Goodbyes are always a hard thing. Amidst all the bustle of the Queen’s Plate Festival this past weekend, we sent-off our dear Princess, A PIC BY MRWILL to begin her new life outside the Racetrack.
Some of you might remember Emily Fisher (@EmiFisher) who helped take care of Princess late in her two-year-old season. We played dress-up for Halloween together! Back then, she befriended Miss Emily‘s star athlete, multiple stakes winner Don’s Folly (Dons_Folly on Facebook), who went on to be crowned 2015 & 2016 Royal Winter Fair Thoroughbred Stallion Grand Champion as an eventer.
Princess and Miss Emily, Halloween 2016
After announcing her retirement in May, Miss Emily offered kindly to take ownership of Princess right away after a few options were examined for her aftercare. She has been a daily part of Princess‘ day, visiting her often in-between runs in her work day on the backstretch at Woodbine, coming with cuddles and treats. We know that Princess will be living her best life possible and be cared for with the special attention and love she deserves. She won’t be far from Woodbine, which makes it easier for us to visit her and we love this.
Miss Emily says: “I am beyond excited to have Princess join our family, I cannot thank John and Cathy enough for entrusting me with her rehabilitation and her life after racing. She has had a few setbacks, but I believe that she has a bright future ahead of her and I can’t wait to see what this girl is capable of! We have a long road ahead of us but it is looking bright. She handled her move so well and has settled into her new home. I have nothing but positive thoughts about how she will come out of this. There will be big things in this Princess’ future.”.
Motherhood definitely is in the books next for Princess after she gets the rest of the year to focus on healing, although her being developed into an eventer is a possibility too given that she has the perfect composition and demeanour for it. Whatever path fate leads her, we are thrilled for it and we will be there for her every step of the way with all our support.
Don’s Folly and Miss Emily
We’ve also expressed interest in sharing some of the future breeding costs together with Cathy, Princess’ previous Co-Owner, to pair her with an Ontario stallion. Believe me, we could go on all day about who would make the perfect father – the possibilities are infinite! Of course, Don’s Folly also is looking to establish himself as an Ontario stallion too and we would be happy too to see Princess be the mother of his first foal. There are several options, but all this is contingent on Princess‘ recovery and we place her wellness first.
We had one last hurrah at Woodbine with Princess this weekend and she was thrilled to get a visit from one of her biggest fans, Sean(@SPNation74) who was visiting from Massachussetts for the Queen’s Plate Festival.
Sean x Princess:
We also are thrilled for Princess‘ family at the John Ross barn and Aheadbyacentury on their fantastic second-place finish in the Queen’s Plate. He is all business and they all worked so hard for this!
See some Snaps of Princess’ goodbye to Woodbine. She got the quick go-ahead from Doctor Pete and boarded the truck like a true professional. Miss Emily and her friend Miss Chelsea came ready with Princess’ favourite haynet and some aromatherapy fly spray to keep those flies at bay.
While we’ll miss seeing Princess in her stall at Woodbine, this is only the beginning of forever for Princess and we are excited for her! We got so choked-up seeing her drive away.
Miss Emily checked-in with us last night to let us know that Princess has settled in nicely at her new home, “She’s great! She has settled in like a champ, cleaning-up her feed tub no problem. She had a sponge bath yesterday and will probably get another one today!”. That’s our Princess!
We bring you this latest Princess Diary with a heavy heart. After training very forwardly this spring, our dear PrincessA PIC BY MRWILL, sadly sustained a fractured Sesamoid in her front right leg Thursday morning. She had just completed a quick workout on Woodbine’s Dirt Training Track. Thankfully, Exercise Rider Ashlee Edwards could sense something was wrong near the end of the breeze and with some fast thinking, pulled her up right away and we are indebted for this. We admit there was worry and uncertainty receiving messages shortly after from concerned onlookers as she was vanned off, though we can confirm that Princess’ injury while fortunately not life-threatening, is career-ending.
Princess always has been thought-of highly by her “Dad” John Ross. He has been her biggest champion from the start, picking her out as HIP No. 164 at the 2015 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Premier Yearling Sale along with his partner, Princess’ “Mom” Cathy Wong. He’s been with her every step of the way from her battling an almost fatal infection as a baby to guiding her to the Winner’s Circle in what will be known as her final start last August. John never gave up on her, always taking the tougher route.
