Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kara's Orientation: Woodbine's Grade 2 Energizer Bunny

Leading by 17 1/2 lengths at the half (that's not a typo), Kara's Orientation refused to be caught in Sunday's Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes completing the mile and a quarter jaunt in a final time of 2:04.87.

He just keeps going and going...Kara's Orientation wins the G2 Sky Classic

The win provided 27-year-old conditioner Steven Chircop with his first stakes victory. Chircop now has the impetus needed to point his horse, who he claimed for just $20,000 a year ago, at the Grade 1, $500,000 Northern Dancer or even the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile, to be raced at Woodbine on September 18.

They still haven't caught Kara's Orientation

As the dark bay Orientate-Crissy Aya colt crossed the wire, track announcer Dan Loiselle bellowed, "Kara's Orienation, on the inside, has stolen the Sky Classic and we have it all on video tape!"

Chircop can take comfort in the fact that even though Ramsammy 'rode him like he stole him', the improving Kara's Orientation galloped out in front of the field.

Regardless, it was an entertaining race call by Loiselle, particularly, when the announcer alluded to jockey Emile Ramsammy, 'pleading', with his horse for just a little bit more during the stretch run.

For more on Chircop and his sensational $20,000 claim, check out my post from September 23, 2010 titled, Trainer Profile: Steven Chircop and the Rise of Omnisurface Star Kara's Orientation.

Kara's Orientation tested our her Presious Passion routine on Sunday


With only seven races available on Wednesday evening's thoroughbred card at Woodbine, handicappers might be wondering where all the horses have gone.

The compact card was reduced further when a lightning storm lit up the Toronto skyline causing WEG management to cancel the card due to the extreme weather following the fourth race. The lightning strikes were so frequent on Wednesday evening that the sky was illuminated for seconds at a time, from a storm so disruptive that the CNE and Toronto FC match were also closed down early.

Here comes the rain again...

While Thursday's card will continue this afternoon with eight races, the field size is not quite as bulky as punters might come to expect.

"We annually experience weakened field size in August and early September at Woodbine. Our very long racing calendar means that older campaigners by August are taking a vacation and the young two-year-olds aren't quite ready to step up yet. Based on previous years experiences, we can expect field size to pick back up in mid to late September when the Woodbine product will be at its best," said Steve Koch, Woodbine's Vice-President of Thoroughbred Racing.

This fella is keeping his nose clean

As well, with a number of horses coping with a virus making its way through the Woodbine backstretch, many conditioners are taking a cautionary approach and resting their equine athletes.

"A further limit on our horse supply this August is a minor virus that has temporarily sidelined an additional contingent of horses," said Koch. "Hopefully the
population will have worked through this virus shortly and we will be at full strength very soon."

“The problem was it was hard to enjoy the race when you see the horse in front by that far. I’ve been watching races all my life, and you almost never see a horse go to the front like that, in a race that long, and win.” - - Steven Chircop after watching Kara's Orientation go wire-to-wire in the Grade 2 Sky Classic.


"Woah!! Bear's Taurus bobbing and weaving like a drunken sailor...held on barely, call it a neck," - - Dan Loiselle had the race call wrapped up and was putting the bow on top when the two-year-old suddenly dived toward the rail. Luis Contreras gathered the young horse up and got the job done. Phew!

Bear's Taurus should have called a taxi to get home
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This and That

Journalist Katie Lamb chimes in on the retirement of the people's champ with her story, Rahy's Attorney big loss to race world:

Rahy's Attorney was the little horse that could. And he did.

In his five-year career, the seven-year-old racehorse -bred and part-owned by Joe and Ellen MacLellan of Spencerville -captured the imagination of thousands of horse racing fans around the globe for his brilliance on the track and as living proof that great racehorses can come at any price tag.

"He became the people's horse. He showed a lot of courage, grit and determination and he always ran his heart out," said Woodbine Racetrack's announcer, Dan Loiselle.

Loiselle called all of Rahy's Attorney's wins at the Toronto track, including his most impressive win, the $1 million Woodbine Mile in 2008.

"He was one of my personal favourites," he added.

