HorseRacing Central May 29, 2009
TEIDE READY TO STEP FORWARD
Following a respectable showing in the $50,000 George Royal Stakes on May 2, Teide can make himself a lot of friends in his second start of the year Saturday at Hastings in a second-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and up. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Teide had a bullet four-furlong work on May 24 and drops into an easier spot in Saturday’s feature that carries a $50,000 claiming option. With Chad Hoverson retaining the mount, Teide has a better draw for his stalking style but there’s some exceptional talent in the group, including Winter Warning, Enforcement and Reel Prime.
WHAT’S ON TAP
It’s a busy schedule, beginning with the $300,000 Nassau Handicap (1:24 p.m.) at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass at Woodbine. Christopher Climent’s Rutherienne has been installed as the 2-1 favourite and Alan Garcia has been flown in for the ride.
At Churchill Downs the $100,000 Dogwood for 3-year-old fillies (1:29 p.m.) is the marquee event while over at Belmont Park the Grade II Sands Point (2:17 p.m.) is the feature for 3-year-olds on the grass.
On the west coast at Golden Gate Fields the $100,000 G G Turf Stakes (4:15 p.m.) is in the spotlight while at Hollywood Park the Grade 1 $200,000 Gamely (5:00 p.m.) for fillies and mares has drawn a competitive field of 11.
The $130,000 Plate Trial at Woodbine will feature 11 hopefuls, headed by morning line favourite El Brujo ridden by Patrick Husbands. All runners will carry the heavy impost of 126 pounds over nine furlongs in the Plate Trial as they try to secure a spot in the starting gate for the rich $1 million Queen’s Plate on June 21.
The “Rodney Dangerfield” of the Triple Crown trail this year is clearly Mine That Bird who, despite impressive performances, just can’t seem to keep a rider. Can you imagine winning the Kentucky Derby and losing your jockey for the Preakness? Then after finishing a fast-closing second in the Preakness and likely the favourite for the Belmont Stakes, his most recent pilot Mike Smith has announced he’s leaving to ride Madeo in the Charlie Whittingham Stakes at Hollywood Park the same day as the Belmont.
So once again poor ol’ Mine That Bird is on the hunt for someone to carry around the track (probably to the winner’s circle) in next Saturday’s Belmont. The connections are waiting to see if Calvin Borel will be available and if he is – and the two win the third jewel of the Triple Crown – Borel would be the first jockey ever to win all three races on two different horses.
ANOTHER BIG WINNER
Peter Elliott from Sechelt became the second huge BC Gold Mystery Hit winner at Hastings when the bells went off to signify he was about to accept a cheque in the amount of $124,965.93. Congratulations, Peter!
THE PACERS ARE TURNING FOR HOME
Fraser Downs swings back into action after a two-week hiatus for the annual Rodeo. You have only five weeks left to catch your favourite standardbreds “live”. The season is now down to two days a week: Friday and Saturday nights. The schedule concludes on Saturday, June 27. All race day starts are 7:30 p.m. with the exception of June 6 when a special first race goes at 6 p.m.
There are two added money events left for the pacers: Saturday, June 13 the Fraser Downs will card the $20,000 Rising Star Stake for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Then on closing day the feature will be the $20,000 Rising Starlet for 3-year-old fillies.
With only 10 racing days left it appears as though driver/trainer Bill Davis will wrap up both titles even though he and his son have departed for eastern Canadian racetracks.
FOURTH TO THIRD
Locally-owned Primary Purpose finished fourth but was moved up to third in last Saturday’s $480,000 Upper Canada Cup pace at Georgian Downs. Owned by Rod Therres and Charlie MacFarlane, Primary Purpose was only beaten a length for the top prize money. He had to start on the far outside (post 9) and driver Brad Forward was able to find a favourable splot for the 3-year-old pacer. Final time for the mile was 1:52.4.
Brad Forward, by the way, finished 8th in the World Driving Championship in Norway after winning the Canadian title at Fraser Downs on March 21.