Ultra Nightclub, in Toronto, Ontario on Friday, January 29th, 2010. Ultra is located at 314 Queen Street West, Toronto. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased by calling the Jockey Club of Canada, (416) 675-7756 or by email at email@example.com
I encourage all readers to attend this event and support the local racing industry.