Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Speed Thrills: Fatal Bullet and Hollywood Hit Feature at Woodbine

If you blink at the start of the seventh race at Woodbine on Wednesday night (9:45PM EST), you just might miss the finish. A ridiculously pacey field of nine sprinters including Canadian champion Fatal Bullet, multiple stakes-winning Hollywood Hit and Essence Hit Man, arguably the best horse from the gate on the grounds, compete in the $150,000 Bold Venture Stakes.

Fatal Bullet pops over the Woodbine training track

Fatal Bullet set a track record of 1:14.54 for six and a half furlongs in this race in 2008, and the 2008 Horse of the Year is returning to top form with a stalking style under Woodbine's leading rider Luis Contreras. Last out, Fatal Bullet earned a 92 Beyer speed figure in an allowance tilt closing on to quick fractions.

Trainer Terry Jordan shoots the breeze with Hollywood Hit

Hollywood Hit, Canada's sprint champion in 2010, won a stake at Presque Isle Downs in his more recent effort covering five and a half furlongs in 1:02.98. That driving effort, under regular rider Jim McAleney, earned the son of Cactuc Ridge a 99 Beyer figure.

Essence Hit Man, who thrilled Canadian racing fans last August with a second-place effort in the G2 Amsterdam, is a monster from the starting gate. The Speightstown gelding is a rocket on the front-end and his past performances are littered with sub :45 halves. Patrick Husbands gets the call from trainer Audre Cappuccitti.

Essence Hit Man is best captured on film when standing still

Shippers such as Whistle Pig and Pacific Ocean will be making their first start over the Woodbine Polytrack but will be assured a strong pace to close on. Jockeys Dale Beckner and Junior Alvarado, respectively, have followed their mounts to Woodbine.

The Bold Venture is carded as Race 7 (9:45PM EST) on the Woodbine program, which is the final leg of the guaranteed $100,000 Pick 4. Readers looking for a long shot, might look no further than a pair of quality locals in Riding the River and Paso Doble.

Riding the River was a fast-closing fourth in the G2 Highlander over the Woodbine turf in his last start. The Wideman's Ferry fellow has improved with each start this campaign and his rallying style suits the pace of this event. Paso Doble moved to trainer Mark Casse's barn for the 2011 campaign and has posted a pair of 90 Beyer speed figures in his last two starts - - winning the New Providence Stakes and sixth in the Highlander. Both horses benefit from the turf-to-Poly angle.

Riding the River might float away on the tote board tonight

If you are watching this race tonight, be sure to keep one eye on the racetrack and the other on the clock. The time to beat is 1:14.54

* * *

A trio of stakes races last weekend proved, once again, the quality of horses currently racing at Woodbine.

Banner Bill continued an undefeated run to start his career with a determined performance in Saturday's $150,000 Colin Stakes at Woodbine. The son of Rockport Harbour survived an awkward step at the top of the stretch to put away Town Prize with a surging rail run engineered by veteran jockey David Clark.

Banner Bill brilliant in the Colin Stakes

Clement Rock provided Mark Casse with his sixth stakes win of the meet by capturing Saturday’s Toronto Cup. The Eugene Melnyk homebred was unraced as a two-year-old but is proving to be a monster on the turf.

He was last of 11 in his off-the-turf maiden debut at Fair Grounds on March 4, but since then Clement Rock is three for three on Woodbine's E.P. Taylor turf course. In the $156,000 Toronto Cup, Clement Rock did just enough to complete the victory to win by a neck as the 3-5 favorite under Luis Contreras.

Clement Rock Solid in Toronto Cup

Judy the Beauty arrived in Canada looking for her third win in as many counties having won at Keeneland in the United States and at Chantilly in France prior to her trek to Woodbine. The good-looking miss would bloom on the Woodbine Polytrack having battled Dene Court the length of the stretch in Sunday’s $151,200 Shady Well Stakes. Perhaps Wesley Ward will give the filly a shot in the United Kingdom sometime soon!

Judy the Beauty shakes free late in the Shady Well

Quote of the Week

"It’s one thing to run a filly three weeks back, and another thing to then run her three weeks back again," he said. "In my opinion, she proved she’s the best 3-year-old in Canada, male or female, so what does she have left to prove? As soon as the race was over, I never doubted they would do that. In my opinion, I don’t think the second leg was ever an option. Josie is a smart lady. The trainer is sharp, and the owners are sharp, too."

Trainer Mark Casse on why Inglorious skipped the Prince of Wales Stakes to run in the Alabama at Saratoga - - as told to Mike MacAdam of the Schenectady Gazzette

Race Call of the Week

"Final sixteenth of a's a beautiful day...Notacloudinthesky!!," boasts Dan Loiselle as Luis Contreras guides a front-running Notacloudinthesky to her first lifetime score on a gorgeous day at Woodbine.

Notacloudinthesky...Contreras continues his reign at Woodbine

This and That

Turf writer Gene Kershener was at Fort Erie on Sunday with camera in hand to take photos for a blog post titled, Space Invasion: Prince of Wales Day at Fort Erie. The recap includes coverage of Pender Harbour's thrilling score including a great shot of the tight finish with Bowman's Causeway and Oh Canada.

