With International weekend behind us it's time to focus on the talented Woodbine locals racing both at home and on the road.
Chantal Sutherland hopes to scratch out a victory with Kitty in a Tizzy
Saturday's seven furlong Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland will feature three horses with ties to Woodbine. The 2009 Sovereign award winning Negligee slips into her finest to take on a full field of fourteen. Her last win came in the 2009 G1 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland.
Jim and Susan Hill's Ontario-bred Platinum Exchange is being sent out by trainer Brian Lynch and will leave the gate from the inside-most post. The filly was in fine form earlier this season in sprint races before being shelved.
Also making the trip is Kitty in a Tizzy who made her last three starts at Woodbine, including second-place finishes in the Selene and Duchess. Chantal Sutherland will make the trip to Keeneland for the mount.
The field for the Raven's Run
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Platinum Exchange (ON), K J Desormeaux, 117, B A Lynch
2. Katy Now (KY), G K Gomez, 117, T A Pletcher
3. Distorted Promise (KY), J Alvarado, 117, E R Reed
4. Negligee (KY), M Mena, 117, J P Terranova II
5. Tremendamente Loca (KY), P Morales, 117, T E Hamm
6. Hilda's Passion (KY), C J Lanerie, 117, T A Pletcher
7. Chantilly Nayla (KY), R Albarado, 117, W M Catalano
8. Red Hot Buddha (KY), J Graham, 119, T M Amoss
9. Beautician (KY), J R Leparoux, 117, K G McPeek
10. Decelerator (KY), S Bridgmohan, 117, D W Lukas
11. Kitty in a Tizzy (KY), C Sutherland, 117, H J Bond
12. My Irish Girl (FL), I Ocampo, 117, J Ness
13. Much Rejoicing (KY), A Garcia, 117, J J Toner
14. Speedy Spice (KY), W Martinez, 117, W B Calhoun
For more on the Raven's Run click into this Blood-Horse.Com preview:
Sovereign Stable’s Negligee, who scored her biggest career win at Keeneland in the 2009 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I), was one of a full field of 14 drawn for the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (gr. II) Oct. 23.
The seven-furlong sprint on Polytrack drew an evenly-matched group of 3-year-old fillies. The Raven Run highlights the weekend stakes action at Keeneland, which will card 10 races on Saturday.
Trained by John Terranova II, Negligee has not won since taking the Alcibiades last fall. She made her three most recent starts on turf and is coming off a sixth-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Garden City (gr. IT) at Belmont Sept. 18. The Northern Afleet filly finished seventh behind Evening Jewel in the Central Bank Ashland (gr. I) in April in her last start at Keeneland.
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A small field has been assembled for Saturday’s $125,000 Bunty Lawless Stakes. The one mile turf stakes is shaping up as a bit of a match race between Rahy's Attorney and Sand Cove. The Ian Black trained Rahy's Attorney won the 2007 and 2009 versions of this event while Sand Cove notched a victory in 2008. Queen's Plate starter Mobthewarrior along with Guipago and Race for Gold fill out the field.
Rahy's Attorney gets a bit of a workout under exercise rider Tyler Gaskin
A win would put Rahy's Attorney just a few dollars shy of the $2M mark in career earnings. Rahy’s Attorney is being reunited with Slade Callaghan, who rode the champ in the 2008 Woodbine Mile. Sand Cove is enjoying a stellar campaign with three stakes wins in seven outings for trainer Roger Attfield.
The potentially soft turf course would appear to favour Rahy's Attorney over a firm-favouring Sand Cove for the win and the wet weeds might even allow Guipago into the picture off a nice win in the Halton Stakes over Society's Chairman.
Is Guipago an upset possibility?
Post / Horse / Jockey / Trainer
1 / Rahy’s Attorney / Slade Callaghan / Ian Black
2 / Mobthewarrior / Emile Ramsammy / Greg de Gannes
3 / Guipago / Justin Stein / Analisa Delmas
4 / Sand Cove / Richard Dos Ramos / Roger Attfield
5 / Race for Gold / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Robert Tiller
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The DRF's Bill Tallon reported that 2010 Queen's Plate winner Big Red Mike might be in line for a turf start - but it appears the connections have decided that the soft turf is not a good place to try their big horse.
