Nicholas Gonzales, a racing trainer in Canada, is justly proud to have sent two horses in four years to the winner's circle in the Queen's Plate, one of Canada's most prestigious Thoroughbred races. Gonzales won with Big Red Mike in 2010 and repeated the victory with Midnight Aria in 2013.
Midnight Aria ran his early races on turf tracks, but was even more competitive on synthetic surfaces like the Polytrack at Woodbine Racecourse. The big colt set the early pace and then held off a strong challenge at the wire to claim the win.
Big Red Mike and Midnight Aria were both trained and raced on Pro Sport Plus, a feed produced by Brooks Performance Horse Feeds in Port Perry, Ontario, Canada. This textured feed supplies energy from carbohydrates, vegetable oil, and super-fibers, and is fortified with vitamins and chelated minerals for superior bioavailability. Brooks is a Kentucky Equine Research Team Member.
Somewhat of a longshot at odds of 16-1, Midnight Aria broke first out of the starting gate and held the lead all the way to the finish line in the 154th running of the $1 million Queen's Plate. The race, Canada's oldest Thoroughbred contest, was held at Woodbine Racetrack.
Midnight Aria trains and races on products manufactured and distributed by Brooks Performance Horse Feeds, a Team Member of Kentucky Equine Research. Brooks Feed offers a complete line of horse feeds including pelleted and textured products that have been formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of breeding, growing, racing, and other high performance equines.
Trained by Nick Gonzalez and ridden by Jesse Campbell, the Tucci Stables horse defeated favorite Up With The Birds in a light drizzle. Earlier heavy storms had produced a soggy track that obviously didn't hinder Midnight Aria's running style in the 1 1/4-mile race.
The Queen's Plate is the first jewel of Canadian Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown series. The victory was the jockey's first win in this race and the second for trainer Gonzalez, who saddled Big Red Mike for a similar wire to wire run in 2010. It was also the second win in nine career starts for Midnight Aria. Earlier this season, the horse finished third in last month's Plate Trial.
Canadian eventing rider Anita Nemtin-Gilmour and her horse Topper, a 17.3-hand Canadian Sport Horse gelding, claimed a second-place finish in the FEI CIC** division at Dreamcrest Horse Trials in Port Perry, Ontario. Anita and Topper have had a good summer show season and are training toward the Fair Hill CCI** in Maryland later this fall.
Anita has won the title of Ontario Champion multiple times on a number of different horses, and has been named Leading Lady Rider three times. At her Top Notch Farms in Ontario, she offers breaking and training of young horses and lessons for riders. She is sponsored by Brooks Performance Horse Feeds, a Team Member of Kentucky Equine Research. To fuel her horses' efforts in training and competition, Anita chooses top-quality rations from Brooks Feeds including Phase V, Phase III, All Phase 20, and Flax Appeal.
The roping accomplishments of Campbellford, Ontario, resident Brad Heffernan include the Dodge Rodeo Tour Championship in 2001, Ontario Roping Association Champion in 2002, Terry Dunk Memorial Roping Champion in 2008 and 2009, and strong showings at the American Quarter Horse Congress in 2005 and 2007.
Fuelling the explosive burst of speed necessary for a successful roping horse isn't something Heffernan trusts to any feed other than a Brooks feed.
"I know I drive past several feed stores from my farm to buy Brooks feed," Heffernan said, "but I believe my horses need the concentrated energy in Phase III to be at their best. I love this sport and my horses. It's in my blood. I know that a Brooks feed is the best there is so I won't use anything else."
Feeding a barrel horse can present a real challenge for an equine nutrition advisor. How do you supply the energy to fuel the enormous power, speed, and propulsion necessary to successfully compete and still have a controllable horse under you?
Melanie Desforges of Ottawa, Ontario, had wondered the same when she first talked to Tania Laframboise a Brooks Feed nutrition advisor from the Embrun Co-op. With Laframboise's help, Desforges is having her best season ever in 2010.
