Race of the Week 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Thoroughly Woodbine

Big and rich and 'fairly dumb'

The Eclipse Stakes has been captured by many of the titans in Canadian racing. Such steeds as Frost King, Overskate, Izvestia and Mt. Sassafras. Looking initially at the 2010 edition of the race, it was hard to fathom one of the six horses going off as high as 10-1. The field was too evenly-matched.
Even harder to believe was that a Grade 1 placed horse coming off a win in his seasonal bow was on the toteboard at 10-1.  Nevertheless, $22.70 is exactly what those who took a shot at Fifty Proof collected for backing him in the Grade 3 event at Woodbine Racetrack.
In successfully holding off longshot Don Cavallo, the tall chestnut, termed ‘fairly dumb’ by his conditioner, Ian Black, captured his first career graded stakes event by a half-length.
Fifty Proof is now 2-for-2 in 2011. Black is blessed to have considerable options with the five-year-old, now that he’s proven he is more adept over synthetic than he had originally thought.
While two-turns on Polytrack is now a proven comfort, it would be completely irrational to get used to seeing him on that surface.
Last year, under regular rider Justin Stein, Fifty Proof’s best performance came in the 12-furlong Northern Dancer Stakes over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. At 29-1, he nearly pulled off one of the year’s biggest stakes upsets before yielding late to overseas invader Redwood, who won by a half-length.
On the whole, the turf stakes program at Woodbine is much more lucrative than any campaign that could possibly be designed on Polytrack for an older horse. If Fifty Proof has moved forward from last year, he’s dangerous in every start this year.
Saturday’s Eclipse added $108,000 to his bankroll. In just 12 starts, this Ontario-son of Whiskey Wisdom’s bankroll has quietly risen to $569,920.
With earnings averaging $47,493 per attempt, Fifty Proof is moving into territory occupied by his double-millionaire stablemate Rahy’s Attorney, who earns at a rate of $54,329 per trip to post.
Not certain if a formal record book exists denoting this accomplishment, but it has to be pretty safe to say that Rahy’s Attorney is the richest Ontario-sired horse in the province’s history.
If Fifty Proof keeps improving and connecting, he’s in position to take an interesting run at the aforementioned purse title held by the son of Crown Attorney. Daring to dream for a minute along with owners John Fielding, Ben Hutzel and Kinghaven Farms, a Fifty Proof victory in the $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International (October 16), hypothetically speaking, would push him about $1 million closer: the $900,000 top prize plus $180,000 (60% of the $300,000 for which he is eligible from the Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP) for being an Ontario-foaled runner).
It’s a tough assignment. But it’s hard to put peak restrictions on a horse when he’s on the improve. Between now and October anything is possible because you just never know…


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Older Comments about Big and rich and 'fairly dumb'...

This boy gives his all every time out. I just Think he is good at 9-10 furlongs. Turf or Poly. Gutsy Guy that Fifty Proof.
Fifty Proof made me some money this past weekend. I thought he was overlooked in the Eclipse and loved his morning line odds. Good win.
  • Woodbine · Great for you! I used an all in the race hoping for some sort of chaos, but I think a later leg bounced me out of the running. · 2367 days ago
I just bought a Canadian bred filly (out of a Meadowlake mare) and noticed her older sister broke her maiden in a $68,000 MSW.. wow! With those purses, I am going to start paying attention to the action up north! Look forward to future posts.
  • Woodbine · Thanks for the comment, 12thCrown. Lots of options at Woodbine for your filly and, if you need one, lots of competent trainers that can manage her for you in a lucrative fashion! The purse money is too strong not to consider a campaign in Toronto. Good luck with her! · 2367 days ago
Fifty Proof made me some money this past weekend. I thought he was overlooked in the Eclipse and loved his morning line odds. Good win.
Adam, I completely agree with you, 10-1 on Fifty Proof was a steal. I'm just wondering what has become of the Exhi of last summer.
  • Woodbine · Good question. Has to be something physical amiss. I can't see Castellano making trip for a short horse. Can't blame pace too much since Fifty Proof was camped right off of it. Turned out to be a big weekend for Ian Black with Stormy Lord connecting in Connaught. · 2370 days ago

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Meet Adam Hickman
I join the Horse Racing Nation team as a longtime fan and enthusiastic student of Canadian thoroughbred racing. With 22 years of race-watching and form-studying under my belt, I’m a graduate of an era that brought stars like With Approval, Izvestia, Dance Smartly and Peteski. I spent the better part of the 1990s as a casual fan, attending races on weekends. I had the privilege of being in the grandstand on one of the premiere days in Woodbine lore – the 1996 Breeders’ Cup, the one and only time the Stanley Cup of thoroughbred racing was held outside of the United States.
In 2000, about two years after graduating from Carleton University with a Journalism degree, I crossed the apron and joined the employee ranks at the Woodbine Entertainment Group, taking a position as a field camera operator that eventually led to an Associate Producer’s role in the Woodbine Broadcast Department. I developed and produced several regular segments that have aired over Woodbine’s simulcast network as well as on the national network broadcasts.  In 2005, I moved to the Woodbine Publicity Office to perform various media relations duties and write for WoodbineEntertainment.com.
If there’s a thread that defined my 11-year tenure during all three WEG positions, it’s that I engineered my contribution around bridging the information gap between fan and horse.  One such initiative came in 2010, when I endeavored to bring fans regular morning Woodbine workout coverage, shooting and uploading close to 500 videos over the season. While I have moved on from my communications coordinator position to pursue different freelance opportunities, my dedication to providing fans with relevant insight and unique information won’t ever cease to be a part of my ongoing adventures in horse racing.

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