Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2010 Queen's Plate Contenders Return To Action

With the 2011 Queen's Plate Winterbook recently released and a new Woodbine campaign set to get underway in a few short weeks, I'll soon be updating my own list of Queen's Plate contenders and providing in-depth profiles. However, it was a pair of 2010 Canadian Triple Crown runners that caught my eye in the Gulfstream entries this evening - - Brian Lynch's Prince of Wales winner Golden Moka and Roger Attfield's Mobilizer.

Mobilizer enjoying the sunshine at Woodbine

Golden Moka is entered in a one mile dirt allowance facing just five other entrants. Mike Welsch penned the following piece for the Daily Racing Form:

Golden Moka won Fort Erie’s Prince of Wales Stakes by nearly three lengths in his 3-year-old and North American debut before being a bit overmatched and finishing fifth in both the Grade 2 Super Derby and Grade 3 Discovery Handicap during the fall. Trainer Bryan Lynch had Golden Moka pointed to Calder’s Grade 3 Fred Hooper in December, only to have the son of Golden Missile fall seriously ill several weeks before the race.

“At first, we thought he was having a colic attack, but it turned out to be a perforated ulcer that had flared up,” Lynch said. “He was terribly sick but fortunately did not require surgery, although it cost us the entire month of December.”

Golden Moka has had a half-dozen works at Palm Meadows, five at five furlongs and the last at six panels, since being able to return to serious training. Lynch is eager to get his season off to a good start Wednesday.

“He’s been breezing well, and it’s time to get him back on track,” Lynch said. “If he shows in this race he’s heading in the right direction, then we’ll point toward the Alysheba.”

The race will also feature a fellow Adena Springs bred horse - Hunters Bay - who is trained by Reade Baker.

Golden Moka chillin' in his Woodbine stall

Mobilizer, yet another Adena Springs bred colt, is taking a different approach on his return to the track by switching to the turf. The son of Motivator will take on a field of twelve traveling a mile under jockey Javier Castellano. Mike Welsch must be enjoying his Canadian focus this week, having penned yet another piece for the Daily Racing Form on the Attfield trainee who failed to perform in the Queen's Plate:

“He did some muscle damage over his quarters over his back during the race and we had to put him away for quite a while,” said trainer Roger Attfield.

Mobilizer, who had finished second, beaten just a half-length, by eventual Queen’s Plate winner Big Red Mike in the Plate Trial, made all five previous starts over synthetic tracks, the last four at Woodbine. But Attfield is confident he will like the turf even better.

“I always thought he’d be a better turf horse and his pedigree suggests that as well,” said Attfield. “He’s been training extremely well up here at Payson on the grass.”

Attfield will also remove the blinkers he put on Mobilizer for the Queen’s Plate when he opens his 2011 campaign on Thursday.

“He’d run a couple of races where it looked like he would win and hung a little including the Trial, and he seemed to be a bit more aggressive, upside a horse when we worked him in blinkers before the Queens Plate,” explained Attfield. “But he’s been working so much better this year without them I see no reason to start off with them, especially since we’re really not sure in the first place whether they’ll actually help or not. I think he’s matured into a stronger, better horse than last year but you’re never really sure until the gate opens.”

Hollinger, another Attfield Plate contender from the 2010 campaign, is back working having recorded three turf works at Payson Park. The most recent effort saw the son of BLACK MINNALOUSHE breeze four furlongs in 49 flat.

Hollinger is getting back to business

A pair of Mike Keogh trainees, Artic Fern and Mobil Unit, who were factors on the 2010 Canadian Triple Crown trail are working at Aiken. The duo put up carbon copy works of four furlongs in 51 flat on March 3rd and appear to be working steadily for the 2011 campaign.

I'll keep an eye on these top horses as they make their return to Woodbine later in the meet.