This is what Desforges had to say about Brooks and how Laframboise helped get her mare Royal Flexy Chick in the right frame of mind:
"It's because of the support I get from a great team that I can realize this lifelong dream. I was looking for a feed that would give Chick all the nutrition she needs and give me all the control I need in one formula. I needed a feed that would maximize her performance. That's when I talked to Tania Laframboise, an equine nutrition consultant with Embrun Co-op, and she said Brooks' Release (Un-Ti) would do the trick.
"It's a very concentrated formula that I give in smaller quantities. Her performance and fitness are at the desired level and it's less expensive then what I was doing before. One formula at the right amount! I saw a lot of positive changes but to me the time for the recuperation of her muscle energy between runs is the best feature. She is ready to go again much faster than before and she runs as hard the last go as she did the first. I'm extremely happy with the results. Thanks to all of the Brooks team!"
Nicholas Gonzalez, who saddled Big Red Mike to a win in the recent Queen's Plate Stakes at Woodbine, was named Trainer of the Week according to Thoroughbred Times Today.
Kentucky Equine Research Team Member Brooks Feed in Ontario is the feed supplier of choice for Big Red Mike and other horses in the trainer's stable.
Gonzales led all trainers by wins in Ontario last year when his horses finished 104 races in first place. Based at Woodbine and Fort Erie, he has a lifetime record of 32 stakes wins.
The Queen's Plate Stakes, the first race in the Canadian Triple Crown, had a celebrity guest this year. Queen Elizabeth II was in attendance to watch Big Red Mike pull away in the stretch at Woodbine Racetrack to win by a length and a half.
Big Red Mike, the wire-to-wire leader in the $944,316 race for Canadian-born three-year-olds, is trained by Nicholas Gonzalez. Kentucky Equine Research Team Member Brooks Feed Store in Port Perry, Ontario supplies feed to Gonzalez' training stable.
Big Red Mike is owned by the Terra Racing Stable and is named for owner Dom Romeo's red-haired son. The horse's next start will be in the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie Raceway.
The growth of Braecrest Stables in Loretta, Ontario, from a rough piece of property to the beautiful facility it has become is a family affair. Hours of hard work from building fences to the construction of new barns and an arena has transformed Braecrest into a first-class training, boarding, and breeding facility.
At the heart of Braecrest Stables are the devotion and the knowledge of Claire Hunter. Hunter is the trainer, coach, and guiding force that clearly impresses those who seek out her abilities.
Hunter has a way of describing her equine philosophy that is equal parts knowledge and passion.
"Instilling the confidence, trust, and willingness in these animals is imperative for a successful future, whether it be in the show ring, or pleasure riding at home," she said. "When you create a relationship of mutual respect and understanding between horse and rider it results in reliable, safe, happy horse and a confident, successful rider."
Of course Claire's attention to detail extends to nutrition as well, where KER Team Member Brooks Performance Horse Feeds plays an integral role.
"At Braecrest Stables, we care for and train a huge variety of different breeds and ages of horses from foals to mature show horses. All have varied nutritional requirements and are therefore placed on individual feed programs. We chose Brooks Feeds because of the quality, consistency, and selection available. We can always depend on Brooks for our nutritional needs," remarked Claire.
"We have used these products extensively over the years: All Phase, Flax Appeal, Un- Ti, Phase II, Phase V, and Fit & Fibre. Not only are the feeds extremely palatable, the horses have never looked better. I'm proud to tell my clients that their future champions and equine partners are in very good hands with Brooks Feeds."
At Caelum Stables in Ontario, Canada, the barns and fields are full of all kinds of horses: broodmares, foals, racetrack layups, and a few emaciated rescue horses. Laurie Clark, a dealer for KER Team Member Brooks Performance Horse Feeds, evaluates the needs of each type of horse and recommends a Brooks product to meet the unique requirements of horses in that class. One of the latest arrivals was Gambol, a neglected gelding with a dull coat and a lethargic manner. After a few weeks of loving care and a ration based on Brooks feeds, the gelding's progress was spectacular. Kim Speirs, who shares ownership of the stable with Justin Nitti, commented, "The transformation some of these horses go through is absolutely amazing. The feed is an integral part to our service and care that we provide. They couldn't pay me to switch to any other feed."
