The Queen will be at Woodbine on Sunday, probably for the very last time, to view the Queen's Plate. It looks like it will be a very competitive race. However two things happened this week, one that has anyone who has an just an ounce of humanity upset and looking for swift vengeance. The other thing dulls Woodbine's teeth when it comes to the way they control horsemen.
Bruno Schickedanz did it again. What happened about ten years ago with Victoriously Bold was bad, but what just happened with Wake At Noon has many searching for adjectives that have harsher meanings than "despicable."
In case you don't know by now, Wake At Noon, a classy horse who raced mostly at Woodbine during his career, was brought back to the track at 13 years old for a workout, after a 3 year retirement at stud, where according to owner Schickedanz he was shooting blanks. He broke down on Monday at the track and was euthanized.
For one thing, he was not eligible to race at Woodbine, nor was he eligible to have a stall, even for a minute. He was shipped in from the farm, and somebody dropped the ball, not knowing the rules perhaps, and this allowed Wake At Noon access to the grounds.
A full investigation is going on right now, so exact details have not officially come out.
This is not any horse, though bringing back a horse 10 or over after 3 years off is very questionable at best, no, this horse won over $1.6 MILLION in his racing career, and most importantly, for the same owner who decided to bring him back to the track.
I really have no qualms when it comes to horses who made over $500,000 or even a million running as geldings for low claiming races, if the money earned was made by another outfit and the horse was claimed at a higher level and made his way down the claiming ranks. If anything, it is the owner who made the money with the horse who shoulders the moral responsibility to buy the horse back and give the horse a good retirement or find the horse a good retirement home.
This was obviously not the case with Wake At Noon. I don't think there is any way to explain this other than "Who would do such a thing?" It isn't like Schickedanz needs the action, he owns tons of mostly low to medium claiming horses who mainly run in Ontario.
Jennifer Morrison broke the story on her blog in The Toronto Star. The story was also reported in Bloodhorse and the DRF. She has an update today with more links which include a blog and a couple of forum discussions.
The question now is how Woodbine and the ORC is going to deal with this. On what grounds can Schickedanz be punished? Is it right to also punish the trainer severely as well? Will the ORC give him a break because his horses do fill races at Woodbine and Fort Erie, or will they do what the public demands?
UPDATE: Bruno Schickedanz and his horses are barred from Woodbine's grounds, can't enter or race his horses there. Fort Erie has not made a decision yet.
Now for the other black eye. Harness horseman Jim Whelan Wins Supreme Court Case Against the ORC and Woodbine Entertainment.
This is, and it isn't a big deal. The judge ruled that Woodbine can enforce most of what they enforce right now, but that they can't pretend to have powers that they legally do not possess, anymore.
Basically, they will have to reword Application for Access Rights of Woodbine Entertainment Group.
What I see though is that they will not be able to act without due cause anymore. This is not really good for the bettor or the integrity of the game, as Woodbine, no matter that they were acting above the law, were doing a good job using the detention barn as a way to intimidate trainers not to cheat.
This ruling might come at a bad time too, when it comes to how they can handle the Wake At Noon situation.
Handicapping The Queens Plate: MOBILIZER
Even though I'm not a Stronach fan, his horse Mobilizer looks like the horse to beat on Sunday. Trainer Roger Attfield knows how to get a horse to peak in the Plate, and this one appears to be getting better each race.
Funny is that with his name, he isn't by Mobil.
Giant's Tomb has a big shot as long as the track isn't favoring speed (which is hardly ever the case). Big Red Mike too looks like he'll be part of the exotics. He may have peaked in his last race though, I'm not crazy about his racing pattern.
Mobthewarrior is my long shot throw in. He is by Mobil. He looks like he is ready for a peak race.
I'm looking for Roan Irish to bounce out of the money and the fact that Hotep hasn't raced within 30 days, is a big mark against this one. Getting a horse to go a mile and a quarter off 36 days is a tough task when every horse in the field has been pointing towards this race.
Daryl Wells Jr. Quits As Announcer; Peter Kyte Is Back In The Booth
With the official change in management that occurred at Fort Erie July 1, Daryl Well Jr. opted to not be part of the new regime.
Peter Kyte, who announces full time at Western Fair and was Fort Erie's full time announcer the last few years, will take over.
I think Kyte vastly improved last year, and he was one of the better choices for the position.
Jess Jackson Gets Monmouth To Up The Purse In The Lady's Secret
The Thoroughbred Blogger's Alliance members will be mentioning their views on this all weekend. Check out their blogs here.
Personally, I have no problem with this. For example, if Fort Erie or any track wants to put $2 million to try to attract Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta in a match race, more power to them.
And if a tracks wants to just get one of the two, let them do all they can to attract them.