Thursday, June 3, 2010

Woodbine Weekend Preview and the Top 10 Queen's Plate Contenders

An exciting weekend coming up as the Belmont Stakes will be run on Saturday completing the third leg of the U.S Triple Crown. I'll be posting selections for the Belmont on Saturday morning.

Locally, one of the highlights of the Woodbine weekend will be Saturday's G3 Eclipse Stakes for four year olds and upward routing a mile and a sixteenth on the polytrack. Canadian champion Fatal Bullet stretches out for this event that includes nine other seasoned horses.

Southdale moves from a sprint win to a route in the Eclipse

I am very curious to see how 2009 Queen's Plate contender Southdale will handle this tough field that includes a G1 winner in Mast Track and Sovereign award winner Palladio.

Fatal Bullet will have a new jockey on Saturday

It is also interesting to note a jockey switch on Fatal Bullet who will be piloted by Gerry Olguin rather than Eurico Rosa da Silva. Stunning Stag will have the benefit of Da Silva's services for the Eclipse Stakes.

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Fatal Bullet (FL) 5/G L G Olguin 117 R Baker 7/2
2 Mast Track (KY) 6/H L* L Contreras 121 S Smullen 9/2
3 Pool Play (ON) 5/H L P Husbands 121 M E Casse 6/1
4 Tierra Del Tigre (KY) 4/C L D Clark 117 G Cox 20/1
5 Ice Bear (ON) 6/G L C Sutherland 121 M Benson 5/2
6 Palladio (FL) 8/H L R A Dos Ramos 123 R L Attfield 15/1
7 Southdale (ON) 4/C L E Wilson 117 I Black 8/1
8 Stunning Stag (ON) 6/G L E R Da Silva 117 S C Attard 10/1
9 Awesome Rhythm (KY) 4/C L J McAleney 119 J A Ross 20/1
10 Sligovitz (ON) 5/H L J C Jones 117 R L Attfield 12/1

Saturday's feature is the G2 Nassau Stakes which will see the return of Rainbow View to Woodbine. The filly finished second to Lahaleeb in last year's E.P. Taylor Stakes. This one mile turf event also includes 2009 Canadian champion turf female Points of Grace, multiple G3 winner Caribbean Sunset and Roger Attfield's Miss Keller.

The gorgeous Rainbow View returns to Woodbine on Saturday

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Closeout (FL) 5/M L J L Castanon 120 T F Proctor 10/1
2 Miss Keller (IRE) 4/F L* E R Da Silva 116 R L Attfield 4/1
3 Points of Grace (KY) 5/M L L Contreras 122 M Pierce 6/1
4 Carribean Sunset (IRE) 5/M L J Valdivia, Jr. 118 C Clement 5/2
5 Missit (IRE) 5/M L J C Jones 116 R L Attfield 12/1
6 Rainbow View (KY) 4/F L P Husbands 125 J E Sheppard 8/5
7 Simply Splendid (KY) 5/M L C Sutherland 118 G Cox 8/1

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There are a few races this weekend that will feature potential Queen's Plate contenders.

Roman Games is entered for a $40K tag in Saturday's second race going seven furlongs on the polytrack. This one needs a big race to stay in contention for the Queen's Plate to be held on July 4th. The Paul Attard trainee is the 5/2 favourite. To see the entries, please CLICK HERE.

The improving Artic Fern is entered in Saturday's fourth race which is a tough $76K Allowance mile and a sixteenth polytrack route versus older foes. To see the entries, please CLICK HERE.

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Good General (FL) 4/G L $0 E Ramsammy 123 G de Gannes 2/1
2 Artic Fern (ON) 3/G L $0 D Clark 118 M Keogh 3/1
3 Catch the Luck (ON) 5/G L $60,000 E Wilson 121 R Armata, Jr. 6/1
4 Bronze Barbarian (AB) 4/G L $0 R E Simard 123 C Christoffersen 15/1
5 True Metropolitan (FL) 8/G L $62,500 J McAleney 123 T Jordan 9/5
6 Kennisis River (KY) 4/G L $60,000 T Pizarro 121 D J Vella 8/1

Artic Fern will be looking for a little more treasure at the end of the rainbow this weekend

The in form Dark Cloud Dancer tries a mile and an eighth turf allowance in Sunday's third race. To see the entries, please CLICK HERE.

