Friday, February 4, 2011

Woodbine News: Omar, Social Media and the Donkey Derby

It may be offseason for Woodbine but there are plenty of interesting stories out there on the web worthy of a click.

Omar Moreno and Red Spartan head to battle

UPDATE: Those not keeping an eye on the Entries/Results page, it's worth noting the following key entries this weekend:

Coronation Futurity winner Strike Oil, bred by Windfields Farms and conditioned by Mark Casse, tries nine furlongs in Saturday's third race at Gulfstream Park

Newly acquired Queen'sPlateKitten goes a mile on the turf for Mill House and new conditioner Todd Pletcher in race six on Saturday at Gulfstream.

Will he be re-named KentuckyDerbyKitten with a win on Saturday?

ON-bred filly Embur's Song, who hit the board in the Oaks and Bison, is the 8/5 favourite in Race 8 at Gulfstream on Sunday

Todd Pletcher looks on as Embur's Song strolls into view

Woodbine's Eclipse Award winning jockey, Omar Moreno, is a popular story. Moreno's heartfelt acceptance speech at the Eclipse Awards endeared him to a lot of folks on the web and he's continuing to be a presence with stories in the Red Deer Advocate who wrote about Moreno's stopover at Olds College, Jockey riding into the record books and again in a Thoroughbred Times bit, Five Minutes With … Omar Moreno. Here's a sample:

Q. Do you have a favorite food?

A. I enjoy steak and lobster, but I love fruits. I would love to go around the world and taste all of the fruits from all of the different places.

Q. So if you were to make dinner for guests, what would be on the menu?

A. Steak with pico de gallo, tortillas, and rice

Q. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

A. When I decided to become a rider and commit myself to it. I wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do at the time, but I took a chance and it has worked out so far.

Steak sounds good. I hope that Woodbine will be consulting with Omar for the menu planning at this year's Sovereign Awards!

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Canadian conditioner Carolyn Costigan captured a few new owners over the offseason as she continues to grow her stable. In a news piece on her excellent website, Carolyn Discusses the Upcoming 2011 Season:

With a focus on well-bred, high-quality horses, each will be meticulously prepared, rather than a 'one size fits all' training program. With this in mind we begin 2011 with 22 two-year olds, each with fresh legs and minds, with the long-term goal of developing them for the classic races as three year olds. In addition, six 3 year olds will be conditioned, including Lisvernane (ARCH), second in the 2010 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, seven 4 year olds and two 5 year olds. Woodbine Oaks winner ROAN INISH returns to action and will be pointed at stakes races south of the border as well as to a number of Canadian turf races throughout the year.

Hands Up!

The Oaks winner, Roan Inish, was pointed at the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga last season before missing out due to a soft-tissue injury. Readers can follow her progress in 2011 as a four-year-old on the highly-interactive Arravale Racing website,on Twitter @ArravaleRacing and on Facebook .

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There are many racing operations making the move to social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Not only is it a great way to market the sport and your product, it's also an efficient way to network within the business. If you need mo' proof on how effective the web can be just read this piece by Jennie Rees, Kentucky Derby favorite Uncle Mo becoming a real social animal on the Internet:

Not only is Uncle Mo the early Derby favorite, he's a social media savant — though owner Mike Repole and marketing rep Kelly Wietsma actually do the Twitter and Facebook postings, which started in earnest after Mo won Belmont's Grade I Champagne before his romping victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

When Mo was crowned 2-year-old champion, his page was flooded with hits and congratulatory comments. Mo was resplendent in his profile picture after the Eclipse dinner, depicting him in his stall wearing a tux.

Follow Centennial Farms on Twitter!

While many folks still make the sour scrunchy face when I bring up Twitter, I firmly believe that social media must be used to grow the fanbase of horse racing. So, I'm happy to welcome a recent addition to the Twitterverse in Centennial Farms - Niagara who are excited about their stallion Laura's Lucky Boy. His first crop are off to the races this year.

As well, Adena Springs are increasing their profile with the Adena Springs Facebook Page which features updates on Stronach Stables runners and photo albums of your favourite Adena Horses.

If there are any Canadian racing outfits (be it media, breeding, racing ops or otherwise) new to Twitter, please send me an email or follow me @TripleDeadHeat.

Mobilizer is motivated to move!

Adena's Facebook page currently highlights the fact that Roger Attfield's Mobilizer, a Queen's Plate contender in 2010, is training up a storm at Payson Park. The Motivator colt has not raced since a disappointing tenth place finish in the Queen's Plate as the post-time favourinte. While he is not currently entered, Mobilizer appears to be back at full speed. Check out the interesting trio of turf bullets, handicappers update your watch lists accordingly!

