Over time we veterans have learned that there is no such thing as a snow free month in Alberta. With wet snow prevalent everywhere for three or four days leading up to Thanksgiving it resulted in what we believe is a first - cancellation of all racing on Thanksgiving Day or for that matter any other race day Alberta. Neither Northlands, Lethbridge, nor Century could not get a card off.
Irrespective of fact there was no live racing at Northlands on Monday, there were a few noteworthy events that took place. Owner Don Danard and wife Sue flew in from Vancouver on Thanksgiving Day just to dine at the Park where they had Colours restaurant basically to themselves. Keep in the mind that the Danards had a horse (Driller) in Monday’s $75,000 Ascot Graduation at Hastings. He ended up finishing second in the race with the owners not in attendance. It the truth be known the Danards flew back to Edmonton to obviously watch their crack Fillies Ruffenuff owned with partner Curtis Landry to compete in the Freedom of the City and Onestaratatime taking on older mares in the Duchess of York. There was a good chance that they would have posed in the Winner’s Circle with one or both fillies especially Ruffenuff who would have been either 1/9 or 1/5 in the wagering.
In another tough call prior to the day’s events, the Riversedge Party decided to point their plane north rather than west from Calgary to attend the Northlands races where their undefeated 2 year old Norm’s Big Bucks was to race in the Canadian Juvenile. While taxiing on the runway, a picture of a TV screen came in via text from an anonymous source (Lori Brickman) indicating that the card at Northlands was canceled. How fortuitous - the plane was redirected westward where as fate would have it their two year old Strate Remark would win the Ascot Graduation. So with these Alberta owners collecting $56,250 it went a long way in defraying the costs incurred on air travel, eats and libations. There were others not so lucky - like making a 6 hour round trip from Calgary only to learn that there was no racing. As far as we know there are no avenues available to those less fortunate to collect gas and food money from anyone. To the best of our knowledge there is only one precedent of reimbursement, the time long ago when Bobby Allan personallypaid the odd patron for out of pocket costs when racing was canceled one day at the Twin Spires of Alberta Downs.
Regarding the four (4) Stake races that were carded for Monday, they will be carried forward to Saturday, October 15. We are not certain if the same applies to the five overnite races which in all probability would have to be redrawn. This is a call that will be made by the Racing officials.
We have been somewhat remiss in not pointing out the three race win streak recorded by the all of sudden turned marathoner – Kissinthetheater who won all three legs of the of 1 3/8; 1 5/8 and 2 mile Series. We see the need to once again pat ourselves on the back since others are not rushing in to do so. Let’s look back at our post of August 20 where we brought to our faithful and loyal supporters this gem:
“Interesting to note that Kissinthetheater who has raced exclusively in $7,000 company all year won the 1 3/8 mile $18,000 Northlands Marathon #1 (Race 8) in a time of 2.18.98. Going the exact same distance in the $150,000 Derby, Ready Intaglio recorded a winning time of 2.19.16.”
This year the horse is trained by Rod Cone who has recorded 849 career victories and seems to have the knack of figuring out that a horse can get a distance of ground. We will defer to Rod about knowing that for a horse to get a distance of ground, in morning training he has travel the right way and bow his neck and needs to put his head between his legs etc. etc. All one needs to do is look at this horse’s pedigree to get the answer. His sire Kissin Kris did his best running at 1 ¼ & 1 ½ mile distances. His dam Alley’s Theater ran very competitively at the ‘big time” in long distance races. Furthermore the dam’s sire Theatrical won almost $3 mm in distances races on the Turf culminating with the 1 ½ mile Breeder’s Cup Turf. This is where the stamina comes from. It is obvious now that there are two chances that this horse will be offered for sale at $7,000 any time soon via the claiming route – slim and nil and slim just left town!
Small Alberta Breeders Shine this past Weekend.
For those who do not follow this game closely, you must believe us when we indicate that to breed a thoroughbred from a small broodmare band residing in Alberta and get a resulting foal that can compete at racing’s top level is virtually impossible. Every now and then one will beat the odds.
Take for instance Darrel Bauder. In 2010 he selected to breed his mare Ask the Question to the great grass horse standing in Kentucky - English Channel; - the resulting foal purchased at the 2012 Ontario yearling sale by Lethbridge’s own Terry Hamilton - Heart to Heart. On Saturday he won the GII Knickerbocker at Belmont. Heart to Heart has now won 10/23 lifetime starts and amassed earnings of over $930,000. Not bad – not bad at all!
Case #2. Looks like longtime owner/breeder/race fan/Accountant Derwood Ashcroft has bred a good one from limited opportunities. In 2013 Derwood’s homebred All Run made his debut as a 2 year old in the Alberta Futurity and ran a bang up second in his first lifetime start. He broke his maiden in his third start and made an additional 2 starts at Northlands as a 2 and 3 year old for trainer Rob Chabot. Sensing that the colt had talent, he was sent to Golden Gate under the care of the aforementioned Rod Cone to start his 3 year old year campaign and subsequently transferred to Richard Baltas in Southern California where he has since blossomed. On October 8 he took on the best sprinter in the land – Lord Nelson and leading for most of the race ended up a bang up second to the champ. Don’t know at this point in time if All Run will make his next start in the Breeder’s Cup Sprint but since out time here is not a dress rehearsal why not participate in a thrill of a lifetime?
This and That
Looks like Trainer Greg Tracy has transferred about ten (10) horses to Woodbine to test the waters there. We should start seeing his entries this weekend.
The Breeders Cup Distaff appears to be shaping up as the most competitive of all the races. Undefeated Songbird; Stellar Wind; Beholder; I’m a Chatterbox and Cavorting head the field. Throw into the mix a couple of horses from Europe and the shortest price on the board may be 4/1. I’m a Chatterbox’s trainer Larry Jones believes any one of seven horses can win in here.
A recently released Report indicates that Turf Paradise in Phoenix contributed $91M to the Arizona economy in 2015. Opened in 1956, the track has no gaming revenue to supplement purses. Its 61st year opens this Saturday October 15. Leading trainer at Turf for the last few years – Robertino Diodoro has 11 entered the first weekend. Let the games begin.
It could be that the greatest benefactor emerging from cancelled Monday will no doubt be iron horse Killin Me Smalls who will contest the Harvest Gold Plate. He will now have a 14 rather than a 9 day rest off his victory in the October 1 Premier’s at Hastings.
For the first sixty-five (65) days of the meet, wagering on our live thoroughbred product totaled $17,688,188 compared to $19,079,505 for the same period last year for a decrease of $1,391,317 (7.3%).
Let’s hope the weatherman cooperates this weekend. As previously indicated the four stake races scheduled for Monday will now be carded on Saturday, October 15.