Queen’s Plate winner Big Red Mike, who finished sixth when returning from a two-month absence in the Ontario Derby, has been entered in Saturday’s Autumn Stakes prep for 3-year-olds and upward but also was nominated for Sunday’s $100,000 Mobil, an overnight stakes for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds.
The Autumn Stakes prep is a 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race, and the Mobil is at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Big Red Mike has never run on turf.
“We were kind of in a difficult position,” said trainer Nick Gonzalez. “I wanted to try him on turf, but I’m a little apprehensive about the weather. I don’t want to run him on soft turf.”
BIG RED MIKE! He's running his eyeballs out!!
Gonzalez also was cognizant of the fact that Stormy Lord, a front-running type, could make the like-minded Big Red Mike’s task difficult in the Mobil. Also expected for the Mobil are Hotep, Cognashene, Archon, and Riley Ripasso.
The Mobil presents Woodbine 'cappers with yet another small, but quality, field of turfers led by an Ian Black trainee. Stormy Lord was third, beaten just a length, in his last start - the G3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park going nine furlongs over firm ground. The horse they call Chihuahua has a record of two wins, two seconds and a third in six starts this campaign.
Look at those whiskers! The nippy Stormy Lord!
The competition will be provided by a pair of Sam-Son Farm stars - namely, the Queen's Plate favoured Hotep and stablemate Cognashene. Hotep finished third in his recent Ontario Derby outing behind Kentucky-breds Stately Victor and So Elite.
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer
1 Riley Ripasso (ON) C Sutherland 119 D England
2 Hotep (ON) P Husbands 121 M R Frostad
3 Cognashene (ON) E R Da Silva 119 M Pierce
4 Stormy Lord (ON) J McAleney 121 I Black
5 Archon (ON) J C Jones 117 K Attard
So, instead of seeing Big Red Mike on the turf in Sunday's Mobil S. we'll see him on Saturday instead in a field of older unrestricted horses:
P# PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1 Palladio (FL) R A Dos Ramos 120 R L Attfield 2/1
1A 5 Tutti Buona Gente E R Da Silva 120 R L Attfield 2/1
2 2 Big Red Mike (ON) L Contreras 120 N Gonzalez 8/1
3 3 Pool Play (ON) P Husbands 120 M E Casse 4/1
4 4 Perfect Bullet (KY) J C Jones 120 S Smullen 12/1
5 6 Stunning Stag (ON) G Olguin 120 S C Attard 9/5
6 7 Village Drive (KY) O Moreno 115 R Baker 6/1
Sunday's Woodbine card will also feature the Fanfreluche Stakes where six Ontario-bred fillies will duel six panels on the polytrack.
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer
1 Inglorious (ON) C Sutherland 115 J Carroll
2 Magical Merry (ON) L Contreras 117 M V Pino
3 Medabuck (ON) J McAleney 120 T Jordan
4 Dreamy Moonlite (ON) J Stein 117 J Staples
5 Weekend Romance (ON) P Husbands 117 C Day Phillips
6 Lassair (ON) G Olguin 115 C M Costigan
A few interesting news items buzzed through my inbox in the past few days that are well worth sharing.
Say hello to my little friend!
Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva and his good friend Alexandrea Tersigni made headlines in Lifestyle Magazine under the headline of Trackside Hugs - A surprising friendship is changing lives on and off the racetrack:
In attendance of Canada’s most prestigious horse race this year was Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, both of whom da Silva met after winning the race. But the one person he was most excited to see was his biggest fan — 17-year-old Alexandrea Tersigni. Tears were streaming down her cheeks while she stood trackside, waiting to give her favourite jockey his customary post-race hug.
Alexandrea did not always show this amount of love and excitement. Her father, Enzo Tersigni, says that when Alexandrea was growing up she was reserved and shy. “She did things by herself a lot, didn’t interact with other kids too much… As she got older, she still maintained that level,” he says.
Alexandrea has faced countless complications since she was born. She suffers from cerebral palsy, seizures, learning difficulties, circulatory problems, Tourette syndrome, lupus and anxiety.
Her parents hoped that by bringing Alexandrea to the horse races, it might help her become more lively. So on a Wednesday night in 2007, her father brought her to Woodbine Racetrack. As she was looking through the program, an exotic name caught her eye.
Another interesting piece comes courtesy of the Montreal Gazette entitled, Secretariat's strides unmatched:
In the more than four decades that I've been playing the ponies, I've only held on to one winning ticket.