Payson Park Training Center 2/04/11 Turf 5F 59.60 Breezing Rank 1/9

Payson Park Training Center 1/14/11 Turf 4F 46.80 Breezing Rank 1/10

Payson Park Training Center 1/07/11 Turf 3F 37.00 Breezing Rank 1/1

Payson Park Training Center 12/31/10 Dirt 3F 37.60 Breezing Rank 2/26

Payson Park Training Center 12/24/10 Dirt 3F 38.20 Breezing Rank 1/7

Payson Park Training Center 12/21/10 Dirt 3F 39.60 Breezing Rank 5/7

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Sovereign Award trophy enthusiast Curtis Stock has been allotted $200 to bet on the Pick 6 at Northlands in a charity fundraiser for Big Brothers & Sisters. Stock goes all in on the first leg with a sneaky single.

Northlands has given me $200 to bet the Pick 6 on Friday. If I win the proceeds all go to charity - Big Brothers & Sisters who are having their annual big fund raising Dream Home Lottery.

You have to take a stance on the Pick 6 and mine are Attitudenous in the fourth and Brendons Freedom in the 6th. The former is taking a huge class drop and it's now or never for this guy. Got to think he goes wire-to-wire - same as Brendons Freedom in the 6th. If they are out, outside of one saver ticket, I'll be out too.

So, in the first leg, I'm singling No. 1 Attitudenous.

Good luck Mr. Stock. You can follow Stock on Twitter @CurtisJStock.

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The DRF's Glenye Cain Oakford penned a piece on Zenyatta's two-year-old half sister Eblouissante that's well worthy of a click for those wondering what the Zenyatta/Bernardini pairing will provide. Click on into, Seeing shades of Zenyatta in her half-sister:

The man behind Eblouissante’s pedigree is her breeder and owner, Eric Kronfeld, who also bred Zenyatta. The Mosses have not given many details about why they selected Bernardini for Zenyatta’s first mating, but Kronfeld’s logic for pairing Bernardini with Zenyatta’s dam, Vertigineux, might shed some light on the cross’s appeal.

By A.P. Indy, Bernardini was an unproven sire, but like Zenyatta’s sire, Street Cry (another Darley stallion), he had impressed Kronfeld with his size and racing ability.

“I said, ‘Bernardini is one of the best horses I’ve seen recently, and his Travers at Saratoga was one of the best races I’ve seen,’ ” Kronfeld said. “And I think Quiet American broodmares are just the best things that ever were, ever, on the planet. So what Bernardini is, you have an A.P. Indy out of a Quiet American mare, and that nick fits perfectly.”

Winter Quarter Farm owner Don Robinson, who has managed Kronfeld’s mares for about 25 years, said he likes what he has seen of the Bernardini-Vertigineux cross so far.

“After Zenyatta, I don’t second-guess any of his matings,” Robinson said of Kronfeld.

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Square Eddie, who left life at stud to return to the track, is on course to try the Dubai World Cup according to a Daily Breeze (cool name) piece, Square Eddie no dud in return:

The 5-year-old son of Smart Strike broke Santa Anita's track record for 6 1/2 furlongs Jan. 14 when he rolled to a 3 1/4-length victory in 1:13.11 in his first race in about 12 1/2 months.

His reward?

A date in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in Florida, where he'll tangle with such East Coast heavyweights as I Want Revenge, Fly Down, Rule, Morning Line, Giant Oak and Eldaafer.

Trainer Doug O'Neill and owner Paul Reddam have high hopes for Square Eddie, saying the $10 million Dubai World Cup or the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap could be next for the talented horse if all goes well in the Donn.

"I know Paul, in an ideal world, would love to see him go into the World Cup race being 100 percent fit and ready and really show his true stuff," O'Neill said.

Doug O'Neill and Canadian Paul Reddam after Square Eddie's recent win

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Finally, I'll leave you with a Youtube clip that brought tears to my eyes. It's the 1994 Castletown Donkey Derby. The video features three (tree) youths (utes) racing donkeys around a field in Limerick as the entire town watches with delight. I've had to watch this video a dozen times as each viewing provides something else cracks me up. My favourites include the man with the full pint glass in the middle of the field; our announcers thank you to Castleton Motors for putting up the £40; and the big fella getting dragged about the field by a donkey after hacking about in the bush. This little bit of magic is closing in on 200,000 viewings on Youtube. God bless the Internet.

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There are plenty of Woodbine trainers keeping busy in the offseason so why not click into my Entries/Results page?

Keep track of the latest horse racing news by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page or join in on the conversation by following TripleDeadHeat on Twitter.

Still need more? Check out my archived posts including Feature Stories and Photo Essays.

1 comment:

Dom said...

OMG Donkey derby! *dies*