I hope Artic Fern will be cleaning up at Woodbine in 2011

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Chantal Sutherland is featured in the Thoroughbred Times

The Thoroughbred Times posted a quick interview with jockey Chantal Sutherland in their regular feature, Five Minutes With ...sponsored by Pin Oak Stud:

What do you think is the best racing movie?
So far, Secretariat. I think “Luck,” the new TV show that is coming out, people are really going to like it because they are trying really hard to be very accurate. I think David Milch is just brilliant

What’s on your iPod?
Right now, my two favorite songs are Adele, from her new CD 21, it’s “He Won’t Go,” and I like the new song from Bon Iver, “Skinny Love.”

What is the last book you read?
I’m reading a book right now about the cosmos and the universe; I have this weird fascination with the universe and the galaxy

What is your favorite TV show?
It’s crazy, but I kind of like “Two and a Half Men”

Did you enjoy your experience on the show ‘Jockeys’?
Yes, I did. It kind of sped up my relationship with Mike [Smith] and myself. It was hard at times, but I was very proud of the show. I think all of us jockeys worked very hard to show a beautiful side of racing that exists.

Did you feel like that show was an accurate portrayal of life as a jockey?
I think everyone was pretty real. That’s how it is and that’s how we are.

What are your best attributes as a rider?
I think I have a strong mind, I think every race well. … I work out at the gym really hard and it’s helped me be a better finisher. And I’m quiet. I try to stay out of the horse’s way and go with the flow.

Click the link above to read the quirky interview.

* * *

BC-based New Stride Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation recently hosted a successful open house and were featured in a recent edition of The Surrey Now who spoke with New Stride volunteer Kalyn Chalupa:

Chalupa currently has two horses -- Regal Isolation (aka Johnny), and Glo. Chalupa has a prospective adopter for Glo, but she's keeping Johnny, who has "paid his way," having won several races in his time.

"He just lost interest in racing," Chalupa explained. "He wasn't too old, he's only five, he just lost interest in racing and now I'm going to keep him. I think he'll be a really great show horse."

Chalupa's into jumping.

"So Johnny's going to go on to do that."

Glo is a three-year-old who came into New Stride as a yearling, after her owners weren't able to care for her.

"Many of the trainers at the racetrack, they put the well-being of the horse ahead of financial gain for themselves and will often give them to good homes," Chalupa noted.

"When they put them into the New Stride program they don't receive any money for them."

She said trainers try very hard to find new homes for these horses.

"It's a top priority for them.

New Stride Director Kim Inglis with Yoodaman

* * *

Congratulations are in order to Woodbine Entertainment Group who have won a Gold Business Award:

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) was honoured today for its commitment to corporate achievement and social responsibility with the prestigious Century International Quality ERA Gold Award for QC100 Total Quality Management. This award is presented by "Business Initiative Directions" (BID), the leader in worldwide quality culture recognition by business leaders from 49 countries representing some of the 500 most successful companies in the world.

The QC100 Total Quality Management model is a quality-centered, customer focused, team-driven, senior management-led process to achieve an organization's strategic imperatives through continuous improvement. The model allows companies to improve capability, efficiency and maximize results which lead to better decisions and reduced costs.

The award, which was presented in Geneva, Switzerland, was accepted on WEG's behalf by Jane Holmes, the company's Vice-President of Corporate Affairs.

"WEG is honoured to receive this international recognition of our business practices and corporate social responsibility ideals," said Nick Eaves, WEG's President and Chief Executive Officer. "It is a well deserved tribute to the commitment of our management team and staff to improving all aspects of our business operations."

This prestigious award, given to leaders by leaders, is sponsored by 26 media publications, all oriented towards change and market trends. These publications are focused on innovation, growing brand, technology, new products as well as business news and finance.

* * *

An important press release from Hastings Racecourse announces that they will be raising purses and LOWERING TAKEOUT for the 2011 campaign. Their press release states:

Overnight purses are increasing by 19% and stakes horses will compete for 23% more with the retooled 41-race stakes schedule. An unprecedented 15 per cent takeout for followers of Hastings racing; resulting in increased payoffs for Win, Place and Show wagering. Added to the lower WPS takeouts are the Pick 4 Wager and the newly added Pick 5 Wager which will be a jackpot-type bet. Both will feature a low 15% takeout.

That's good news for handicappers and horsemen alike.

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There are plenty of Woodbine trainers keeping busy in the off season 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.

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