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Down The Stretch Podcast

Sports & Recreation Podcasts

A colourful, entertaining and passionate weekly look at thoroughbred, standardbred and quarter horse racing in Ontario hosted by Peter Gross.




A colourful, entertaining and passionate weekly look at thoroughbred, standardbred and quarter horse racing in Ontario hosted by Peter Gross.






Down the Stretch for May 29, 2023

This podcast cover lots of ground - some of it on the turf because Woodbine ran its first grass races last Saturday. It was a big day for South African jockey Ryan Munger. It was Opening Day at Fort Erie and when a lady named Rachel Slevinsky won a race, it piqued our curiosity. Race caller Sugar Doyle had his ’A’ game at Western Fair for the Forest City Pace and the Camluck Classic. Garnet Barnsdale hooked up with Chris Christoforou at the President’s reception for the new inductees into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Host Peter Gross got his idol, the legendary race caller Tom Durkin on the phone to chat about him coming out of retirement to call the Belmont Stakes. And for families that like to have all the cheques coming to the same address, we have races at Mohawk won by father Dustin and son Tyler Jones, and a heat from Australia in which the Parnham brothers ran 1-2-3-


Down the Stretch for May 22, 2023

This is another very busy horse racing podcast. We’ve got a couple of Stakes races from Woodbine and 4 SBOA Finals from Mohawk. Irwin Driedger passed away on the weekend and we remember him. There was a slight upset in the Preakness at Pimlico, so once again, there will not be a Triple Crown winner. Mighty Heart, who won the 2020 Queen’s Plate, has been retired and author Jennifer Morrison tells us how life-changing this one-eyed wonder was to her and all the people involved in his racing career. We have 2 Morrisons in this podcast – Moncton’s Ailsa Morrison won again at Gulfstream. The terrific Modern Games won a Group l race in England, but not before a rival tried to rip his face off. Ever seen a husband-wife team take down the daily double? It happened at Louisiana Downs. And sit back and laugh at horse racing jokes from the King of the One-Liners, Henny Youngman.


Down the Stretch for May 15, 2023

We have the Whimsical Stakes and the Jacques Cartier from Woodbine. Apprentice jockey Amanda Vandermeersch brought in a huge longshot. South African rider, Ryan Munger is off to great start. Veterans Emma-Jayne Wilson had a great 5-win weekend at Woodbine. We chat with Ariane Milligi Fuller who tells us the best thing to do if you’re going to Saratoga and need a place to stay. We run 3 legs from Mohawk of the eliminations for the SBOA Stakes and go to Ajax Downs for Opening Day which included a race call from the Down The Stretch host, Peter Gross.


Down the Stretch for May 8, 2023

As exciting as the 149th Kentucky Derby was, with a 15-1 upset, it wasn’t the best story at Churchill Downs on Saturday, it was the Churchill downs Stakes in which Cody’s Wish won for teenager Cody Dorman. We have the three finals of the Ontario Sired Graduate Series at Mohawk and we talk with Mark Etsell, the owner and trainer of the wonderful Adare Castle. How about Ryan Munger? In the South African jockey’s first ride at Woodbine, he delivered a 10-1 shot, then told us how he did it. We chat with both Brad Grant and Yvonne Schwabe, who were named respectively to the Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing committees at Woodbine. In recent weeks horses named Toronto and Boston won on the pace, but were those wins accurate predictors of what would happen in playoff hockey series? And on the same day that King Charles lll was being coronated, a horse owned by the king was racing in a Stakes event at Newmarket.


Down the Stretch for May 1, 2023

There was a disqualification in the 1st Stakes race of the year and it was all about not checking the Blind Spot. Expert handicappers Jim Bannon, Jennifer Morrison, Garnet Barnsdale, Jim McKenny and Peter Gross submit their Kentucky Derby picks. We talk with the latest Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductees, Irwin Driedger and Chris Christoforou. Ailsa Morrison broke through at Gulfstream. James MacDonald knows how to rinse and repeat at Mohawk. Chad Rosema explains the brave expensive move that Grand River Raceway is undertaking and what was it that Ken Middleton said in a recent race call that aroused the ire of 1000’s of Maple Leafs fans?