Sunday will also see a field of eleven sprint six furlongs on the lawn in the Bold Ruckus Stakes. A bevy of these three year-olds have been considered as Plate contenders at some point but are now sprinting on the turf. To see the entries, please CLICK HERE.

Bold Ruckus Stakes
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer
1 Bold Canadian (ON) 3/G L L Contreras 117 S M Asmussen
2 Dashing Tom (ON) 3/C L T Pizarro 117 R Baker
3 Legal Review (ON) 3/C L P Husbands 121 M E Casse
4 Abruptly (ON) 3/G L G Olguin 117 D C MacRae
5 Knave of Hearts (KY) 3/G L O Moreno 117 D Cotey
6 It's Time Bear (ON) 3/G L E Ramsammy 117 R Baker
7 Arepeatee (ON) 3/G L E R Da Silva 119 R P Tiller
8 Mobil Unit (ON) 3/G L J C Jones 117 M Keogh
9 Grittani (ON) 3/C L E Wilson 119 J A Ross
10 Doctor Jack (ON) 3/C L J McAleney 117 I Black
11 Race for Gold (ON) 3/C L C Sutherland 119 R P Tiller

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The latest issue of Down The Stretch newspaper is at the track! This edition features Peter Redekop (owner of Hollywood Hit), hot filly Embur's Song and a list of the Top 25 horses for the North America Cup and Queen's Plate!

Here's a sampling of what you'll find in the Queen's Plate list compiled, in part, by yours truly and DTS editor Peter Gross.

*Please note that this list was compiled a little over a week ago. Those readers interested in the latest Queen's Plate news should click on the link and visit my 2010 Queen's Plate Contenders page which includes the latest rankings, results, workouts and much, much more.

1. Hotep: Trainer Mark Frostad is trying to make lightning strike twice with Hotep, a full brother to last year’s Plate Champ, Eye of the Leopard. A son of A.P. Indy out of Eye of the Sphinx, Hotep has a huge fitness edge, as he raced four times at the Fair Grounds this winter, before a most impressive win by more than three lengths in the Wando Stakes at Woodbine at a mile and a sixteenth. Hotep won at a mile and forty yards at the Fair Grounds and then was beaten badly in the Risen Star Stakes and the nine-furlong Louisiana Derby, but the Sam-Son colt sure looked good in his first 2010 race at Woodbine.

Hotep tops the list of contenders

2. Hollinger: The 2009 two year-old champ lost some luster with an uninspired fourth place finish as the 3-4 favourite in the $150,000 Queenston Stakes at Woodbine on May 15. Trained by Roger Attfield and ridden by Tyler Pizarro, the Harvey and Robert Wortzman colt will have to bounce back and show he’s ready to go a mile and a quarter.

3. D’s Wando: Ian Black trains this son of 2003 Triple Crown winner Wando. In two consecutive Stakes races this spring, D’s Wando has not been able to catch up with the speedy Essence Hit Man. In the Woodstock Stake on April 25, Emma-Jayne Wilson had him closing in to be second at six furlongs and on May 15 in the Queenston Stakes, D’Wando was again coming late, but could only finish third. Maybe he wants to go long.

Emma-Jayne Wilson and D's Wando will be closing like a train

4. Artic Fern: Mike Keogh proved with Wando that you don’t need to train a closer to win the Queen’s Plate. Artic Fern broke his maiden impressively on the engine over the promising Sam-Son Farm colt Dark Cloud Dancer – that one would go on to in his next start. On May 23rd jockey David Clark would guide Artic Fern to a two-turn allowance win over the promising Mobilizer proving the Langfuhr colt can handle the distance. "I was very pleased with it, he did all the donkey work," smiled an amused Keogh following that race. "He's still a little green but he galloped out very well."

