Saturday, April 23, 2011

Photo Essay: Plate Contenders, Adena North and A Neat Debut For Fifty Proof

Being a turf writer can be a lot of fun. I meet a lot of interesting people, I see a lot of fantastic horses up close and I learn something new every day. On Thursday and Friday of this week, I traveled around the Ontario horse racing world pursuing photos and quotes for a variety of upcoming free-lance pieces and below are some of the extra photos from my journey. The pictures start on a Thursday morning backstretch visit, followed by a Friday trip up the 404 to Aurora to visit Adena Springs North and then back across the 401 to Woodbine where I watched Fifty Proof make a refreshing debut.

The wee man Justin Stein aboard the giant Fifty Proof

It was dark, cold and even a little bit snowy when I arrived at Woodbine early Thursday morning. My goal was to snap a few photos of potential Queen's Plate contenders. First stop was Mark Casse's barn where I caught up with Queen's Plate contenders Enduring Star and Superbull who are an uncoupled entry on Saturday's card.

On my way to the Mark Casse barn...

Arrived at the Casse Barn!

Tiny but mighty...Enduring Star!

Is it a bird...a, it's SUPERBULL!

Next door to the Casse stable is one of two Reade Baker barns, which is home to a bay Artie Schiller colt named Bear's Chill. The Danny Dion owned fellow absolutely romped an allowance event last week at Woodbine.

Bear's Chill zooms to victory

Jefferson and Bear's Chill...chillin'

Chill is keepin' it real

Looking for a horse to add to your watch list? Put a checkmark beside the improving Bear's Future. The Kentucky-bred Rockport Harbor colt is working towards his 2011 debut.

A horse with a (Bear's) Future

It's always a treat to stop by the stall of Biofuel, Canada's Horse of the Year for 2011. The big mare is a star and she knows it. As soon as I took my camera out of its case, Biofuel stepped to the front of her stall and proceeded to strike a variety of poses. I got the good side, the other good side, the sideways stare, the cheeky tongue out and just about every other look you could imagine. I swear on a stack of bibles that she winked at me before retreating to the back of her stall.

Biofuel shows us her good side

Biofuel...workin' it

Out of the Baker barn and all the way over to the other side of the backstretch for a visit with Mike DePaulo's stakes winner Pender Harbour. The Philanthropist gelding broke his maiden second time out and capped his year with a rousing win in the Kingarvie Stakes to go two for three on the campaign. The handsome chestnut is getting a late start to the campaign and may not make the Queen's Plate trail.

The handsome Pender Harbour

The Kingarvie winner strikes a regal pose

A fan of the White Stripes?

There is no shortage of talent in the DePaulo barn and his trainees are generally well-bet at Woodbine which is reflected in DePaulo's Top 20 status as a Woodbine trainer year after year. One of his better runners in 2010 was the undefeated Hawk Over Heath who broke his maiden first out and completed a difficult double by winning an allowance event in his next start. The Tomahawk colt has rung up a series of nice works preparing for his 2011 debut.

The undefeated Hawk Over Heath

Hawk eye...

Bubbles To The Top is still a maiden after six starts but she hit the board four times racing in four stakes events. The maiden is going to make it difficult for some fillies in her next start.

The bubbly Bubbles To The Top


Have you hugged your horse today?

Glory Game returns to Woodbine in the DePaulo barn

On my way out of the DePaulo barn and off to the training track to watch a few horses get some exercise.

Tree Pose

Lean back

Hop hop!

Adena horses skip down the training track

Two to the track

Sun is shining...finally!

From the backstretch to the place where it all began...for some horses, as I spend a Friday morning at Adena Springs North! I'm preparing a story for an upcoming issue of Canadian Thorughbred and interviewed several Adena folks and snapped a slew of photos. While that story will stay under wraps for now, I couldn't resist taking a few photos of the 'rising stars' that dotted the paddocks of the impressive Adena property.

True north strong and free

Hey mama!

Eye see you!

This photo came out a little fuzzy

Hello there!

Peek A Boo!

Home Ice advantage

From a distance

Play time!

Stand on guard for thee

Is Adena Kentucky North...or is Kentucky really Ontario South? What a beautiful property!

Following a morning in Aurora, I hustled back across the 401 to Woodbine to watch the 2011 debut of G1 placed Fifty Proof. The giant Whisky Wisdom fellow was a star on the turf in 2010 and returned to Woodbine on Friday in a polytrack allowance.

Fifty Proof surges to the lead

Despite a bobbled start, the big horse was anxious to get to the lead and it was a strong ride by jockey Justin Stein to harness that pent up energy for the stretch run. As the field turned for home, Stein asked Fifty Proof for a shot of speed and got a double in response as the lanky horse zoomed on home in a time of 1:23.40 for seven furlongs.

Chief Counsel and Jimmy Mac head to the track

The (Dela)force is with Jone Jones

Raging Star with star jockey Luis Contreras

Sangore and journeyman David Clark

How's the weather up there Justin?

A neat debut for Fifty Proof

All smiles following the successful debut

Fifty Proof...under wraps

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As always, keep track of the latest goings on in the world of horse racing by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page or join in on the conversation by following TripleDeadHeat on Twitter.


Laura said...

Always love the barn photos! I saw Fifty Proof quite a bit at Keeneland-- he and Southdale are quite distinctive and easy to spot. So neat to see them down here!

Keith McCalmont said...

Hi Laura,

Thanks for the comments...I would have to agree that Fifty Proof is a hard horse to miss - he's huge!!

I hope to get down to Keeneland one of these winters for a weekend. The crowd really seemed to be hooting and hollering for the horses.


Laura said...

You would love Keeneland. Come for the spring meet and you could visit "my" horses in the morning! You'd be in heaven for sure; Keeneland is truly a must-see.