Down the Stretch for April 24, 2023

April 22 was Opening Day of the thoroughbreds at Woodbine and this podcast is all over it. We talk with first race winner Amanda Vandermeersch and her fellow apprentice rider, Sofia Vives. Robert Geller shows he’s game ready in the broadcast booth and fans grabbed their free Woodbine fanny packs to stuff with their winnings. Raj Maharajh explains how a palace intruder and a Trinidad Calypso star helped him name his two-year-old Sovereign Award winner. Philip My Dear. James Macdonald continues to crush it at Mohawk – he scored hattricks on both Friday and Saturday. Less than two weeks until the Kentucky Derby, but we have a debuting two-year-old who popped huge at Keeneland. And we embarrass race analyst, Andy Serling who emphatically claimed a certain horse could not win. Guess what happened?


Down the Stretch for April 17, 2023

We have complete coverage of the 48th Sovereign Awards, including interviews with Kevin Attard, Bruno Schickedanz, Kazushi Kimura and Slade Jones. The always accessible Jim Lawson explains his reasons for stepping down as Woodbine’s CEO. Harness trainer Teesha Symes went 4 for 4 at two tracks recently, but gave Peter Gross blowback when it was suggested it was the greatest night of her career. It was last chance time for Kentucky Derby candidates – the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. Mohawk ran three legs of the Ontario Sired Graduate Series. James MacDonald continues to win in bunches and we couldn’t resist having some fun when a horse named Somebody ran at Parx.


Down the Stretch for April 10, 2023

This podcast has a nice package of Canadians cashing $US at Gulfstream - Chantal Sutherland, Mike DePaulo, Marty Drexler and Bruno Schickedanz. We go to Aqueduct, Keeneland and Santa Anita for Kentucky Derby preps; wait until you hear what the winner of the Wood memorial paid! With just a few days until the April 13 Sovereign Awards, we break down the more significant categories; can you say Moira? There’s controversy at the Meadowlands and it concerns some rules about what drivers can and cannot do in a race and both writer John Berry and driver Scott Zeron tell Down The Stretch the potential punishment is excessive. How many pop stars have made it as jockey? Troy Hearn has been trying to win a thoroughbred race for over 20 years, but as Troy Fernandes, he’s found the YouTube winners circle as an appealing singer. It was Easter weekend, and at Mohawk Saturday night, Doug McNair carved out the sign of the beast - 3 straight wins, all from post 6. And how about that ‘tip’ that God himself gave the Aqueduct bettors on Good Friday?


Down the Stretch for April 3, 2023

Chantal Sutherland was on a 14-1 winner at Gulfstream. Nick Gonzalez cashed in Hallandale and Cheifswood’s Weyburn took down a Stakes race. An amazing Saturday at Gulfstream as the Ortiz brothers, Irad and Jose won 10 of the 14 races, including the Florida Derby. We also have the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn. Jockey Steven Bahen talks about his career after announcing his retirement at the age of 56. Does that mean there is an opportunity for another good rider? Jockey Ryan Munger e-mailed audio from South Africa, explaining why he's coming to Woodbine this year. Trainer Josie Carroll commiserates with host Peter Gross over the probability neither of them will win the Sovereign Award in their respective categories. James MacDonald won 6 at Mohawk Saturday night, including both New Holland Series finals and when you hear our interview with 11-time Sovereign Award-winning writer, Curtis Stock, you will want to get a copy of his latest book about the 5 Turcotte brothers who were all jockeys.


Down the Stretch for March 27, 2023

This podcast takes us all over the planet – to South Africa and a winning race from jockey Ryan Munger, who, as we hear from his agent, Mike Luider, is coming to Woodbine this year. Canadians continue to use U.S. racetracks as their personal ATMs; Chantal Sutherland and Kevin Attard with wins at Gulfstream and Steven Chircop scoring at Aqueduct. This podcast has 3 Kentucky Derby preps and we document an amazing Japanese sweep at the UAE Derby in Dubai. Then we go to the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park in Kentucky and the Sunland Derby in New Mexico. Dan Vella talks with us about retiring from training and taking on a new position at Woodbine as the horse people’s liaison. There was a horse racing question on Jeopardy last week. We would have nailed it but all 3 contestants blew it. And possibly the most important story we have ever done - when Jody Jamieson put a picture of his creamy chicken dumpling soup on Facebook, we got him on the phone to tell us how he makes it.


