Toronto is hosting the Honda Indy this weekend but those with a need for speed would do much better to travel up the 427 to Woodbine and watch Hollywood Hit and Fatal Bullet do battle in Saturday's Bold Venture Stakes.
Terry Jordan has a loaded gun in Hollywood Hit
The four horse field will speed six and a half furlongs on the red hot Woodbine polytrack in an effort to both win the race and also eclipse Fatal Bullet's track record of 1:14.54. With all due respect to entrants Major Marvel and Smokey Fire, all eyes will be on Fatal Bullet and the lightning fast Hollywood Hit in this event.
Fatal Bullet is ready for his closeup
The Terry Jordan trained Hollywood Hit owns the six furlong (1:07.38) and seven furlong (1:20.07) track records at Woodbine and is on a mission to make the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs. Sovereign Award winning horse of the year Fatal Bullet cuts back in distance and will attempt to run down the front-running Hitman in a rare case of the bullet chasing the gun.
I visited with both Terry Jordan and Leroy Trotman (Assistant to Reade Baker) on Friday morning regarding their two proteges.
The Field for the Bold Venture Stakes - Post-Time 3:31PM EST
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Fatal Bullet (FL) 5/G L E R Da Silva 121 R Baker 8/5
2 Hollywood Hit (OK) 4/G L J McAleney 121 T Jordan 3/5
3 Major Marvel (KY) 4/G L E Ramsammy 117 L Silvera 15/1
4 Smokey Fire (ON) 5/G L E Wilson 119 S C Attard 9/2
TDH: How is Hollywood Hit doing?
TJ: He's training good right now. Hopefully we can keep him together and our ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup.
TDH: Do you have any concerns with only four horses entered in the Bold Venture?
TJ: I'd rather it be one! If they're not in there you don't have to beat them.
You want me to rate? Pffffft!
TDH: You've stretched Hollywood Hit out a bit in distance recently. Is that by design?
TJ: There's no other opportunities. He runs that far with no problem. It's either there or you keep him in the barn or ship him some place. I prefer to keep him here as he's doing well.
TDH: Have you been galloping him on the dirt track in preparation for the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs?
TJ: I've never ran him on the dirt but I think he'll handle it. I don't think it will be a problem.
TDH: Will the goal on Saturday be to take the lead?
TJ: He's a pretty aggressive horse. I would imagine he'll probably want to be on the lead. It's not because i necessarily put him in there, it's just where he wants to be. The gate opens and he's gone. If somebody wants to go after him, i wouldn't like their chances of winning. It might impede us but...
TDH: What changes have you noticed in the horse this season?
TJ: He's bigger and stronger. He's really a strong horse and difficult to gallop. If you don't watch him he'll run off in the mornings.
TDH: What other races are penciled in as you try to make the BC Sprint?
TJ: We have the Phoenix in mind at Keeneland. It's a Win and You're In race. We'll see how we do tomorrow and go from there. I think we'll get in anyway. It hasn't overfilled the last couple of years.
TDH: Who else do you see as competition for the BC Sprint?
TJ: The Asmussen horse...
We take a break and flip through the list of Top Beyer Figures listed in the inside cover of the Daily Racing Form and note that Majesticperfection put up a massive 124 Beyer in the Iowa Sprint. The Steve Asmussen trained horse easily beat Atta Boy Roy and Cash Refund in a time of 1:07.24 for 6f.
It's worth noting that the second best Beyer number under a mile is Hollywood Hit's 117 figure put up on May 9th at Woodbine going seven furlongs in the Vigil Stakes while keeping Fatal Bullet behind him.
TDH: When will owner Peter Redekop finally come to watch his horse run?
TJ: He's coming tonight actually. He's never seen the horse, but he's pretty eager and he'll arrive tonight and be at Woodbine tomorrow.
After our brief chat I asked Jordan if there were any horses in his barn he was excited about and he pointed out the gigantic La Rocca who is a horse in need of a long distance.
La Rocca's come hither look would be a little more beguiling without the hay in her face!
Be sure to add this fily to your watch list. She seemed quite interested in the Woodbine condition book which is a tome Terry Jordan (who is in the money 72% of the time) is fairly familiar with.
Terry Jordan lets his horses pick their spots
* * *
After that interview I sprinted over to Reade Baker's barn to snap some photos of Fatal Bullet and speak to the extremely busy Leroy Trotman who keeps the barn bustling each morning.