The Toronto Star reported on the current state of the old Windfields property, stating, Hero racehorse rests among the weeds:

Knee-high weeds wave in the wind above the white pebbles marking the grave of Canada’s most famous racehorse.

Windfields Farm, where Northern Dancer was born and buried, is a ghost town. Closed more than 18 months ago, Oshawa’s beloved landmark has fallen victim to nature, vandals and bureaucracy.

And, to the dismay of horse lovers and Windfields enthusiasts, a memorial park at the burial grounds where 15 champions are interred is still years away.

“I cry inwardly to see what has become of that place,” says lifelong Oshawa resident Bob Hooper, who calls himself its biggest fan. “That was where movie stars, royalty and business tycoons went to see the horses.”

Woodbine bettors looking to drink up some Saratoga experience have a pair of familiar options in Saturday's Travers Stakes. Claire Novak put pen to paper about Emma-Jayne Wilson's 20-1 shot, Moonshine Mullin, in her piece, 'Moonshine' on rise:

Horseplayers didn't think much of the 3-year-old colt last month when he came here from Canada to start in the Grade II Jim Dandy. He went off at odds of 37-1, the longest shot in a seven-horse field, and when he came in ahead of all but Stay Thirsty he surprised almost everyone except his own connections.

"I took him to Florida last winter to try him on dirt, but every time I had him ready the races wouldn't fill," trainer Reade Baker recalled, explaining why Moonshine Mullin made his first seven starts on turf or synthetic surfaces.

As well, there is also Ontario-bred Bowman's Causeway who finished fourth in the Queen's Plate and second in the Prince of Wales while competing in the Canadian Triple Crown. The Times-Union notes that trainer Chad Brown gets shot at taking Travers:

Bowman's Causeway, a chestnut son of Giant's Causeway, is coming off three consecutive races in Canada, including the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown. Bred in Ontario, Bowman's Causeway was beaten by a nose in his most recent start, the $500,000 Prince of Wales at Fort Erie on July 17.

Since his past three starts were only three weeks apart, Brown decided to give Bowman's Causeway a six-week layoff for some rest.

That timing led Brown to enter Bowman's Causeway in the Travers, since the horse is already stabled at Saratoga.

"The Travers was the only real race that made sense for me," Brown said. "Timing-wise, number one. Number two, to (allow Bowman's Causeway) to run out of his own stall for once in his life. He's always on the road, running off a van."

Another Woodbine regular is taking his show on the road this weekend - - this time on the west coast. Roger Attfield's Dominion Day Stakes winner goes west as the DRF reports, Don Cavallo taking a shot at top level in Pacific Classic:

“The horse has run very well on synthetic tracks,” Attfield said. “We decided, Let’s go and try to win at Del Mar.”

Don Cavallo is listed as an 8-1 chance in the 11-runner Pacific Classic, which is led by Twirling Candy, the winner of the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in June. Trained by John Sadler, Twirling Candy is the 5-2 favorite on the morning line. His principal rival is Game On Dude, the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap in March. Game On Dude and Twirling Candy were second and third in the Hollywood Gold Cup last month.

Don Cavallo makes his California debut in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. His performance will determine how he is campaigned in the later months this year. A colt by El Prado who has won 5 of 13 starts and $291,785, Don Cavallo won his first stakes in the Dominion Day, racing near the front throughout before winning by 3 3/4 lengths over James Street. The runner-up returned to win the Seagram Cup at Woodbine earlier this month. Stately Victor, who finished third, is another shipper for the Pacific Classic.

Attfield said that no plans, such as the Breeders’ Cup in November, have been made, but admits that Don Cavallo could easily show further improvement. “He’s an up-and-coming horse,” Attfield said. “I think it’s been through maturity. Mentally, he’s in a very good state.”

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.


I was out of town all weekend so check out my posts from earlier this week for shots of sensational lieu of the usual Woodbine weekend photographs, here are the videos from Woodbine's weekend stakes races.

Stars to Shine wins the Belle Mahone

Niigon's Touch wins the Eternal Search

Moonlit Beauty wins the Belle Geste

You are cryin' lightnin'

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