Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chantal Wins The Big 'Cap

Chantal Sutherland became the first female jockey to win the G1 Santa Anita Handicap when she steered Game On Dude through a controversial stretch run to reach the wire a nose in front of a determined Setsuko. The Bob Baffert trainee captured the ten furlong event in 1:59.47, but it took the stewards a further twelve minutes to confirm the result.

Chantal Sutherland fights to the finish along the rail

(Alex Evers/EquiSport Photos)

Game On Dude, favoured Twirling Candy and Setsuko turned into the stretch in close proximity and a rank Twirling Candy, between horses, clipped the hind end of Game On Dude who faltered and then recovered bumping hard into the favourite who pushed Setsuko wider. Twirling Candy who did not appear to have his usual energy on this day finished fifth.

In the videos below, you can watch the replay of the race and come to your own decision. Needless to say, there was plenty of chatter on Twitter while the stewards reviewed the tape and the great majority of Tweets said Game On Dude was coming down. When the ruling was announced that no changes would be made, The Twitterverse cried foul and the Santa Anita grandstand booed as Game On Dude entered the winners enclosure.

Chantal Sutherland and Game On Dude win the Big Cap

Santa Anita posted an interesting video (see below) of the connections on track following the race as they waited for the announcement. Candid interviews with Baffert, Sutherland and others make for compelling viewing.

Sutherland and trainer Bob Baffert post-race interview

Interesting video indeed as Blood-Horse reports that Setsuko Hurt in Rough Big 'Cap, Mandella Says:

“I said yesterday that I had no comment and I don’t want to drag the game down by saying anything now about the decision the stewards made,” Mandella said.

Mandella was critical of winning trainer Bob Baffert for "trying to talk to the other jockeys and to the stewards" during the deliberation.

“I was trying to be a gentleman and unless the trainer is claiming foul, I just don’t think it’s right that he is trying to talk to the jocks and to the stewards,” he explained.

While I might be Woodbine biased, I believe Sutherland rode an incredible race to stay on the horse when the contact occurred and showed great strength and determination to gather her mount and get to the wire first. That Game On Dude had that much left to give following the altercation was impressive.

Game On Dude paid $31.60 to win; the exactor paid $506.60; the $1 tri paid $10,325.60; and the $1 super returned $48,248.

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Controversy also reigned in the Sandy Lane Gold Cup in Barbados where Zoom was elevated in place of Show Me The Money. The favoured Safety Zone, ridden by Patrick Husbands for owner Eugene Melnyk, finished fifth. Jennifer Morrison was in Barbados and filed a report for the DRF:

In a rarity for the 30-year-old event, the biggest race in the Caribbean, the Barbados-based Show Me the Money, who crossed the wire first at 10-1 odds, was ruled guilty of interfering with another local, 7-2 third choice Apostle, in the early stretch of the race and was demoted to 11th place.

A pair of extreme longshot Barbados runners Bird Watch (50-1) and Charge It (45-1) filled in the second and third spots in the Garrison Savannah's premier race.

The victory by Zoom, a 12-1 shot trained by Eddie Walcott Jr., re-claimed possession of the Gold Cup by a Barbados-based horse, one year after Eugene Melnyk's Canadian-bred Sterwins won the race over American runner Bribon.

Zoom wins the 2011 Sandy Lane Gold Cup

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The Wake At Noon story continues to make headlines as Bill Tallon reports that Bruno Schickedanz's suspension has been put on hold by Ontario court:

Owner Bruno Schickedanz has had an Ontario Racing Commission suspension put on hold after the Ontario Superior Court ordered a stay of a Dec. 20 ruling.

That ORC ruling had suspended Schickedanz for 12 months, commencing Jan. 1, with the last six months to be stayed.

Lawyer Peter Simm, representing Schickedanz at that ORC hearing, had obtained a stay on the condition that an appeal would be heard by March 4. That hearing did not take place as Schickedanz instead obtained the Ontario Superior Court stay.