The Fort Erie Tiki Bar was bumpin'

(Photo by Equispace)

Art Wilson of the San Bernardino Sun reports that Canadian jockey Chantal Sutherland is a woman of many talents in his piece, Success is on track for Sutherland with quotes from trainers including Barry Abrams:

"She has a female's touch with the nervous horses, yet she has a man's strength to control the horses," he said. "She doesn't have many weaknesses, and she's the fittest jockey in California. She runs four miles or more daily and she's always in the gym."

Sutherland believes the time in the gym has been beneficial to the point where it's helped her improve as a jockey and opened more eyes in the industry.

She's become a regular on many of veteran trainer Bruce Headley's horses.

"They're putting me on a lot of horses, giving me a lot of opportunities, and I'm so grateful," she said. "I love riding for Bruce. And Karen (Headley's daughter and assistant trainer) is fantastic. They kind of all work as a team."

Bill Tallon of the DRF reports some sad news announcing that, Racing commentator Magee dies:

A private family funeral service will be held this week for Michael Magee, a longtime racing commentator and author who died in Grand River Hospital last Saturday at age 81. Magee had been suffering from colitis, which led to internal bleeding and heart stoppage.

Born in Toronto, Magee was a nephew of E.P. Taylor, founder of the Ontario Jockey Club and of the famed Windfields Farm. Magee’s parents were members of the OJC, and his first job was working as a money runner for the mutuels department in 1948, a position that he also held for a time at Exhibition Park (now Hastings) in Vancouver.

He went on to work as a writer, producer, and commentator for the CBC racing telecasts from 1964 to 1986. The network won the Sovereign Award for outstanding film/video/broadcast in 1985.

Magee was the voice of Cyril Sneer in the animated series, The Raccoons

The Spa returns! The Thoroughbred Times reports, Saratoga opening day features pair of intriguing stakes races:

Friday’s opening-day card will get things rolling with a pair of stakes races: the $100,000 Schuylerville Stakes (G3) for two-year-old fillies and the $75,000 James Marvin Stakes which has attracted a deep field including three Grade 1-winning sprinters.

Reigning leading trainer Todd Pletcher will figure prominently in the Schuylerville, as he will saddle Georgie’s Angel, who enters off a 6 1/4-length victory in a July 4 maiden race at Churchill Downs. Reigning leading jockey John Velazquez will have the mount on the Bellamy Road filly.

“She’s settled in well here and had a nice breeze the other day,” said Pletcher of the Sheffer Racing Stables’ color-bearer, who worked a half-mile in 49.07 over the Spa’s main track on July 16. “It’s a graded stakes at Saratoga, and obviously it’s a tough race to win. This will be a test of her quality.”

Mike Welsch reports in the DRF that Pool Play, winner of the Stephen Foster in his dirt debut, may have ran his last race stating, Pool Play's career likely ended by tendon tear:

Pool Play, a candidate for the Grade 1 Whitney on Aug. 6, has suffered what for all intents and purposes is a career-ending injury, trainer Mark Casse revealed Wednesday. Pool Play is owned by Bill Farish Jr.

Casse said Pool Play, who rallied from last to upset the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at odds of 36-1 on June 18, has a tear in the upper part of his left tendon. The injury was discovered Tuesday.

“I looked at him yesterday morning before he went out to train and didn’t like what I saw,” Casse said Wednesday afternoon. “We treated him and this morning you wouldn’t even know it was there. He looked normal. But an ultrasound revealed a tear.”

Casse said Pool Play could return to run, but said that after conferring with Farish that it was unlikely the horse would race again.

“If we wanted to press on, we could probably get a race or two out of him this year, but that’s not me or Bill,” Casse said. “We could also bring him back again next season, but he’s 6-years-old, so I’d say, in all likelihood, his career is over.”

If you ever wonder if there's money to be made the racetrack, check out the payouts following 82-1 long shot Delawana surprise score in Saturday's tenth, and final race. Jockey David Moran, who moved his tack to Woodbine from Ireland at the start of the 2011 campaign, was right at home on the turf course coaxing a brilliant effort out of the Mike Keogh trainee with a lone-speed trip. Delawana would lead at every call coasting home a half-length winner in a time of 2:03.21 for a mile and a quarter.

The tote board lit up following the race as Delawana paid $166.70 to win. He partnered with Trend for a 1,782.30 exactor and show horse, Action Plan, completed a $13,062.20 triactor. Needless to say, I didn't have it!

Delawana go to the window!

Still Need More?
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.

Photo Finish
(Double-left click on the image to enlarge it and use your "BACK" button to return to the Photoblog)

Judy the Beauty was in full bloom at Woodbine

Henny's Heart...and tongue

Bear's Wit is smarter than the average bear

Dene Court wasn't happy with the ruling of the photo finish

Gene's Northernstar will shine another night

I Am in Front was...briefly.

Sebastian Madrid guides a blinkered In dy Ritz to the track

May's Pegasus might sprount wings next out

Alpha Bettor would try and exert his dominance over the Toronto Cup

Celtic Conviction runs with purpose

A playful Cozy Kitten leaves the walking ring

Joes Blazing Aaron made his first Woodbine appearance

River Lemon aided to the track by Eurico Rosa da Silva

Silverleo was hoping for the gold on Saturday

Thundering Waters would storm down the stretch with a late run

Slow down just a bit, we don't have to go so fast!

1 comment:

EquiSpace said...

Thanks for the shoutout Keith! Watched the sprint race last was a good one...

Did I hear Dan L is talking retirement?