Down the Stretch for March 20, 2023

This podcast has many races from Gulfstream featuring wins by Emma-Jayne Wilson, Chantal Sutherland, Bill Tharrenos, Marty Drexler and Bruno Schickedanz. Tedson Holder talks about his important connection to It’s a Gamble, the recent winner of the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup. Jeff Hunt didn’t drive his first standardbred until he was 32, but that was worth waiting for it – we have Hunt talking about his great first impression. Kathleen O’Connell made racing history by becoming the winningest lady trainer in North America. We also have Liam Burke, oldest winning jockey in Ireland and 80-year-old Robert Sampson still winning harness races in Maryland. Saulsbrook Victor continues to dominate at Mohawk and we have more proof that Gulfstream’s Pete Aiello is the brightest race-caller on this side of the Atlantic.


Down the Stretch for March 13, 2023

This is another full package of exciting, spinetingling, mind-blowing horse racing results, stories and interviews. We go to Tampa Bay Downs for the Tampa bay Derby, a Kentucky Derby prep. We go to Gulfstream and find Canadians winning races, specifically - Marty Drexler, Bruno Schickedanz and Emma-Jayne Wilson. Last Thursday at Mohawk there were 2 races in which all the drivers were women. That same night, a rare result in a 10-horse trot. We talk Sovereign Awards with Mark Casse, Kevin Attard and Groom of the Year Amber Hutchinson. And how would you feel if your horse ran straight and true, didn’t impede anyone, didn’t break any rules and the judges disqualified it after watching the wrong replay? Believe it or not.. that happened.


Down the Stretch for March 6, 2023

With the Kentucky Derby just 2 months away, we run Derby preps from Gulfstream, Aqueduct, Santa Anita and Turfway Park. We have another winner at Penn National for Steve Chircop who tells us why his lead in the trainers’ race is probably temporary. Roger Attfield chatted with us from Payson Park about the 4 Sovereign Awards his horses might score. Groom Ricardo Nicholson already knows he’s a Sovereign Award winner and he tells us how good that feels. Woodbine’s champion jockey Kazushi Kimura had a big win in a Grade 1 race at Santa Anita and we wish we had bet it. Mark McKelvie explains the thinking of Mohawk Park when it did two different things on snowy nights in Ontario. Saulsbrook Victor won again, and the way he did it is worth listening to, and Vic Stauffer is a great race caller – but wait until you hear how he announced a race when he couldn’t see the horses.


Down the Stretch for February 27, 2023

Another podcast jammed with fascinating, relevant and historic horse racing material – a $Million Kentucky Derby prep race at Oaklawn and a history making win by trainer Steve Asmussen at that same track. This podcast always emphasizes success by Canadians and we have Bill Tharrenos sending out a winner at Gulfstream and trainer Steven Chircop continuing to score at Parx. Natasha Day was mic-ed up at Flamboro and thanks to COSA’s Wired 360, we play her descriptive audio as she does play-by-play of her pacer. Also in this podcast, racing commentator Jeff Bratt tells us how excited he is to be hosting the upcoming Sovereign awards, and long-time broadcaster Chad Rozema explains his move from the studio to the job of running the show at Grand River Raceway. And just to drop your jaws, a night at Flamboro when the first 5 winners all came from the same post, and a 6-year-old pacing mare who didn’t let a 78-race losing streak discourage her.


Down the Stretch for February 20, 2023

We’ve got a nice package of Canadians - Chantal Sutherland, Marty Drexler, Jim and Susan Hill – winning at Gulfstream. There was a 13-1 upset in the Risen Star Stakes on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Jennifer Morrison files from the Quarter Horse Awards Banquet, which had a sad subtext. Trainer Willy Armata assesses the chances of Ironstone for a Sovereign Award in the 3-year-old colt category and Woodbine’s Mark McKelvie reveals how the Free For Alls at Mohawk will mean bigger purses for harness people. We were fascinated by a Finnish study that determined that men with high IQs are more likely to bet the horses, so intellectual giants like Jim Bannon, Tommy Massis, Garnet Barnsdale and Jim McKenny submitted their opinions. And a guy had just one job at Rosecroft Raceway – how could he not know there was a race going on?