That taste of sweet victory was something I never will forget. My friends, Team Ross and I standing under the beating sun with Princess, veins protruding on her face after giving it her all in fight to the finish line in the longest race of her career. She was so brave and while sometimes lacking that punch in the final stretch, she wouldn’t be denied this time. I leaned-in to kiss her on her nose, dripping with hose water, trying to make sense of what just had happened. I wanted so desperately for everyone to see this filly, my namesake, as the winner I knew she was and after so many tries, it happened finally. The heavy weight of expectation lifted finally, we were free and had nothing more to prove.
While Princess isn’t the most accomplished horse in John‘s barn, she certainly is one of the most loved and we always made her feel like she was the most special. It is so hard to believe I’ll have to come to terms with walking by her stall and not seeing her there anymore. I will miss surprising her every week with a jumbo Fuji apple and a bag of miniature carrots, but not first without a spirited twirl from her and a cry to hurry-up. While she could never speak her appreciation, I knew in my heart what it meant to her that I made time to see her. Sometimes that even came with a kiss.
Princess earlier today:
Princess did everything we ever hoped of her and she made us all so proud. Even when she didn’t win, she almost always gave it her all and this is how we and her fans will remember her for in her career as an athlete. The outpour of support from bettors and fans online and at the track has been astounding in her brief career, normally securing her place as the betting favourite at post time. While John, Cathy, the Team and myself are all heartbroken that one road ends abruptly here, we are hopeful for what might come next.
While Princess has been unlucky in ways sustaining this her third injury in less than two years, she also has been blessed in so many other ways. Though hurt, every time she has stayed just enough out of harm’s way as if she were being saved for something greater.
John tells us, “Princess was a lovely filly to train. She has the best personality and we were looking forward to a great season with her. We will decide her future in the next few months. We hope most that she has a full recovery. Thanks to everyone for all your support. We are incredibly touched that you connect so much to her.”. Cathy adds, “She always held a special place in our hearts and when things got scary, we never doubted once that we did the right thing doing all we could for her. I remember naming her when she was a baby and how I couldn’t wait for The Jockey Club to approve it. It was one of my happiest moments having our picture taken together in the Winner’s Circle with Princess.”.
Cathy + Princess yesterday morning:
The next few months will be all about Princess’ rehabilitation and she will be remaining on the grounds at Woodbine for a while more. I intend to take full advantage of this and hope at some point we can give her fans (or as we call them her “priends”) a chance to say goodbye. While it still is very early to say, motherhood certainly is an option for her and we already quietly have received inquiries. It is shocking how quickly the word has spread, even though it shouldn’t have come as a surprise knowing how well loved she is. I for one am a huge fan of her being a broodmare prospect. With her sweet demeanour, beautiful conformation, competitive spirit and bloodlines which run deep in talent (including $1.1 million-earning champion Bear Now and $165k earner Classyshadesofgrey), we believe without a doubt that she is the perfect fit for the role of mom.
This all of course is dependent on Princess’ recovery and wellness and we will walk this path to healing together with her. Visiting her today, we feel good about her getting better soon. Her quality of life in this next phase is important equally to the great care she received when she was able to compete on the track.
Princess Diaries will still be coming and we look forward to sharing with you her journey ahead. How fittingly bittersweet is it that with all this talk of the Royal Wedding, our Princess too walks down the aisle to a new chapter in her life?
We hope your 2018 has been going amazing so far! It’s about time we checked-in with our favourite Princess, A PIC BY MRWILL. After a very cozy winter up in Waterdown under the wonderful care of Miss Tasha, Princess has returned back to Woodbine at long last.
We felt her struggle seeing her at the farm, anxious to get outside and do some running. Seeing her out this past Sunday going for her first jog in quite some time made us incredibly happy. We saw her jump for joy as soon as she stepped onto that dirt training track. As you might remember, Princess spent the fall and winter nursing an injury following her first win last August at Woodbine. She has literally been on stall rest since then.
She hit the track at 10:30 AM under her new exercise rider Richard who actually was amazing to pick-up our cell phone and give it back to us after seeing we dropped it near the training track. What can we say? We were so overcome with Princess Power that we got careless!
Princess went for an easy jog and her Daddy John Ross will have her take her time getting ready for an eagerly-awaited 2018 campaign now. John was pleased with the jog and she did everything just right. There is no set date for the return as Princess will tell us when she’s ready. Meanwhile, she looks in great shape and it shouldn’t be long before she’s fit enough to race. She is so happy to reunite with her Caretaker, Errol and he keeps telling me “She’s gonna win first time! Just watch!”. Joining the Ross Family is Zach, whom Princess is seen with below.