Sergio guides Fatal Bullet down the shedrow
TDH: Is the track record going to be broken again on Saturday?
LT: There's a possibility. You've got two of the quickest horses in Toronto running tomorrow.
TDH: Not just Toronto...these two horses could be head-to-head in the BC Sprint!
LT: Definitely and it would be nice to have horses like this representing Canada.
Thank ya, thank ya very much
TDH: How is Fatal Bullet doing?
LT: I'm very happy with him. He's doing good and we're excited to see him come back and run back at this short distance.
TDH: Last time out you finished third in the G3 Eclipse Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth to Southdale. How did that experiment play out.
LT: Sprinting is more his game but you have to experiment. You never know what might happen. He didn't disgrace himself out there either. He ran a very nice race and we're happy with it.
You gotta hold onto this bullet or he'll speed away
TDH: What will you instruct Eurico to do tomorrow?
LT: In our barn that's one thing we don't do. We let jockeys do their job and they let the trainers do their job!
TDH: Where is Reade Baker at the moment?
LT: He's in Kentucky looking to buy some more Fatal Bullets!
*While we talk Trotman is busy shouting out instructions and cracking jokes with grooms, exercise riders and a host of other barn locals. It is a very busy barn and you'll see a lot of RB Maple Leaf saddle cloths on the training track each morning.
TDH: How many horses are you looking after here?
LT: We've got about eighty something going but I enjoy doing it and it's exciting trying to always be on the ball. It's good experience for me to do this on a consistent basis and do it well.
Who you calling a hoser?
TDH: That's no joke. The barn had a huge win last week when Free Fee Lady stunned Embur's Song in the Bison. How did that come about?
LT: The filly was training well going into her first start and she came back and won her second start. We saw there was a very small field so we took a shot and came out on top.
Leroy Trotman and Bison Stakes winner Free Fee Lady
TDH: It was certainly unexpected as Embur's Song is highly rated.
LT: Our's is a good filly too but don't take anything away from Embur's Song.
Wendy leads Fatal Bullet to the walking machine
TDH: Are there any horses here that haven't raced that you're excited to see on track?
LT: We've got some two year-olds here that are rounding into form. We tried twelve of them from the gate last Monday. If i had to pick one we've got Gold Strike's filly coming up . It's her first foal and we're excited to see what she's capable of. She's doing everything we ask of her in the morning.
*That filly is named Lode Lady. To see her pedigree, click this link. Gold Strike won the Debutante S. and Buffalo S at two and as a three year-old won the Selene S. and Woodbine Oaks going on to finish 3rd in the Queen's Plate and garnered honours as Canada's Champion Three Year Old Filly.
And with that our interview ended. Let's hope we get a hot, fast track at Woodbine this afternoon and can enjoy watching a track record fall. Post-time is 3:31Pm EST.
Lode Lady is one to watch for
(And one more Reade Baker trainee to keep an eye on is the Stronach owned Thorn Flower. She's a beauty!)
Thorn Flower's sense of humour hasn't wilted in the heat!
* * *
With the interviews out of the way, I headed back to the main track to take some photos...with a few stops along the way!
(As always, please double left click the photo to enlarge the photo and then use your "Back" button to return to the blog post. Enjoy!)
"Toogie" is back! TripleDeadHeat's favourite Woodbine runner is back after a layoff. Wollemi Pine holds the track record for 1M40yd and the most mints consumed by a single horse in one sitting.
The Woodbine backstretch production of Cats is a little lowkey
Cat lovers interested in reading an excellent piece about cats and horses should click on over to Teresa Genaro's post on Belmont Park's Cat Colonies now online at BrooklynBackstretch.Com.
Eurico Rosa da Silva knows that you don't win the Queen's Plate without putting in some work in the morning
Another busy morning on the Woodbine polytrack
Sometimes a horse just need to watch and get his bearings
Even the horse enjoys watching his fellow equines sprint through the morning routine
Trainer Malcolm Pierce canters on by...
Sam-Son Farms sends out several runners at a time
There's another SSF saddle cloth
* * *
I hope everyone is keeping cool on a hot, muggy Toronto weekend. Expect a few blurry photos in tomorrow's post from the Bold Venture Stakes!