The frisky Mobilizer will be a force to be reckoned with

5. Mobilizer: This Stronach Stables colt injected himself into the Queen’s Plate equation with a gusty nose victory in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth at Woodbine on May 8. Jockey Jono Jones and trainer Roger Attfield paired up two years ago to take the Plate with Not Bourbon. Mobilizer was edged recently by fellow contender Artic Fern but the lightly raced colt is improving with each start and will benefit from the experience.

6. Giants Tomb. This Awesome Again son opened a lot of eyes with a stunning victory at a mile and fourty yards in March at the Fair Grounds, but a third place finish in an optional claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth has cast some doubt on his credentials. Trained by Mark Frostad for Sam-Son Farm, Giants Tomb has two wins, two seconds and two thirds in nine career races.
Giant's Tomb is trying to find his early 2010 form in time for the Plate

7. Ghost Fleet: Multiple stakes winner Ghost Fleet knows his way to the winners circle. Ghost Fleet broke his maiden on July 19 over Waldheim and Set in Stone at 5 1/2F. Impressive wins in the Vandal over Takiddm and Mobthewarrior and the Swynford over filly Jenny's So Great put this horse on the radar. A close fourth place finish in the Coronation Futurity demonstrated an ability at longer distance as he kept the highly rated - though inexperienced at the time - Hotep a step behind.

8. Stormy Lord: Another trained by Ian Black and his sixth place finish in the Queenston Stakes doesn’t give us a lot to get happy about. Stormy Lord was overhauled in deep stretch by Hollinger in last year’s Coronation Futurity and hasn’t found the winners circle since capturing a seven furlong grass race at 10-1 last August. The Stormy Atlantic colt has plenty of stamina but will have to change his running style to avoid being burned by a hot pace in the Plate.

9. Mobil Unit: This one will have to pick up his game. Mobil Unit, trained by Mike Keogh, has just one maiden-breaking win in seven races and was a well-beaten fifth in a six furlong allowance race on May 9, more than five lengths behind winner Cashinin Ona Dream. This horse might end up being a better turfer and a threat to spoil a potential Triple Crown bid in the Breeders Stakes.

Trainer Mike Keogh has a pair of contenders in Mobil Unit (pictured) and Artic Fern

10. Big Red Mike: Emma-Jayne Wilson has already ridden a horse named Mike to a Queen’s Plate win and has a shot to win a second time on this one. Big Red Mike had just one win in four tries by late May, but always seem to play a role in the stretch run. On April 11, he was second by less than a length to Just Call Me Roger at seven furlongs and on May 2, he was third at a mile and 70 yards, a race won by Gold Medallion.

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Congratulations are in order to Sue Leslie who has been named President and Chair of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association taking over the duties of the departing Hec Cloutier:

"Sue is and will continue to be a great asset to OHRIA as President and Chair,” said Hugh Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of Western Fair Association and OHRIA board member. “Sue is extremely passionate about the racing industry, a great listener who is highly principled and she possesses the leadership skills needed for the job.”

Leslie, who has been around horses all her life, has held the position of Chair with OHRIA over the past year.

“I am a big believer in OHRIA and its role as the voice to government and regulators,” said Leslie, a native of Hamilton, Ontario. “My main goal is to keep the industry going forward by building communication and cooperation amongst all sectors of the racing industry.”

Leslie is a prominent fixture on the Canadian horse racing scene, as the President of the local chapter of the H.B.P.A., serving on the board of the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, serving on the board of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, a Steward of the Jockey Club of Canada, along with her career as a thoroughbred trainer and owner.

To learn more about OHRIA, please visit their website.

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TGIF good readers - check back over the weekend for Belmont Stakes selections and keep up-to-date with the latest horse racing news on the Woodbine News page.

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