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Sam-Son pair cranks up for International
ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sam-Son Farm didn't make much of an impact on last Sunday's Atto Mile, with Strut the Stage finishing seventh and Quiet Resolve 11th in the field of 13.
Now the perennial powerhouse is turning its attention to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Canadian International, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up here Sept. 29.
Sam-Son has five horses nominated, but trainer Mark Frostad will call upon Full of Wonder and Portcullis to fly the Canadian flag in the International.
Full of Wonder, a 4-year-old colt who became a stakes winner here in the Grade 1 Niagara over 1 1/2 miles of grass at Woodbine Aug. 31, worked five furlongs in 1:01 on a firm training track turf course Friday. Regular rider Todd Kabel was aboard for the drill.
Portcullis, a 3-year-old gelding, is riding the crest of three consecutive turf stakes wins here, the latest coming in the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Aug. 10. His rider is Slade Callaghan.
Dancethruthedawn eyes Spinster
Dancethruthedawn, another big shooter in the Sam-Son arsenal, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 under assistant trainer Hugh Chatman on a fast main track Friday and is slated to make her next start in Keeneland's Grade 1 Spinster on Oct. 6.
The $500,000 Spinster, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares, is one of the key preps for the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Dancethruthedawn, who won the Queen's Plate en route to being named Canada's champion 3-year-old filly last year, became a Grade 1 winner in the Go for Wand at Saratoga on July 28 but then finished a disappointing third there in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Aug. 23.
An honor just to be bobbleheaded
When Sandy Hawley began his riding career in 1968, little did he know that his accomplishments would one day gain him immortality in the form of a bobblehead doll.
But that time has come, and Hawley, who retired from the saddle in 1998 with 6,449 career victories to his credit, will be on hand here Sunday along with his wife, Lisa, and sons Bradley, 10, and Russell, 8, when his bobblehead likeness will be available in a promotional giveaway.
"Now that I'm getting a bobblehead, my boys really think I've done something," said Hawley.
But, kidding aside, the personable Hawley actually is taking the bobblehead business quite seriously.
"I look at the company I'm in, the people that have their own bobbleheads, all the other different athletes and the jockeys like Pincay, McCarron, Bailey - and it's pretty neat. I feel honored."
Hawley, a racing Hall of Famer in both Canada and the U.S., has been working as a public relations ambassador for the Woodbine Entertainment Group since 1999 and continues to thrive in that role. "Things are going great," said the 53-year-old Hawley, who lives in nearby Pickering, Ont. "I'm really enjoying my job, working in public and media relations."
Hawley's duties include public speaking, meeting groups at the racetrack, and color commentary for the Woodbine television department on the regular Sportsnet telecasts.
He plays golf and is an avid follower of the National Hockey League.
Hawley feels little regret about leaving the day-to-day grind of race-riding, but there are other moments. "I did it for 30 years, and I wanted to move on," he said, "but when I see the big races, yes, I wish I were out there for them."
Small Promises Fort Erie-bound
Small Promises drilled four furlongs in 47.40 seconds on a fast training track Friday and is headed for Fort Erie's Harry A. Hindmarsh Stakes on Sept. 24.
The Hindmarsh, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares, is restricted to fillies and mares who went through the ring in one of the open yearling sales or 2-year-olds in training sales here at Woodbine.
Small Promises, owned by Kinghaven Farm in partnership with trainer Roger Attfield, won the 1 1/16-mile Algoma, a yearling sales stakes for fillies and mares, in her last start.
Bravely works on turf
Bravely, runner-up in the July 23 Prince of Wales at Fort Erie before finishing a distant last of 10 when making his turf debut in the Breeders', worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds on the turf training course Friday.
"We'll give the turf another whirl," said trainer Catherine Day Phillips, pointing out that Bravely remains eligible for the first allowance condition.
Moonlight Affair drills five furlongs
Moonlight Affair, who last saw action when third in the six-furlong Ballade here June 12, drilled five furlongs in 58.80 on the turf training course Friday.
"That was her first work back from the farm," said Malcolm Pierce, who trains Moonlight Affair for Stronach Stable.
A Kentucky-bred but Ontario-sired 4-year-old filly, Moonlight Affair won three stakes last year when trained by Tino Attard.
Na Somsanith's book goes to Zweig
Jockey agent Ken Zweig has taken over the book of Na Somsanith and is temporarily representing Jim McKnight, who is back at Woodbine after spending the last couple of months in Kentucky.
Alec Wick, currently on vacation, will resume his position as McKnight's agent next month. Zweig's main client is the currently injured David Clark.
- The Jockeys' Benefit Association of Canada will hold its annual charity barbeque at Woodbine on Oct. 7.
Proceeds will be divided among the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society; CARD (Community Association for Riding for the Disabled); and the Barn 7 Recovery Fund, which provides aid to horse people directly affected by last month's barn fire. Tickets are, at $30 each, can be obtained from Vicki Pappas at 416-675-3993, ext. 3440.
- Jane Holmes, executive director of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, and Ron Barbaro, chairman and chief executive officer of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., will be among the speakers at the new Racing and Gaming Summit on Dec. 10 in Tucson, Arizona. The event is being held in conjunction with the 29th annual Symposium of Racing presented by the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, which runs from Dec. 10 through Dec. 13.