There have only been four 2 year old races thus far at the 2016 thoroughbred meet but it looks like the progeny of the sire – Spring At Last have a real liking for the Northlands oval. The stallion who in 2009 began his career at Winstar Farm in Kentucky stood for an advertised fee of $15,000. He was subsequently purchased by Saudi Arabia interests in 2015, so it would appear for those interested in breeding to the stallion it is a missed opportunity. His most successful get at the track were Spring in the Air and Spring Venture who sold as broodmares at the Keeneland 2015 and the Fasig Tipton Sales for $1,650,000 and $625,000 respectively.
On occasion this corner believes in free advertising – Conditioner Craig Smith reports that he purchased a weanling by Spring at Last in the fall of 2015 and will offer him for sale at the 2016 Alberta yearling sale which will be held in Edmonton on Sunday, September 18 the day after Fall Classic Day.
Getting back to Northlands, first it was Fall At Last who on June 4 travelled the 3½ furlong distance in 39.4 and drew away by over 12 lengths with what appeared to be the greatest of ease. Confirmed rumors are that a substantial offer for the horse came from the US just barely after the colt crossed the finish line. Regardless of how fast a baby goes in a 3 ½ furlong race, the question is always – how much further can he/she carry that speed when races stretch out to 6 furlongs and beyond? Furthermore how will the horse react when another speedball hooks up at the start and looks him/her in the eye? So in conclusion we question why real money offers often come in for a baby right after a 3 ½ furlong Maiden race.
On Saturday another debut starter for the stallion was Riversedge’s 2 year old colt – Spring In Alberta who raced very professionally and delivered as the 7/5 favorite by some 4 ½ lengths going the difficult 5 ½ furlong distance. This one cost $40,000 US which was twice the price for Fall At Last but since horses don’t know what they cost it does not suggest he will be twice as good. The test for these guys, assuming that neither came back with typical 2 year old ailments like “bucked shins” should be on July 16 in the 6 furlong Edmonton Juvenile. Should be interesting.
We don’t want readers to think that we continually praise the exploits of Alberta Trainer Robertino Diodoro who now has 95% his 135 horse stable racing in the US – we just report facts. Since we are in a position to go directly to the source, readers were correctly advised that one of the fastest sprinters in North America – Subtle Indian would be making his next start for the Diodoro connections at Santa Anita. (Sorry to advise the connections of the ill-fated Remind Mee, this horse is faster and can carry his speed further). On Saturday he ran in the $300,000 7 furlong Grade I Triple Bend Stakes with pilot Mike Smith aboard. Smith rode a masterful race nursing him along slower fractions than normal and it sure looked like he was home free but was eventually tagged at the wire by the Bob Baffert trainee Lord Nelson who claimed his first Grade I victory. All things being equal from a physical standpoint, you can count on Subtle Indian’s next dance to be at Del Mar on July 31 in the 6 furlong Grade I Bing Crosby. If all goes well there his next engagement would in all probability be the Santa Anita Championship Sprint held in early October. The season would culminate in an appearance in the 6 furlong Breeders Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on November 5. Guaranteed there will be a large Alberta contingent in the stands cheering on the connections. Diodoro is no stranger to the Breeder’s Cup having started Canadian Derby winner Broadway Empire who tracked winner Goldencents to the head of the stretch in the 2013 Mile.
The second horse owned by the Alberta Racing Club - a 2 year old filly named Swift Sally Swift will debut for Trainer Rod Cone in Race 4 on Wednesday, June 29. She drew post position 4 in a field of 7 in the 3 ½ furlong sprint which interestingly enough has six fillies and one gelding. Preliminary reports are that the filly can “run a little” thus should be competitive in this field. The morning line odds are 5/2. Hopefully many of the owners will make their way down to the Park on Wednesday to cheer on their latest acquisition.
The High Five carryover at Northlands continues to build with no single ticket winner last Saturday. The carryover pool going into Wednesday night’s card totals $82,303 which is added to the amount bet in the pool in the 8th race on the card. As most know, the entire pool is awarded only if a single ticket is sold. 50% of the amount wagered in the pool is carried forward until there is a single winner. Again we encourage all our customers to try their luck at this exotic wager – for a limited investment you could hit it big!
Total wagering on the live product for the first twenty-two (22) days totals $5,687,602 ($258,527/day) compared to $6,056,383 ($275,290/day) recorded in 2015. During the last two weeks we have been holding our own, however, for the meet have experienced a total wagering decrease of 6%. If the weather gods look kindly upon us we are cautiously optimistic that the trend can be reversed.