Meanwhile in … Hot Springs, Arkansas

Horse Racing Blackberry Wine
Blackberry Wine: When is a maiden not a maiden? Photo: Fair Grounds/Hodges Photography

Three-year-old breaks maiden – by winning for the third time

USA: Blackberry Wine, a three-year-old trained by Joe Sharp, recently gained an unlikely distinction when he broke his maiden – on the third occasion he had passed the post in front.

Sent off 3-5 favourite for a maiden special weight contest over 1m½f on the Rebel Stakes card at Oaklawn Park on March 14, Blackberry Wine duly slammed his rivals by the small matter of 13 lengths to register his first official success on his eighth career outing.

Mind you, perhaps such an outcome wasn’t entirely surprising given that the son of Oxbow had passed the post first, nearly six lengths ahead of the runner-up, on his fourth start as a two-year-old at Churchill Downs on November 30.

Then he was sent down the Kentucky Derby trail after an allowance ‘victory’ at Fair Grounds on January 18, after which he was sent off a leading fancy for a division of the G2 Risen Star Stakes, in which he was prominent until fading in the stretch.

Blackberry Wine was still eligible for maiden company as he was subsequently disqualified from both previous successes after being caught up in a slew of positive tests for Levamisole surrounding the Sharp stable.

Horse Racing Joe Sharp trainer
Joe Sharp: “Literally a nightmare – an expensive lesson for a very, very honest mistake.”
Photo: Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography


Levamisole is designated a Class 2 drug and is found in deworming medications used by Sharp, who has had 12 horses DQ’d altogether over the substance.

“It’s literally been a nightmare,” said the trainer, speaking to The Paulick Report last month when news broke of the first rash of Levamisole positives. “It’s an expensive lesson for a very, very honest mistake, but we have to move forward.”

• More US news at paulickreport.com

Meanwhile (redux) in … Dubai

Because we all need a giggle, we’ve got two for the price of one this week. ICYMI, here’s something from Friday’s racing at Jebel Ali before they suspended operations in Dubai, posted by those mischievous gents at Hot Scot Racing on Twitter. It’s really not big and it’s not clever…

TW3: Best Beyer: Factor This

TW3: On the record: Gai Waterhouse, William Haggas, Vincent Ho and more …

TW3: TRC rankings star: Tom Marquand

USA: Leading Kentucky fancy Tiz The Law heads red-hot Florida Derby