Some 329 Woodbine food service and hospitality workers who had been locked out on Saturday morning have accepted a new wage deal.
According to a Toronto Star report:
"The workers, who include kitchen helpers, cooks, servers and concession stand staff, will return to their jobs Tuesday, said Local 75 of the Unite Here union.
Tony Bennett, who began working at the track 25 years ago as a stand attendant, said that many members accepted the offer reluctantly.
"Some did so facing the prospect of a potentially long lockout, so for them it was the choice between the least of two evils," he said."
Kentucky Derby and Queen's Plate contender Hotep might well be on his way to the Grade II Louisiana Derby.
Hotep still on the Derby trail?
A Graham Ross article reports:
"Sam-Son Farm’s Hotep, the full brother to last year’s Queen’s Plate winner Eye of the Leopard, ran a disappointing 10th in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes here Feb. 20, but was handicapped by an outside post position as well as a troubled trip.
Was the son of A. P. Indy still under consideration for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27?
“It (the $750,000 Louisiana Derby) is still a possibility for us,” said trainer Mark Frostad Monday morning at Fair Grounds. “We’ll just keep truckin’ along with him and see how he does leading up to the race.
“Actually, the post position didn’t bother us as much as it could have,” said Frostad of the Risen Star disappointment. “Robby (Albarado, jockey) did a good job getting him over as quick as he did, but he had to use him a little bit and then he got knocked around some. Basically, our horse (Hotep) was done at the head of the stretch. We’ll see how he trains before we make a (Louisiana Derby) decision.
The racing world eagerly awaits the April 9th showdown between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom Handicap. Could Woodbine-based Careless Jewel be in the mix?
Careless Jewel working at Woodbine
ESPN's Claire Novak wrote about the possible contenders for the big event which include Venezuelan phenom Bambera as well as Just Jenda and Stardom Bound.
... Careless Jewel, whose 5-race string of victories last year included a win in the Aug. 22 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) and in the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park in October. But the speedy Tapit filly hasn't raced since that eighth-place finish in the Ladies' Classic last November, which she lost after bolting on the backstretch and opening up a seven-length lead to the final turn. She had her first work back from a winter off on Feb. 15 at Palm Meadows, and a 1/18-mile competition against Rachel and Zenyatta is hardly the desirable place for a season debut.
"We'll nominate to the race," trainer Josie Carroll said. "At this point, we've got time. And then we have some decisions we'll have to make."
Nominations for the race close on March 10, from which Oaklawn officials will choose eight to invite to the Apple Blossom.
The clockers are busy at Woodbine recording workouts on the dirt training track which means the 2010 Queen's Plate Contenders are shaking off the cobwebs.
Here are a few of the recent workouts:
* Grittani breezed 3F in 37.80 on the Payson Park dirt track on Feb 27th
Owner: Jam Jar Racing Stable - Breeder: Larry Spindler - Trainer: John A. Ross - Jockey:
Grittani was a winner Jul 28 over Old Bud and Hood Point at just 4 1/2F.
* Kid Canuck breezed 2F in 26 flat on the Woodbine dirt training track on March 1
Owner: John A. Richter - Breeder: Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey - Trainer: Steve Attard - Jockey: Chantal Sutherland
Kid Canuck edged Battle Royal in a six furlong $50K Claiming Race last summer at Woodbine. Battle Royal had the lead, but couldn't hold off Kid Canuck. Kid Canuck has run eight times, recording 3 wins, 2 thirds, and earnings of $116,096.
* Dixie Trouper worked 5F in 1:10.80 handily on the All Weather Track at Santa Anita on March 1
Owner: David A. Ross - Breeder: Josham Farms Limited - Trainer: Michael V. Pino - Jockey: Patrick Husbands
Dixie Trouper broke his maiden on September 27 sprinting to the wire ahead of Loveyouallthetime and Spirit Flying.
*Forever Awesome breezed 4F in 51.90 on the Palm Meadows turf on March 1
*Forever Awesome breezed 4F in 50.90 on the Palm Meadows turf on Feb 22.
Owner: Stronach Stables - Breeder: Adena Springs - Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher - Jockey: Patrick Husbands
The Adena colt has tried the turf three times winning first out at Delaware going 1M70 to capture a $38K MSW. That win came over a Milwaukee Brew horse by the name of Thunder Brew. Subsequent 9th and 8th place finishes in the Cup & Saucer and a Jan 13/10 Gulstream N1X Allowance leaves a little to be desired. The Awesome Again colt has the talent but remains to be seen how he will handle the Woodbine poly.
*Abogado worked 3F in 39.80 breezing on the Woodbine dirt training track on March 2.
Owner: Fieldstone Farms, Inc. - Breeder: Clarity Stables - Trainer: Analisa M. Delmas - Jockey: Tyler Pizarro
Abogado broke his maiden on the overnight October 21, 2009 travelling 1M16th on the Woodbine poly to defeat Wun Mo Wound and Lets Kickit. The Delmas charge swooped from last to first in a thrilling stretch run for the victory.
There's a long way to go before any of the serious local prep races for the Queen's Plate, but it's good to keep track of who is training locally towards the million-dollar race.
Are you looking for one to watch?
With Sam-Son Farms splitting their horses between trainers Malcolm Pierce and Mark Frostad, punters must pay close attention to the results not to miss out on a potential Queen's Plate contender.
On February 21st at Fair Grounds, Pierce sent out Cognashene in a 1 1/16M $39K MSW on the turf. Cognashene got caught inside most of the way and then had a brutal stretch run going greenly down the lane with a weaving runner in front of him. Cognashene straightened out late and got up for show. This is one to watch.
Cognashene a troubled third on the turf
Finally, it's not Woodbine related but it sure is fun to watch Presious Passion race. With a trademark front-running style, Presious Passion rockets out of the gate and dares the closers to come and get him.
The seven-year-old captured Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park over Winchester. As always, the well-liked and well-bet horse, charged to the lead and refused to be caught in the mile and three eighths event. If you watch the length of the video, you can enjoy Presious Passion digging in to win the gallop out as well. Talk about competitive!
Up next, Presious Passion has been invited to run in the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan Race Course on March 27.
Presious Passion wins the Mac Diarmada
The promised photo essay from my Sunday adventure to the Woodbine backstretch will arrive tomorrow morning.