Tag Archives: Hialeah Park

My racetrack wish list

With the snow beginning to melt and warm weather slowly starting to find its way into the forecast, my itch to hit the road is beginning to return once again.

Plans are in the works for a trip to Keeneland Race Course in April, so that will ease my road trip jones for the immediate future. However, one of my goals for 2010 is to add some length to the list of tracks I have visited.

Below is a list of ten tracks I would like to cross off my list sometime in the future. Some of them are very plausible to hit in the coming year, while others are more likely to be long-term projects. The tracks range from tiny harness and Quarter Horse bullrings to the host of the last two Breeders’ Cups, so there is plenty of variety. Some of my selections may appear less than ambitious, but there is a reason for each, and any of them would be a huge “get” for my list.

Before we get too deep into this, the premise for this post was lifted from a great post on Equispace. A little while back, Thoroughbred Times News Editor Ed DeRosa also listed some of the tracks he has yet to cross off his impressive list.

The top ten tracks are listed in alphabetical order, followed by some honorable mentions. Let’s have a look…

Ajax Downs
I only became aware of this small Ontario track early last year, but from the sounds of it, I was missing out. Before getting approved for slots, Ajax Downs was a quirky, little Quarter Horse track that ran for tiny purses and was shaped like a “J”. Cindy Pierson-Dulay of Horse-Races.net described the track as “a 440-yard straightaway ending in a sharp right hand turn for the runout.” Since the slots, the track has remodeled into a five furlong oval and boosted its purse structure enough to draw the attention of some Mount Pleasant Meadows-based horsemen. If anything else, the track’s website is among the most impressive and comprehensive I have seen from a track of any size.

Bluegrass Downs
Where, you ask? In a past life, the Paducah, Kentucky track was a popular destination for horses and people from Mount Pleasant Meadows. Today, Bluegrass Downs is a standardbred-exclusive track. Harness racing isn’t exactly my bag, but from the description of racetrack bucket-lister McChump, the track’s too-small-for-its-own-good atmosphere is right up my alley.

The remaining tracks on my wish list can be found behind the jump. Did your home track make the list? Click the link below to find out.

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The clock is ticking

Patriotic Bill became the first horse with a previous start at Mount Pleasant Meadows to win a race at the newly reopened Hialeah Park.

First off, congratulations to Quarter Horse Patriotic Bill for being the first horse to win a race at Hialeah Park coming off a start at Mount Pleasant Meadows. The Florida-bred Game Patriot gelding gained the late advantage and won Tuesday’s fifth race by 3/4 lengths. For a chart of the race, click here.

As you may recall, Patriotic Bill’s previous start was over a year ago in a blowout match race victory against Striking Lucy – a beautiful paint without a lick of run in her. He was later disqualified, but not before the race was made official and payouts were made. To relive this memorable race, the chart can be read here.

Another horse with a start at Mount Pleasant, Bye Bye Cartel, also picked up a win on Tuesday’s card. The Southern Cartel colt finished fourth in a stakes race during his lone stop in Michigan earlier this year. On Tuesday, he took the seventh race at Hialeah by a length as the 1.30-to-one favorite. The chart for Tuesday’s race can be found here.

In more pressing news, it appears the deadline to halt Michigan racing’s move to a new regulator is rapidly drawing near. According to this bill analysis document, the Michigan Legislature has until Thursday, Dec. 7 to disapprove Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Oct. 8 Executive Order which, among many other things, dissolves the Office of Racing Commissioner. The order also moves control of the industry’s regulatory and financial undertakings under the umbrella of the Gaming Control Board.

According to the linked document, there is a series of bills in the Senate to place control of the industry in the hands of the Michigan Department of Agriculture. In the proposed bill, the MDA Director would essentially become the new racing commissioner.

Michigan’s racing industry groups have been pushing to remain under the MDA, which already distributes funding to racing programs through the Ag Equine Development Fund. Proponents of staying with the MDA argue the racing industry has more significant ties to agriculture, through the feeding, care and maintenance of horses and farms, than it does to the gaming at the racetracks. It is also argued that the MDA is better equipped to promote the racing industry (which desperately needs it), whereas the Gaming Control Board is primarily a regulatory body.

From the looks of the bills’ pages (955, 956, 957, 958), they have been sitting in committee purgatory since mid-November, so it may be an uphill battle to get them through both the Senate and House of Representatives before the Dec. 7 deadline. Then again, State Congress has shown in the past that it can get things done when it focuses on the task at hand.

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Politics

Michigan connections compete at Hialeah Park

Popular Michigan-bred Ozzy You Can Do It will make his first start outside of his home state on Monday at Hialeah Park.

Last Saturday, horse racing returned to one of the sport’s historic venues, Florida’s Hialeah Park, after an eight-year absence.

For its inaugural season, the track is hosting a Quarter Horse-exclusive meet, which has drawn horses, riders and trainers from across the country to race among the flamingos. Of course, what kind of world class Quarter Horse meet would it be without a few horses from Mount Pleasant Meadows?

On Hialeah’s opening day, three horses with at least one start at Mount Pleasant entered the gates, including Michigan-bred Refined Cowboy; who showed little in a second-to-last finish. The other two starters, both trained by Adam Oxendine, fared better. Arrow Stone Head took home a third place check and Apollo Two Socks notched a fourth. Both horses shipped to Mount Pleasant for a few starts near the end of this year’s meet.

The star of the Michigan contingent on opening day, however, was jockey Oscar Delgado. In four starts, Delgado picked up a win and a second place finish. He found the winner’s circle in his first start aboard California-bred Nudder Budder. Delgado picked up another win in the nightcap of Sunday’s card aboard Devilfish.

In terms of new business, Monday’s card will be highlighted by the first out-of-state start by Mount Pleasant Meadows fan favorite Ozzy You Can Do It. The Michigan-bred Aze Beduino gelding has won 11 of 42 lifetime starts, all at the central Michigan oval. Ozzy You Can Do It will also be the first paint horse to compete at Hialeah since its reopening, possibly ever.

Ozzy You Can Do It appears to have the confidence of the oddsmakers, who have him picked second with morning line odds of 3-1. He had his first workout over the surface on Sunday, where he covered 220 yards in 12.53 seconds breezing. The time was the fourth fastest out of seven horses working at the distance.

UPDATE: Ozzy finished last in his start earlier today. By the looks of the chart, he ran into traffic problems early on and was taken out of contention before he could do much. Regardless, it was nice to see the betting public support Ozzy as the third choice at 3.20-to-one. Hopefully he can improve his fortune in future starts with a clean trip.

Tuesday’s entries yield at least three horses with experience at Mount Pleasant Meadows: former stakes regular Track Monster, Bye Bye Cartel and Patriotic Bill, who makes his first start since 2008, where he won a match race against arguably the slowest horse on the grounds then was disqualified. That was a crazy day.

Best of luck to all the Mount Pleasant Meadows-based (or visiting) connections during Hialeah Park’s rededicated inaugural meet.

For more information on Hialeah Park, visit http://www.hialeahparkracing.com/.

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