We now continue with the major “players” who import turf
SHIRREFFS (B+) He recently took over as the major trainer for the
Thoroughbred Corp. in Southern California, even though they spread their
horses among many of the top trainers. For those of you unaware of
John Shirreffs, he was the “private” trainer for the once very powerful
505 Farms which was dissolved some time back. Make no
mistake, the guy can train though shunning the
“limelight”. He prefers to blend into the crowd in his decidedly dressed-down
clothing and favorite sneakers! Since the Thoroughbred Corp. brings
in many overseas horses, Shirreffs must be reckoned with.
In fact, he’s one of the most “bettable”
trainers on the grounds as mutuel “price” is of absolutely NO
concern to Shirreffs or the Thoroughbred Corp. Their
horses actually “pick up their feet” @ 3-5 and 4-5 with regularity!
be afraid to bet one of their runners provided a few things are present.
First lasix is a must as is seems to be
with all overseas imports regardless of who brings
them in. (They must ALL suddenly and very mysteriously
“bleed” as they step off the plane, or do they ALL
need a masking agent?) Secondly, Shirreffs tries to hide NOTHING
when it comes to his imports morning worktab---again, mutuel price doesn’t
matter so there is no reason to “hide” anything from anyone! These
morning worktabs must be evenly spaced every 5 to
8 days with NO GAPS of anykind! Thirdly,
his winners all look magnificent in the paddock and get excellent pre-race
warm-ups when they are planning on getting their pictures taken. Shirreffs
is talented off the layoff be it turf or dirt---long or short. NEVER
dismiss any of his horses “out of hand”, as he’s shocked
me more than once over the past 5 years! First time starters
also seem to pose NO problem for John and win more
than their fair share. He’s simply always a threat and
uses all the top riders.
CANANI (B) The legendary Julio Canani needs little
introduction to regular and long time fans of Southern California racing.
Simply put, the man “can” whenever the basic raw material
to work with. If he’s in a race, he’s most likely “trying” to include
his turf imports with very few exceptions. He returned to training
a few years back after a short absence and came back with a vengeance
with runners like Ladies Din, Tranquility Lake and a host of other multiple
“Graded” winners far too many to mention. Though a bit quiet of late,
when his barn erupts, everybody under his entire shed row “comes alive”!
solid morning worktabs that are evenly
spaced (longer drills of 6 to 8 furlongs not at all uncommon)
with absolutely NO GAPS, might be the key or best
“tell” to when Julio is cracking down and “sending”.
And, of course, lasix is a “given” with all stateside debuters.
closing on Canani, be aware that in this family, the apple (son
Nick) fell about as close to the tree as you
could possibly get. Simply put, like father, like son! And when they
are both in the same race, it’s almost a “given” that
one or both will make their presence felt if not winning it all and/or
running first and second respectively with no preference given to either
from a betting standpoint.
DOLLASE (B) Before Wally gave up his extensive and diverse public
stable to train exclusively for The Thoroughbred Corp., he was on my
“A” list when it came to IMPORTED turf newcomers!
relationship with the Thoroughbred Corp. didn’t take long to turn very
sour. They split up at far less than amicable terms
and at this very moment, Wally is slowly “refurbishing” his entire shed
row. When he was on his own in the past with multiple and more patient
and understanding owners, you could never throw
him out of any turf race, much the way I now respect Frankel
and Drysdale. He’s making a strong comeback and will one day be on
top of the heap.
you need any proof of his abilities, one only need
look to Persianlux (a former 50K claimer) who on 4/14/01
nearly handled Bienamado a humiliating defeat at Santa
Anita in the Grade 1 and 400K pursed San Juan Capistrano. Persianlux
was only beaten only a mere ½ length in deep stretch
after leading thruout in this 1 ¾ mile affair and Bienamado
was life and death to beat him!
of course, was after this reborn and talented 50K claimer had won the
200K Grade 2 San Luis Obispo 56 days earlier on 2/17/01!!!
I think that says it all about his training abilities even though he’s
been downright “chilly” thru the first 1/3 of the 2001 racing season.
From a wagering standpoint, his runners go very well “fresh” off the
bench and, of course, lasix is a must!
hides nothing as evidenced by very solid and evenly-spaced workouts
that have become “standard fare” with all his well-intended runners
no matter if imported of domestic . If there is any interruption in
morning drills, today’s race is usually nothing more than a “public
workout” with an intended “crackdown” most likely occurring next
uses all the major jockeys to include son-in-law Corey Nakatani with
no real preference to any and interchanges them at will. Even 2nd
tier riders like Brice Blanc are used on occasion.
his stable fills out a bit with both imports and domestics, it won’t
be long before he’s back on my “A” list!
perhaps even more so than Julio’s Canani’s son Nick, “Kid” Dollase
is now one of the premier young “upstarts”
in the nation, if not “the” Tiger Woods of horseracing’s
multi-talented lad already has a Breeder’s Cup
win (Reraise) under his belt while still shy of 30 years
of age. This “apple” never left the tree, let alone falling
close to it. While “Kid” Dollase only brings in an import once in a
blue moon, loooooooook out---he’s absolutely
deadly in any scenario. One of his current champions and one of my
all-time favorites (though not an import) is the unbelievable
El Cielo------what a tremendous job of managing and training. This
multi Graded winner’s story should be “required reading” for all new
3 NEXT WEEK----The second and third tier IMPORTED turf trainers!