We celebrated Princess‘ fourth birthday in February, her birthday falling on February 5th. Our friends Bailey(@Starting_Gate) visiting from California, Keith (@TripleDeadHeat), Julie (@RedDogCW),Coco and Billy all came out for the occasion marked by lots of dress-up for Princess, apples, cupcakes and affection! Princess knows her Godbrother Billy who is going through Chemotherapy right now, is giving it his all and as always gives him a big kiss when he visits…which he secretly loves!
We look forward to sharing more Princess updates with you as they come! In the meantime, remember to follow her on the following channels as she readies her 2018 debut:
It’s been a while since we’ve posted a Princess Diary, but on behalf of our dear filly A PIC BY MRWILL, we’d love to wish a Happy Holiday to you and your loved ones!
Princess along with her stablemates from the barn of John Ross, has been wintering out in Flamborough, Ontario under the amazing care of Miss Tasha and Mr. Clayton (seen below). It was a fantastic year for the Team who not only won the prestigious Prince of Wales Stakes with Cool Catomine, but nabbed also the top two-year-old race in Canada, the Coronation Futurity with Aheadbyacentury (also seen below). The latter is Florida-bound as he prepares for his Queen’s Plate Trail in 2018!
While Princess wintered in Florida last winter, she remains on stall rest healing from her injury and will be staying here until her training resumes in a couple months. She continues to grow and seemed well-adjusted, watching over her stablemates as the queen of her predominantly-male barn.
2017 was an amazing year where we not only saw Princess break through for the first time in a route race, but also great consistency from her bringing home a cheque six out of eight races!
Let’s re-live that special day in August again!
We’re excited to see Princess thrive in 2018 now that she finally is getting what this game is all about! We don’t believe she’s turning four already, which is like 20 in human years. Soon she’ll be a Woman!
Billy and I popped by along with some of our special friends to surprise her today with some festive cheer! She even got a new Teddy to snuggle with since she misses her Woodbine Teddy! 🐻 She missed Billy so much, showering him with kisses.
See some Snaps from today:
No matter where you are, may you be surrounded with love this Holiday. To all your wishes coming true in 2018!
Is this real life? Even a couple days after witnessing our dear PRINCESS’ (A PIC BY MRWILL) big breakthrough win, here we find ourselves still on cloud nine! Maiden no more!
We couldn’t believe our eyes as we tried multitasking cheering and snapping pics of her as she grinded her way home under amazing Luis Contreras in her first race ever race at 1 1/16 miles. Princess fought bravely to surge ahead of expensively-bred Mark Casse trainee Cosmic Ruby and Patrick Husbands. This is one moment we’ll remember forever… unless we go senile!
Who would’ve thought after success sprinting, she’d throw a curve ball revealing that her hidden talent is running long? Okay, we know the race could have been run faster, but still. A win’s a win!
People were asking why I didn’t snap one of my signature Selfies with Princess in the Winner’s Circle and my answer simply is that I was so overcome with joy. I was ready for it, but so not! Me forgetting to snap a Selfie for once in a my life. Imagine that! LOL
There’s always next time right? She looks like she’s got a win or two left in her.
The overwhelming support we’ve received for Princess is humbling and we’re touched by all your messages and notes of congratulations. None of this would have been possible without the generosity and hard work of Team John Ross and Cathy Wong!
Princess and I have read every single Tweet and comment and we are so appreciative. We also want to thank all the patient bettors who keep making her the race favourite at post time. We’re so happy they finally got their reward. We’ve certainly burned enough of their money, right?
Come, let’s watch the race again. Can you hear those loud shrieks as she crosses the finish line??!
While the tone of the day was celebratory on Sunday afternoon, it would prove bittersweet fittingly for our tough-luck Princess. As you might remember, she has overcome quite a bit to be here today including battling for her life when just a yearling due to a persistent sinus infection requiring multiple operations. Above this, repeatedly she has found herself in against tough types, several who have either gone on to step-up and win at the Allowance level or gain Black Type in stakes races. She was always right there with them, just missing that punch that made her run past them. That was yesterday.
We are sad to report that Princess will be out for the rest of the season due to an injury. The silver lining is that she can be treated with some stall rest for a few months. We didn’t want to take away from the moment, but felt the timing was a bit better now to be transparent.
