Chris Lomon for Woodbine.com
TORONTO, April 26, 2021 – With the ‘Run for the Roses’ set to dominate the horse racing headlines this week, the third week of April Thoroughbred action offered up some buzzworthy moments of its own.
From toughing it out and taking to Twitter, to a graded stakes champ finding greener pastures, to a new Canadian record holder, there were plenty of horse racing happenings to highlight.
Here are five takeaways from last week:
Can’t Keep Good A Jock Down
They are known to be, pound-for-pound, some of the toughest athletes on the planet. Pablo Fragoso is certainly a fine example. After a scary spill at Aqueduct on April 22, the veteran rider took to Twitter the following day to give an update on his injuries and thank fans for their support.
The multiple graded stakes winning jockey took his lumps on the track, but was in good spirits the next day when he posted this tweet:
“Thank you very much to all the people who were aware of me in my accident that I had yesterday, thank God I am fine a little sore I broke the wrist of my right hand I had concussion and I lost a pair of teeth But I’m fine thank God everything is good.”
Thank you very much to all the people who were aware of me in my accident that I had yesterday, thank God I am fine a little sore I broke the wrist of my right hand I had concussion and I lost a pair of teeth
But I'm fine thank God everything is good ☺️
— pablo (@FragosoPablo) April 23, 2021
Home, Sweet Home
Conquest Big E, a Grade 2-winning son of Tapit, was given a new lease on life thanks to members of the racing community.
The 8-year-old grey has taken up residence at Remember Me Rescue in Burleson, Texas, after being scratched out of a race at Fonner Park.
Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Conquest Big E was a $700,000 purchase by Conquest Stables from Gainesway’s consignment to the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
“I just came across it; a friend of mine posted about it on social media, and I was like, ‘That’s not right; this horse shouldn’t be running for $3,500,’ ” Veronica Gizuk told BloodHorse. “I’ve never met the horse. I’m just happy he’s safe now; that’s all I wanted.”
— Claire (Novak) Crosby (@BH_CCrosby) April 23, 2021
Hit the Snooze Button
What makes a Queen’s Plate hopeful tick? Took a Wrong Turn might be a sleeper for this year’s ‘Gallop for the Guineas,’ but if R&R is a sign of a contender, the son of Souper Speedy, trained and co-owned by Michelle Love, might be one to keep an eye on.
Pegged at 30-1 in the Queen’s Plate Winterbook, the Ontario-bred dark bay can’t seem to get enough of nap time.
That would also include race days.
“He sleeps all day,” offered Love. “When he races, we have to get him up to go race. It’s amazing. That’s what you want. It’s better than them running their stall or being high-strung. He’s quiet, he sleeps in his stall, and he goes out and trains like a bear. And he comes back in, cools out, and goes back to sleep. He gets up for his lunch and then goes back to sleep.”
Woodbine (@WoodbineTB) Report: April 21, 2021 (Queen’s Plate hopeful Took a Wrong Turn, trainer Nathan Squires, Ones To Watch, Ontario stallion Souper Speedy, and more) – Photo by @mrwillw https://t.co/A9GBzTAVIY #HorseRacing #ontarioracing pic.twitter.com/pWGjSKndfp
— Ontario Racing (@ONTRacing) April 21, 2021
Still going strong
It would be understandable if legendary trainer Ron McAnally rode into the sunset years ago. But that’s not the case for the 88-year-old horseman.
The Hall of Fame conditioner could add another major accomplishment to an already impressive résumé if Rock Your World wins the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Should the dark bay son of Candy Ride take all the spoils in the big race, McAnally, along with his wife Deborah, would celebrate the triumph as the winning breeders.
88-year-old Ron McAnally has kept the same routine for decades, and will attempt to add “Kentucky Derby-winning breeder” to his overflowing résumé…
— Daily Racing Form (@DRFInsidePost) April 26, 2021
Gerald Bennett sent out the 3,975th winner of his career on April 23 at Gulfstream Park, and in doing so, became the winningest Canadian-born Thoroughbred trainer of all time.
The 77-year-old trainer’s record moment came via Tampa Bay Downs shipper Baby Boomer ($12.40) in Race 3, enabling Bennett to pass Frank Merrill Jr., a Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer who won 19 Canadian championships and led all North American trainers three times by races won, as well as winning four Gulfstream titles between 1955-1980.
A native of Springhill, Nova Scotia, Bennett launched his training career in Canada in 1976.
Gerald Bennett just won the 3rd on turf at Gulfstream with 4YO FL-bred gelding Baby Boomer, making Bennett the No. 1 Canadian-born trainer in history with 3,975 winners. He passes the late Frank Merrill, Jr. Emisael Jaramillo rode. Kudos to our Springhill, Nova Scotia product! pic.twitter.com/KN0GONgXfV
— Tampa Bay Downs (@TampaBayDownsFL) April 23, 2021