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Gail Sinclair, a former backstretch worker at Woodbine and Fort Erie, has self-published a novel by the name of No Safe Bet. The Mitchell Advocate reports, Self-published book a success story for MDHS teacher:

The story was inspired by the eight years Sinclair spent living on the backstretch of various racetracks in Ontario and the United States. "There are literally 2-3,00 people living on the backstretch at Woodbine. This book it is not one of those rags to riches stories, it is meant to have a more realistic view of racing and what it is really about and that there are more losers than winners," she said.

"Living on the backstretch is a struggle," she said, adding, "This story depicts a young woman fighting to rise in the ranks of an essentially male-driven industry during the mid-'80s. She manages to overcome an initial fear of the high-strung horses and learns that there is corruption and illegal practices in the high-stakes game of racing."

"Against her will, she becomes caught up in the immoral and illegal aspects of racing – the ability to make thousands of dollars on a single, well-placed bet – (but) she begins to fight back in an attempt to save the horses she has grown to love," she said.

For Sinclair, finally publishing the book is exciting. "It is a strange sort of exciting because it was so much work," she said.

To order the book, visit the website.

* * *
Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva is fine following a spill at Aqueduct when his mount Honeywantshermoney fell. Woodbine Entertainment's news section reports, Eurico Rosa da Silva fine after spill:

Da Silva was unseated and removed from the track on a stretcher after his mount, Honeywantshermoney, fell in the ninth race at Aqueduct on March 2. He was taken by ambulance to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

“I just spoke with him and he has an ice pack on his shoulder,” said da Silva’s agent, Don Parente. “It’s just a bruise. He feels as though he’ll be ready to ride on Saturday. He said, ‘I’m feeling a lot better than I did last night.’ He’s definitely in good spirits.”

The Brazilian native, who is riding his first winter in New York, had posted nine wins from 81 mounts entering Wednesday's racing.

Get well soon Eurico!

* * *

Sensational Slam, winner of the Clarendon and Vandal at Woodbine last season, scored in the Fred “Cappy” Capossela at Aqueduct on Saturday for owner Bobby Flay. The three-year-old Ontario-bred son of Grand Slam was making his three-year-old and dirt debut for trainer Todd Pletcher who will now point the colt at the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore.

Sensational Slam surges widest to win the Fred “Cappy” Capossela at Aqueduct

(Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)

Sensational Slam needed a bit of encouragement to get the job done according to jock Ramon Dominguez in this NYRA Press Release:

“Todd said to me, ‘Ramon, there should be some speed in here, but you’re going to have to ride him and you’re going to have to help him,’” said Dominguez. “Sure enough, that’s exactly the way he was. Pretty much every step of the way I had to encourage him a little bit, but when it was time to pick it up, he was there for me.”

The Capossela was the fourth start overall for Sensational Slam, who was exiting a ninth-place finish in the Grade 3 With Anticipation on turf at Saratoga Race Course on September 3. Prior to that effort, the son of Grand Slam was a narrow winner of the Vandal and Clarendon at Woodbine in July.

“The horse was training well so we were optimistic, but it was the first time we had run him on the [dirt],” said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “This looked like a good place to give it a try. The race unfolded like we thought it would. We thought there’d be plenty of pace, and he’s not a real ambitious horse, especially early on. I just told Ramon to let him settle, and when it came time to give him an encouraging ride.”

Sensational Slam wins the Cappy

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Two other Ontario-breds, Pay No Mind and Cozy Fire, got their picture taken over the past week at Charles Town and Mountaineer respectively.

Pay No Mind, a three-year-old daughter of Survivalist bred by Garland E. Williamson, won a six and a half furlong MSW in a time of 1:23.38. To watch the race, click here.

Cozy Fire, a three-year-old Forestry filly bred by W. S. Farish, sped to victory in a four and a half furlong allowance tilt in a time of 54.08. To watch the race, click here.

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

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1 comment:

The_Knight_Sky said...

The swallow has returned to Capistrano!

I've exhausted my thoughts on The Big Cap but I will state that it's good to see you back posting.