John & Cathy have issued the following statement to all her fans:
“We want to say thanks for all the support. It was fun to see Princess progress throughout the year and that she finally got it done! Being named after Mr. Will made it doubly-fun and we can’t wait to see her back next year. She is one tough filly and has overcome many obstacles up till today. We always believed in her that is why we gave her the best care. She will be well cared for in her time off.”.
Our thoughts are with dear Princess on her path to wellness again and she is receiving the best care possible under Dr. Daryl Bonder of Toronto Equine Hospital, resting comfortably in her cast. We wanted so bad to celebrate with her following her win and were heartbroken we couldn’t even give her a treat to tell her she did a great job, but we promise to see her tomorrow with plenty of her favourite Fuji apples to make up for it!
While we were fine most of the afternoon, both Cathy (Princess‘ mom) and I head home when the emotions began to hit. One, we are touched how hard she has fought all year for us, but also terribly saddened how this filly can’t have it easy just for once. Her first big celebratory moment just had to be marred by a bit of tragedy. She is our little fighter and we are moved to tears by her courage and desire to be better. If you think she’s improved a lot at age three, just wait till you see her next year. We even have an inkling that dirt, on which she has trained so well without incident, might be better for her than Tapeta.
She’s finally getting what it’s all about!
See a slideshow of Princess’ victory (hover left and right to navigate) and our heartfelt note of gratitude below:
We couldn’t enough of Princess (A PIC BY MRWILL) in July and neither could the bettors! After two solid runner-up efforts in her last two starts as the prohibitive favourite last month at Woodbine, Princess returns after a quick freshening in her on-going quest for that first victory. We’re so close. So, so close!
Our girl is back this Sunday, Race 1 at 1:00 PM, although we had hoped to run a bit sooner. Some unforeseen race scheduling delays held us back but she is up and running finally! One thing’s different this time though. In this her eleventh trip to the post, she tries a route race for the first time ever after finding success, hitting the money in 4 out of 7 starts in sprint races this season.
Princess’ Papa, John Ross tells us she’s been coming back from each of her starts with plenty left in the tank which gives us every indication she will prefer some added ground versus being hustled quick at shorter distances. Her tall, lean stature also suggests she just may have a bit of stamina in her. We even did a bit of research on her Dosage Index which totals 2.50, suggesting she might thrive at longer distances. Horses with higher Dosage Indexes tend to trend towards shorter distances, while lower Dosage Indexes tend to indicate more stamina. We’re beginning to wonder why we haven’t tried a long race sooner!
If not this, her Exercise Rider Keith Reid has given her the vote of confidence if there were any doubts about her ability to stay.
In all, Princess’ bankroll keeps building, already having earned five times her purchase price at the 2015 September CTHS Sale and she will continue to add to it again soon! We’re totally with you in that Princess’ first win has taken longer than expected, but how can we be disappointed when she keeps showing true grit?
And besides this, people love her. She even was namedropped at Saratoga‘s EQUESTRICON last week.. as she should!
The Ross barn still is riding the high of their huge score in the $500k Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, the second jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown, with the amazing COOL CATOMINE. We’ve known from the start he’s something special and we’ve got the receipts to prove it! He’ll bounce back soon from his Breeders’ Stakes experiment. 1 1/2 miles on the turf isn’t for everyone.
Also, pay attention to Princess’ promising young stablemate AHEADBYACENTURY, named after that popular The Tragically Hip tune. He just finished a strong third in his debut with stakes company in the Clarendon Stakes earlier this month.
See you all Sunday! Will this be our Maiden Queen’s big day? We’ll find out at 1:00 PM! If we’re victorious, you’re coming into the Winner’s Circle with us!! Don’t forget to check out RIBFEST at Woodbine too this weekend! Mmmm.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Woodbine Entertainment Group)
Okay, we initially were to take a little break, but this Princess is just too fit! That’s right – she’s back again this Wednesday night at Woodbine after a fantastic effort in her last race Friday, July 14, 2017. Purchased originally for $5k, she already has more than quadrupled her purchase price in earnings at the track.
In that last start, our girl A Pic by Mrwill went off as the post-time favourite and while she was kept-in on the rail we were plenty pleased with her performance as she was game to the finish never giving-up! Princess ran second to a deserving winner in Victorian Lass whom after trying for three seasons, broke her maiden under our friend Steven Bahen.Bahen as you remember, piloted Princess to a couple solid efforts earlier this season. The irony! But that’s Horse Racing for you!
