The Return of the RRR
The Return of the RRR (Roving Rodent Reporter) for the second last time!!
TOPO’s CANADIAN DERBY #89 Preview – Northlands Park Saturday August 25, 2018
Topo – Mouse of the People – has not done much roving and/or reporting lately, as a matter of fact has just awaken from a rather lengthy slumber. Now that we have gathered our faculties we did note that a couple of noteworthy events have transpired in the Alberta horse racing industry since last year’s running of the 88th Derby. Topo personally views one of these events as being positive the other not so much. We will leave it up to the Nation to personally assess which is which.
First, we note that the horse who finished ahead of the field in the 2017 Derby – Chief Know It All has not been officially recognized nor have his owners been paid the winner’s first place share ($90,000) of the Purse. For that matter neither have the owners of the horses who dead heated for 2nd – Double Bear and Trooper John received their payouts.
To backtrack, after the running of the race, a claim of foul for alleged interference turning into the homestretch was lodged by the connections of Double Bear. The stewards in the stands who watched the race live and then on video tape ruled there would be no change. The Double Bear people not liking that call, subsequently appealed the decision to an arm of the Provincial Government – the Appeal Tribunal.
Topo understands from various sources who were in attendance at the Appeal process, that in their view that the two members of the Tribunal who potentially are great lawyers had absolutely, positively no clue or expertise in the field of horseracing yet were charged with the task of ruling whether or not the winner’s number should come down. Without the required expertise how can they possibly overturn the Stewards decision? You guessed it – they did; resulting in the disqualification of the winner. Now Zio Robertino’s camp was not happy with this turn of events and vowed to continue the challenge through all legal avenues open to them.
So one year and 6 days later, $135,000 of the $150,000 purse remains in the Horsemen’s Bookkeeper’s office at Northlands. The only folks who have been paid are the legal beagles on all sides – which there are many. Topo conservatively estimates that when this ordeal ends probably in another year at the earliest, legal costs incurred by all sides including the Government and the body governing horse racing in Alberta, will be in excess of the $135,000 being fought over – great way humanoids do business!!
Topo possessing extreme knowledge in various aspects of horse racing offers no opinion on the disqualification since he has to defer to the Stewards who have plenty more expertise and experience in this aspect of the business. Had this infraction occurred in most other jurisdictions in North America – there would be no appeal period – the stewards’ decision is final. Topo will go on the limb and declare that on this particular day the 3 horses in question could have gone around the Northlands oval 3 more times and the result would not have changed with Chief Know It All being the winner on the track.
The “Chief” still waiting for the results of the 2017 Canadian Derby!
Second, we see that The Chair and CEO of Horse Racing Alberta (the Captain or CCW [Current Chair Warmer] and Tenile, pet names courtesy of the scribes at Holybull) left their posts in 2018. Topo has only two words for the departees – Good Bye!!
Canadian Derby #89 – The Analysis
It is now time to focus on the matter at hand –the final running of the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park. If Topo was capable of shedding tears they would flow nonstop for days with the realization that on August 25, 2018, racing at the Park comes to an end. Topo will have lots more to say about this in the Derby recap – stay tuned!
This year the field of 9 runners is light in numbers but competitive in quality. Once again Topo finds himself in an impossible position as it pertains to which horse to back for his loyal followers. Both of our Benefactors– Team Diodoro and the folks at Riversedge have entered two each in the big race and it is not wise for Topo to choose one camp over the other for fear of reprisals.
We would think that #4 Sky Promise and #3 Hynford have a class edge in here. Sky Promise comes off a win in the 1 1/8 mile Manitoba Derby. This is the customary route that Diodoro takes – scout out potential horses to claim/buy about 2 months before the Canadian Derby, use the Manitoba Derby as a prep race with the ultimate goal being the Canadian Derby. Fly leading Alberta rider Rico Walcott along with his Super-Agent Bob Fowlis to Winnipeg and get the job done. This time it was with relative ease with the margin of victory being 7 ½ lengths.
The problem that Fowlis has this year is that his number one financial contributor Rico was named on both horses at the time of the draw. Making things more difficult as to which horse to put Walcott on is that Hynford was a private purchase at a cost Topo estimates to be in the area of maybe 3 times the $40,000 paid for Sky Promise. Hynford has been keeping tougher company and was beaten only 2 lengths by Arkansas Derby Winner Magnum Moon who prior to this year’s Ky. Derby was 4/4 and has earnings of nearly $1.2 million. Hynford has not raced in over two months and his last race running in the Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury on the Turf has to be a throw since he did not appear to like grass. Should Hynford win it will a requirement for all visitors to the Winner’s Circle to get on their knees and bow many, many times to Trainer Diodoro who will have accomplished a training miracle not unlike the ones Bob Baffert pulls off. Topo believes Rico will ultimately ride Sky Promise (tough to take off a horse that just won by almost 8 lengths) and maybe use Wilmer Galvis on Hynford.
Riversedge partners Norm Castiglione and Robert Vargo also send two runners in search of victory in the final Canadian Derby at Northlands – bookends #1 Gem Alta and #9 Red River Bear. The latter is owned in partnership with Dany Dion (Bear Stables) who Topo last saw at Northlands hoisting the 2015 Canadian Derby trophy when the filly Academic beat the boys. Sure would be nice to see Dany in attendance for the final racing day at Northlands as he was a major player in the Alberta thoroughbred industry. Topo did note that his orange and black silks no longer have an imprint of Bear with a chainsaw in hand, he has now gone to a modest picture of only a bear’s head on the silks. Gem Alta’s form has come to life since arriving in Alberta, winning a condition Allowance race handily and running third in the Alberta Derby in Grand Prairie behind two others in this race; #6 Regal Max and #5 Shimshine. Red River Bear although still a Maiden could relish the 1 3/8 mile distance, again assuming there is sufficient pace to run at.
Topo seems to be rambling so it’s time to jump into action. The way the race sets up is there are two speed horses in here – Regal Max and Shimshine with the rest being closers. We don’t think either one of those tow will be around at the end if the pace is quick but if they doddle along on the front end the closers will not make up any significant ground. Unless there is a significant reversal of form we do not believe that either #2 Pickford or #9 For Mac will contend. Topo believes that the BC invader #7 Day Raider who is second on trainer Craig MacPherson’s depth chart at Hastings Park has the talent to win this – assuming of course that there is pace to run at. He has the breeding to run all day and in 6 lifetime starts he has not been out of the money – his last two races confirms he is ready for a top effort. Had Craig brought Riversedge’s top 3 yo Weekend Wizard, Topo would have been all over him in the wagering department – loyalty or no loyalty – since we feel he is the fastest and best sophomore in Western Canada and maybe even Washington. He is slated to race in the BC Derby and the last stake race of the season at Emerald Downs.
Since we truly believe this will be the last live thoroughbred race for Northlands we had better step up to the mutuals with a:
$50 Win and $50 show on #7 Day Raider.
$2 Exacta Box: #1,4,5,7.
$1 Tri – $7 with 1, 3, 4, 6, 9.
Total Investment – $144.00
Saturday’s final Northlands racing card is outstanding with 12 races featuring full fields which make this a day of great wagering opportunities. With wagering from all sources, the pools will be significant and the winning payoffs should be higher than normal. Post time is at 12 noon with the Derby carded as Race 12 going to the starting gate at around 7 pm. It promises to be a long enjoyable day. As a past President of Northlands used to say – Bet Early and Bet Often!!
Topo’s favorite horse of all time – Remind Mee.