At a large equine facility, feeding different classes of horses--broodmares, foals, young horses in training--requires careful thought as well as ongoing evaluation of how each animal is getting along. At "A Place for Standardbreds" in Ontario, Canada, the challenge of feeding these diverse groups of horses was met by Laurie Clarke, a representative of Brooks Performance Horse Feeds. Clarke applied her knowledge of equine nutrition in recommending suitable products in the Brooks line for all horses at the facility. Farm operator Heather Shaldoff said, "The horses look great, and we appreciate the support we get from Brooks." Kentucky Equine Research supplies formulations and consultation to Brooks Performance Horse Feeds, a Team Member company.
On an endurance course that had to be shortened when officials ruled that the footing was becoming too slippery and unstable, Canadian rider Ruth Sturley brought her chestnut Arabian gelding through the demanding competition in which 70 other riders were unable to finish. Heavy rain early in the day challenged horses that had to work harder to maintain their pace. Sturley finished in a time of 8 hours and 54 minutes, and her horse's recovery score was better than average for all horses completing the course, indicating excellent training and conditioning during the preparatory period. Sturley uses products manufactured by KER Team Member Brooks Performance Horse Feeds to fuel her horse's efforts.
Endurance riding at the top levels is serious business. Training and conditioning a horse to cover 100 miles requires time, dedication, lots of miles in the saddle...and a superior nutritional program to meet the demands of extreme performance. Two riders from Canada, Wendy Benns and Ruth Sturley, have gotten good results by using products formulated by Kentucky Equine Research and manufactured by KER Team Member Brooks Performance Horse Feeds in Ontario. Brooks sponsors these top riders and their horses, Supreme Justice and RBF Super Sport, and wishes them success as they compete in the Kentucky Cup Endurance CEI Three-Star at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Congratulations to Greg and Susan Watson, owners of Full Circle Farm in Ontario and breeders of Sum Fun To Watch. Piloted by jockey Ramon Dominguez, this young Quarter Horse recently won the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity by a head at Ajax Downs northeast of Toronto. The race, with a total gross purse value of $131,000, is one of Canada's richest Quarter Horse contests. Greg Watson trained the two-year-old homebred, relying on the Phase line of feeds from Kentucky Equine Research Team Member Brooks Performance Horse Feeds to support the horse's growth and development. Watson, a customer service representative for Brooks, also looked to KER's Gro-Trac program to keep his futurity contender on a safe growth curve.
Robert Tiller, widely known as a leading Thoroughbred trainer, has been honored with induction into the 2008 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Tiller's career has produced countless winners, and his feed of choice has been supplied by KER Team Member Brooks Performance Horse Feeds. In tribute to Tiller, Dan Irwin of Brooks said, "When you mention Robert Tiller, there is immediate respect as a trainer and as a very genuine human being. This is a richly deserved honor."
Congratulations to Bill and Belinda Taggart of Uxbridge, Ontario. Their two-year-old Quarter Horse filly First Kool Money was named 2007 Canadian Champion after an incredible 2007 race record of six wins, two seconds and one third in nine starts at Ajax Downs and $97, 400 in earnings.
With a much greater number of horses and tracks, Alberta has diminated this award in the past. First Kool Money is only the second Ontario horse to be honored in this way and the first in 16 years. Among the highlights in 2007 were wins in the All Canadian Futurity and the Alex Picov Memorial Futurity.
First Kool Money was raised from weaning on Brooks Performance Feeds and is trained by Don Reid who also uses a Brooks-formulated feed.
Congratulations, Bill and Belinda!