Tu Endie Wei, the undefeated multiple stakes-winning Brereton C. Jones homebred, will carry the hopes of Woodbine racing fans this Friday in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades on opening day at Keeneland.
Tu Endie Wei getting comfortable at Keeneland
Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos
Veteran Woodbine-based jockey Jim McAleney, who has partnered the Johar-Ms. Cornstalk bay to victory in both of her lifetime starts, will be looking for his first victory at the Lexington track.
“I’ve yet to win a race there…yet,” grinned McAleney in the jock’s room Wednesday night.
The jock has spent a great deal of time aboard Tu Endie Wei in the morning preparing the Reade Baker trainee for her first trip around two turns.
“I’ve been galloping her pretty much every day and I work her on her work days,” says McAleney. “Reade has done a brilliant job exposing her to as much experience in the morning as he can, working her in behind horses, getting Polytrack in her face, trying to get her to settle. He’s done all that he can do from his perspective to have her prepared for this race.”
She's a beauty
And the jock doesn’t question his filly’s ability. After all, the precocious filly is a half-sister to Biofuel, Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.
“There’s never been a doubt about her talent,” he says. “A route of ground, I don’t question that at all. What she needs to work on is maturity and seasoning.”
The Alicibiades brings together a strong field of 14 horses, all short on experience, many of which will be trying two-turns for the first time.
“We’ll be running against a group of horses that are sort of dealing with the same issues, being young and immature,” says McAleney. “This filly is a little eager early so being her first trip around two turns my task will be to get her to settle down and relax into a comfortable tempo and a comfortable pace. If I can get a good position and get her comfortable into the first turn, then the rest should be just fun.”
McAleney and Tu Endie Wei head to the track
The 42-year-old McAleney, with 2,221 wins from 15,969 starts, has proven to be a steady hand for the improving filly. In her debut, the five-furlong My Dear Stakes on June 25, McAleney held the filly confidently behind runners before sweeping wide down the lane to score an impressive four and three-quarter victory in a sharp :56.93.
Tu Endie Wei wins the My Dear Stakes
“This filly is more than special,” said McAleney in the post-race interview. “This (performance) was unbelievable. When I came back and saw the tote board and how quick she’d run, I thought there had to be a mistake.”
She returned to the track on August 13 in the six and a half furlong Ontario Debuante and delivered another sparkling performance battling for the lead with Runfor Ro and having enough in reserve to fend off a rallying Northern Passion for a half-length score. The second-place finisher came back on September 17 to win the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine, making McAleney’s post-race comments for the Debutante all the more flattering.
“She was sharp leaving and then we were able to settle her down and get thinking again,” said McAleney. “The thing that I do like about this filly is that she did know the other filly was coming. She was still kicking in.”
Tu Endie Wei wins the Ontario Debutante
Allowing Tu Endie Wei an opportunity to kick in through the stretch is paramount to McAleney’s concerns for Friday’s two-turn test.
“I don’t want her to exert herself too much in the early part of the race because there’s obviously got to be some talent in here,” acknowledges McAleney. “The real race is going to start from the head of the stretch home. Going to that first turn, I’m not adamant about being anywhere with this filly other than having her comfortable and cutting moderate enough splits. Wherever she is, I’ll know for sure she has something to finish with.”
McAleney also partnered with 'Wei's half-sis Biofuel
A good showing on Friday should see Tu Endie Wei listed amongst the favourites for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. McAleney, who has been around long enough to know not to look too far into the future, takes a cautious approach at discussing what would be his first Breeders’ Cup mount.
“It would be a thrill to ride in it, but I don’t want to be in it just to be in it,” starts McAleney. “I want to be there because we have a chance to win and I think if this filly proves herself and we go on to the next step, if she goes on to the Breeders’ Cup, it will be because there are intentions of winning.”
As McAleney stands up and prepares to head out for his next race, a smile widens on his face, and as he walks away he turns around to add, “but, you know, I think this is the type of horse you want to go there on.”
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Who says a rain dance doesn't work," - - Trainer Laurie Silvera must have tapdanced to work all week long as the Toronto-area was pounded with enough rain to help his Ariana D win the off-the-lawn Avowal Stakes
RACE CALL OF THE WEEK
"Jackson Bend comes at him from the outside now, but Uncle Mo has something left. Now he's clear by three...now he's clear by four as they come down the finish. He repelled Jackson Bend. Uncle Mo: HE'S BAAAAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKKK!!!" - - Tom Durkin conjures up a Poltergeist-esque warning call to the contenders for the 2011 Breeders' Cup Classic.
