Standing at the finish line on Saturday I heard more than a few comments about the speedy times. The fast fractions down the backstretch as the wind pushed the field ever forward was fierce. On at least three occasions I heard casual comments about what Hollywood Hit might accomplish with the wind at his back in Sunday's Vigil Stakes.
Well, the horse did not disappoint. The four-year-old son of Cactus Ridge wired the field in speedy sets of 22.08, 43.72 completing his optimal obliteration of seven furlongs in 1:20.07. Fatal Bullet and Signature Red chased in vain.
That record time knocked .44 seconds from Disfunction's mark in the 2008 edition of the Vigil.
Hollywood Hit tops the weekend box office with a track record in the Vigil Stakes
Two Woodbine starts and two stakes wins for Hollywood Hit to open his 2010 campaign. The Terry Jordan trained sprinter is now 6-for-11 with earnings of $322,964.
(For photos of Hollywood Hit and to read about his recent win in the Jacques Cartier Stakes, please CLICK HERE.
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There was another track record set on Sunday when Wes Ward's Madman Diaries captured the opener by 9 3/4 lengths covering four and a half furlongs in a maniacal 51.13 under Jeffrey Sanchez.
Madman Diaries proves he's crazy fast while sprinting to a track record
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Speaking of fast, Careless Jewel breezed 6F in 1:11.20 on Sunday morning. The workout was best of six for the distance.
Careless Jewel is on course to make her next start in the Shuvee at Belmont Park.
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Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to making the odds? If so, I highly recommend this piece by John Scheinman entitled The Linemakers which chronicles the unique stylings of Frank Carulli.
Few people appear to inhabit their work as completely as Carulli. It is not hard to visualize him as a youth, nurturing then monopolizing nascent playground betting action.
Carulli never could be accused of sleeping on the job, but he often sleeps at the job. His office closet at Pimlico bears witness to this, storing a shaving kit, mouthwash and other assorted manly toiletries.
His physique could be described as comfortably stout, which is to say portly. This shape traces to family genes and a predisposition to rich food, but Carulli is in solid health. The worn belt of the treadmill in his Laurel Park office will attest to that. Many evenings after live racing ends, he works up a terrific sweat behind closed doors, the machine’s engine grinding beneath the simulcast sounds from a South American track or Penn National.
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Heather Clay, who grew up at Three Chimneys horse farm, wrote an excellent entry in New York Times "The Rail" detailing her thoughts on the Triple Crown and horse racing. The post is entitled Losing Charlotte after her novel of the same name.
And so it is, on a much larger scale, during Triple Crown season. What’s real: to root a beloved horse down the track, whether it’s yours in reality or in fantasy. This must be one of the more gut-twisting, joyful, terrifying, improbably poignant, fireworks-in-your-solar-plexus moments it is possible to experience as a human. I don’t know why and it doesn’t make sense, but if you’ve been there as a participant at any level, you know: you are wholly alive, in the moment, and electrified with possibility.
You can order Clay's novel by CLICKING HERE.
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If you're a writer looking for an angle, a commenter on this post regarding opening day at Assiniboia Downs has a novel idea.
"Why not mention the rare situation where husband and wife jockeys finished 1st and 2nd in a race on opening day?"
Lo and behold, Vicky Baze won the fifth race with Rum Customer, and as the saying sorta goes "behind every good woman is a man" and there was husband Gary Baze in second aboard Exitoneonine.
Last one to the winners circle has to do the dishes!
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There were a few notable Queen's Plate contenders racing on Sunday's card including Kid Canuck and Mobil Unit who finished second and fifth respectively in Sunday's sixth race.
Kid Canuck swoops to finish second
The tenth race featured workout warrior Mobthewarrior and Who's Big Daddy. Mobthewarrior made a brave move in the stretch and appeared to be headed to victory only to lose in a photo finish to a late gaining Bug's Boy. Who's Big Daddy finished 12th.
If the name Bug's Boy sounds familiar it should. The horse featured in a lawsuit between Simon Husbands and the Ontario Racing Commission. For more details, check out this story by Perry Lefko for the Toronto Star.
Mobthearrior loses a heartbreaking photofinish to Bug's Boy
I will be updating my list of Queen's Plate contenders Tuesday night. For now, here is a list of recent workouts.
* Born to Act breezed 4F in 48.20 on the Woodbine Poly on May 10, 2010. Rank 8/57
* Roman Games worked 6F in 1:13.20 handily on the Woodbine Poly on May 9, 2010. Rank 2/6.
* Dark Cloud Dancer breezed 6F in 1:01.20 on the Woodbine Poly on May 9, 2010. Rank 45/87.
* Stormy Lord breezed 5F in 1:00.20 on the Woodbine Poly on May 9, 2010. Rank 14/87.
* Dashing Tom breezed 5F in 1:00.80 on the Woodbine Poly on May 9, 2010. Rank 27/87.
* Powermouse breezed 5F in 1:03.60 on the Woodbine Poly on May 9, 2010. Rank 82/87.
* D's Wando breezed 5F in 1:02 on the Woodbine Poly on May 9, 2010. Rank 61/87.
* Flim Flam breezed 3F in 40.80 on the Woodbine Poly on May 9, 2010. Rank 21/21.
* Dixie Trouperworked 6F handily in 1:16 on the Santa Anita dirt on May 9, 2010. Rank 1/1.
* Fastin Bear breezed 5F in 59.40 on the Woodbine Poly on May 8, 2010. Rank 3/82
* Southern Pride breezed 5F in 1:00.80 on the Woodbine Poly on May 8, 2010. Rank 19/82
* Ghost Fleet worked 6f handily in 1:12.40 on the Woodbine poly on May 8, 2010. Rank 2/5
* Abogado worked 5F in 50.40 handily on the Woodbine Poly on May 8, 2010. Rank 50/67
* Race for Gold breezed 5F in 1:05 on the Woodbine poly on May 8, 2010. Rank 81/82.
* Kevin Rawks worked 5F in 59 handily on the Woodbine Poly on May 8, 2010. Rank 1/82
* Bold Canadian breezed 4F in 53 on the Keeneland poly on May 8, 2010. Rank 40/40.
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As always, you can catch up on the latest racing news on my Woodbine News tab.