I still have it, a stiff, blue $2 win ticket tucked in a Woodbine program from Oct. 28, 1973, date of the 36th running of the Canadian International Championship Stakes. Secretariat's last race.
We were more than 35,000 crowded into the Toronto track on that cold, miserably drizzly day, to see the horse hailed as the greatest modern thoroughbred, one whose name is back in the news with the release this month of a big-budget Disney movie revisiting his story and legacy.
For those of us who follow racing and know the story well (maybe too well), Secretariat the movie is a tad schlocky, with a simplistic script and cardboard characterizations, none worse than an over-the-top John Malkovich as Secretariat's French-Canadian trainer, Lucien Laurin.
But I can't be too mad at a movie that puts increasingly scarce attention and a generally favourable light on the sport that over the years has provided me with more hours of entertainment, thrills and excitement than any other.
And a little bit of bittersweet news as the excellent ten year-old Cloudy's Knight was retired. ESPN reports:
Cloudy's Knight has been retired after an old injury flared up, ending a terrific racing career in which the 10-year-old gelding earned more than $2.5 million, was voted a champion in Canada, and barely missed winning a Breeders' Cup event.
"We finally made the decision that the time has come," said Jonathan Sheppard, the Hall of Fame trainer who scratched Cloudy's Knight from Thursday's Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland. "We tried to bring him back, but the leg flared up again. We went as far as we could with him."
Bred and owned by Shirley and Jerrold Schwartz, Cloudy's Knight won 14 of 42 starts and earned $2,547,835 while being named the Sovereign Award winner for older turf male in Canada in 2007, when he won the Grade 1 Canadian International. Most of the gelding's career was spent in Chicago with trainer Frank Kirby. After incurring an injury following his final start of 2008, Cloudy's Knight ran the last six races of his career for Sheppard, winning four, all stakes, while also finishing second by a nose in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita.
Cloudy's Knight wins the 2007 Canadian International
How about this cool little video of NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens visiting with the super mare Zenyatta.
Terrell Owens and Zenyatta - OakTree
Read the story behind the video NFL star Terrell Owens visits Zenyatta:
Terrell Owens has a photo of Zenyatta on his cell phone. He's got a bunch more of the undefeated star mare on his digital camera, too.
The NFL star wide receiver had a free Sunday this past weekend as his Cincinnati Bengals had the week off, and Owens spent 30 minutes on an overcast afternoon on the Hollywood Park backstretch at trainer John Shirreffs' barn. The focus of the trip was an opportunity to meet Zenyatta, the two-time champion and winner of 19 races.
Owens, 36, was given a personal tour of the stable by Shirreffs. When led to Zenyatta's stall, Owens snapped several pictures of the 6-year-old mare in her stall before Shirreffs handed Owens a carrot and invited him to feed it to her.
"How do I do that?" Owens said. He placed the carrot in his palm, and it was gone as quickly as it was presented to Zenyatta. A moment later, Owens, a formidable presence himself dressed casually in a white T-shirt and Bermuda shorts, saw Zenyatta's size as she was led out of her stall toward a patch of grass outside the barn.
"Oh my God, she's huge," Owens said as she was led away.
And if you really want to argue about horse racing then read this story by Jeremy Plonk, Who has Zenyatta beaten? and decide for yourself if Zenyatta is good, great or the best ever:
Even the most staunch supporters of Zenyatta, and put me at the fore as I think she'll win the Classic for the second straight year, must admit that this will be, by far, her toughest test. Forget the discussion about the dirt surface. The hurdles left for Zenyatta to climb are horses like Lookin At Lucky, Quality Road and Blame. Just how good are those three? To me, they are far and away the three best main-track horses Zenyatta will have raced against in her career.
See where you think they would rank among the competition she's faced in her career. I've ranked Zenyatta's 19 best opponents over her 19-race winning streak. As you'll see, there are a lot of horses she dispatched in her memorable 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic win. Female runners (fillies/mares) are denoted with the (f).
Reading that list of nineteen horses isn't going to help boost her credentials. Zenyatta really needs to win the Breeders' Cup again to stamp out all the neigh-sayers.
For another fun video, check out this little gem from Carolyn Costigan's Arravale Racing page of Bru Boru meeting a rather handsome reflection in the mirror. Click the link to see the video.
And if you missed any of the action last weekend at Woodbine, click into the Pattison Canadian International micro-site for a variety of behind-the-scenes video.
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