Uncle Mo wins the Kelso
Woodbine $100K Guaranteed Pick 4
Every Wednesday and Sunday, Woodbine offers up an incredible $100K Guaranteed Pick-4. For more details, check out the selections of WEG experts on WEG's Thoroughbred Pick-4 page. More info also available on Woodbine's Facebook page.
This and That
A new source for horse racing stories, insight and information was launched this week and TripleDeadHeat is proud to be a part of it, I invite all my readers to check out TURF: An International Gathering of Horse Racing Bloggers:
Welcome to the website of a new collaborative endeavor, TURF. What you will find here is essentially a hub, or portal to the individual websites of an international group of horse racing bloggers who write on all aspects of the sport—breeding/bloodstock analysts, racehorse owners and trainers, performance and medical experts, photographers, handicappers, fans and historians. Our common bond: a profound love for the sport of horse racing, the individuals involved and—most importantly—the horse.
A Racing Post piece notes that the Aga Khan calls for clear drug testing policies:
The Aga Khan, who celebrated 50 years running his family racing and breeding interests in 2010, has called on international regulatory authorities to abide by a common set of raceday drug-testing policies that are "perfectly clear and transparent about what is, or is not tolerated".
Addressing the highest-ranking officials from around the world at the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities annual conference in Paris, he stressed that he vigorously supported drug-free racing and a strong non-tolerance policy.
However, he added: "In the absence of standards which are clearly defined, known to all and equitably enforced, the drug-detection process loses its credibility, and its effectiveness.
"A problem arises when control laboratories replace old research methods by sensitive new equipment or a refined process that identifies substances at much lower levels than before. Indeed, these new levels may have no impact on a horse's performance.
I met Alan from Left at the Gate at Saratoga this year and I hope my readers will introduce themselves to his writing. His posts are often about the business/politics of racing with a little bit of music and hockey thrown in. Always a good read, his latest post, Jour Aux Courses chronicles a recent racing trip to France:
It's not that people over here don't bet. But I don't know that they take it quite as seriously, and surely not as scientifically, as us. Didn't seem to be the same kind of intensity from the punters during the stretch runs. I didn't notice anybody whipping their legs with their papers, snapping their fingers at the screens, or yelling profanities after the finish (not that I would have understood them anyway).
There were other differences that made it difficult for me to acclimate. There were no tote boards, and the odds (which were not odds as we see in the U.S., but rather representing payoffs inclusive of the 2 Euros bet), were only available on a select number of TV screens. All of the horses wore red saddle cloths, and at no point were the numbers of the leaders flashed anywhere. Combine that with the race calls in French (delivered by two alternating announcers), and the races were extremely difficult to follow. And at no time after any race did I ever see the winning mutuels posted, anywhere at the track.
Good news for U.S fans of Canadian racing: Twenty-cent Pick-4s and 'Supers' now available in the U.S. on Woodbine racing:
Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced that beginning this Friday, October 7, it will now offer 20-cent minimum bets for the Pick-4 and Superfecta to its loyal and expanding fan base in the United States.
Canadians have had access to fractional wagers on racing from Woodbine and Mohawk since 2005.
"One of the reasons we've seen increased pool size in the Pick-4 and Superfecta is the introduction of the 20-cent minimum bet," said Greg Martin, WEG’s Director of Wagering Operations. "We're pleased to now be able to offer this to our customers in the United States. The American racing fan has shown interest in fractional bet offerings, so we worked hard to accommodate them."
The Pattison Canadian International, a $1.5M Breeders' Cup Win & You're In Event, goes to post on Sunday, October 16. Here is the probable field, subject to change, for the mile and a half turf event. Click the link above for free past performances.
Quest For Peace
Will Joshua Tree repeat in the Pattison Canadian International?
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.
This week's photo finish focuses on the backstretch!
A Josie Carroll trainee stretches out
Assistant trainer Patrick Dixon aboard an Adena-bred
Here's a headturner!
A Reade Baker trainee waits for an opening
Wee bit of a traffic jam this morning
How about a look at some vintage photos of contenders for the Canadian International?
Simmard always tries hard
Kara's Orientation and trainer Steve Chircop look for another graded win
Will the luck of the Irish be with Celtic Conviction
He won the Prince of Wales and the Breeders' Stakes...is the International next?
You can make a large bet that Mac is back in town