Down the Stretch for February 13, 2023

This podcast features win at Gulfstream from Chantal Sutherland, Emma-Jayne Wilson, and Martin Drexler. We have stretch calls from Kentucky Derby preps at Aqueduct, Tampa Bay and Golden Gate. Harness trainer Carmen Auciello talks about the upcoming New Holland pacing and trotting series at Mohawk and what it’s like to be the runner-up year after year in the O’Briens to Richard Moreau. Michael David is the son of long-time local jockey, Daniel David and because we saw his Facebook page, we called him to talk about his riding career. Jessica Paquette is the only full-time female announcer in the U.S. Her race calls are sharp and her interview in this podcast is fascinating. And how did we edit in Chuck Berry, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney into a story about a pacing mare that won 17 straight?


Down the Stretch for February 6, 2023

This podcast has all the winners from the O’Brien Awards, also known as Bulldog Hanover appreciation night. We’ve got a couple of Kentucky Derby prep races, dominated by Bob Baffert and Bill Mott. Woodbine trainer Steven Chircop continues to win races at Penn National and Laurel. Trainer Sara Baillargeon talks about winning at Mohawk for the first time and driver Tyler Borth also delivered his first winner at the Campbellville track. Irad Ortiz is the best jockey in North America and he proved it again by winning 7 straight at Gulfstream. And some 39 years after he took the lovely Janice Groom to the 1984 Queen’s Plate, host Peter Gross finds her to see if a subsequent date is a possibility.


Down the Stretch for January 30, 2023

This week, we run the upset of the Pegasus Stakes and tell you how the winner has a Woodbine connection. Bob Baffert sent out the winner of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. Patrick Husbands won the Coolmore Stakes in Barbados and we have the race call. We interview Emma-Jayne Wilson who is getting fit and riding a few at Gulfstream and we chat with Steven Chircop who is the leading trainer at Penn National. Brett MacDonald hit a nice harness driving plateau and tells us how his pacer Saulsbrook Victor is exceeding all possible expectations. Woodbine’s Chris Lush explains why we can’t phone in our bets anymore, and Oaklawn’s Vic Stauffer gets props for his colourful call of the week.


Down the Stretch for January 23, 2023

In this podcast, we feature wins in Florida from jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson and trainer Katerina Vassilieva. We have the Lecomte Stakes from the Fair Grounds, and we advise that Instant Coffee might be nice in the morning, but don’t advance bet him for the Kentucky Derby. Bulldog Hanover will dominate the February 4 O’Brien Awards and we talk with his owner/trainer Jack Darling about the recent announcement that the Bulldog is the next recipient of the Cam Fella Award. Trainer Julia Ezra explains who you can get into her Double Blooded Syndicate for a small price and big thrills. Owner Carol Robertson talks with us about her Had To Be Ivory, who has just been named Canadian Quarter Horse of the Year for the 3rd time. And host Peter Gross made the mistake of running his life-long betting theories past a very cynical Garnet Barnsdale.


Down the Stretch for January 16, 2023

In this collectors’ edition episode, we present some of the most appealing songs about horse racing, which will include The Hollies, Carly Simon, The Band, George Jones, Bing Crosby, Chris de Burgh, The Pretenders, Betty Grable and Lisa G Fly. We have an interview with Jim Hill, who, with his wife Susan, is a leading Canadian thoroughbred horse owner. Television producer, Curtis MacDonald talks about the Sam McKee Award his company won for coverage of the Hambletonian. Jason Portuondo, once a broadcaster, now a racing official, takes the Down The Stretch judging exam, trainer Marty Drexler pulled off a win at Gulfstream, and we have an embarrassing moment for a race-caller at Sunland Park when he proclaimed a winner a little too early.