While we will be honest that we had a bit of concern with Princess heading into her seventh start already this season, her third start in July, we place our full trust in Team John Ross. All the signs say she is ready to fight again and in this her first race in the evening, we’re excited to see how she will fare. She’s never been more driven!
Jockey Luis Contreras had nothing but praise for Princess after that last race, confident he will get her to the Winner’s Circle and he returns yet again after a fantastic ride!
Let’s watch her last race:
Some Snaps of Princess from her last race:
See you Wednesday night, race 7, number 3 (9:39 PM EST).
Surprise! We’re back again with Princess! We know it’s short notice, but the right race popped-up and we couldn’t wait!
If you’re free after work Friday, Woodbine now has Twilight Racing on Friday nights starting at 3:45 PM. Grab a drink on the patio at Champions‘ hot new GRANDSTAND SOCIAL, come out and cheer on our sweetheart A PIC BY MRWILL! 💞
We admit it, we were all a bit baffled and disappointed by her performance on Plate Day and we know how many of you were there to cheer her on too! The plus side is she came out of the race in great shape, not in the least bit exhausted.
Worry not, it’s a new day and our girl has been training well under her new exercise rider Keith Reid. Keith says his morning gallops with Princess are his “favourite part of the day”! Aww!
We’re certain Princess will have her game face ready Friday. She appears race four at 5:24 PM EST. She is #3 on the program. For this effort, she will be paired for the first time ever with this year’s Queen’s Plate-winning jockey Luis Contreras, who has fired on all cylinders for Team John Ross this past week with wins on Princess‘ stablemates Royal Katy and Cool Catomine. He also reunites with stable star Lokinforpursemonee later on the card in the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes. Busy times at Barn 1!
Luis Contreras on Holy Helena, 2017 Queen’s Plate victress:
In case you weren’t there, some quiet Plate Day moments with Princess, Wesley and Errol:
Victory is so close, we can almost taste it! After a smashing effort from Princess on June 11th on Woodbine Oaks Day, our girl is back again of all days, Queen’s Plate Day! What a dream! We know this much, our girl sure loves an audience. We’re so excited we can’t even function!
What are we going to wear?!
In her previous race, Princess was paired for the first time ever with Woodbine‘s leading rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva and despite traffic issues in the stretch resulting in a lengthy claim of foul, our darling ran a game third, losing only by a length to Kentucky-bred Lady Brie. That one since has stepped-up to Allowance-levelcompany, a narrow second last weekend!
What thrilled us most is that Princess never gave up and kept fighting to the finish in that return to the main track after an okay effort on the wet turf the time before. She heard your cheers! This last effort very much is reminiscent of her second 2017 start where she showed that same fire. 🔥
Eurico adores Princess and tells us that she was perfect that day, doing everything right. He knew right away he wanted to be on her again for this next start. He’s confident Princess is on her way to a win. We’re so honoured and what better validation than that?
Grab some popcorn, let’s watch the race again!🍿
If we could compare Princess mentally to where she was last year, she still is the same sweet girl but we love that she’s so much more vocal and confident.
Her effortless workout this week under Joshua Scott speaks volumes! This girl is ready.
Princess‘ two-year-old full sister MISS G NOTE also just began her career at the races recently and had a smashing debut at long odds under Sheena Ryan (who rode Princess in 2016). A v. promising start. Watch her fly at the end! Congrats to our friends at Team Mike DePaulo. We understand their Mega Monster comes highly-regarded!
The Princessisters are in it to win it, watch out!
Check out some of that celebrity love from the stars!
There have been many successful experiments in history. Some things pair better than others.
Coffee and cream. Pizza and wings. Peanut butter and jelly. Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Princess and the turf? Well… our A Pic by Mrwill‘s turf pairing on Victoria Day wasn’t at that level of magical, but it also wasn’t all too bad either finishing just four lengths behind the winner on the damp grass! We congratulate our friend Rachel Halden and Chiefswood Stables who were behind the race winner, Niigon’s Bay. Facing older horses for the first time, Princess did her best and at one point looked like she was gonna take the lead at the top of the stretch, although ultimately we think her forté still is the main track at Woodbine. We appreciate so much the support of the fans and betting public who bet her down from 24 to 1 all the way down to 5 to 1 odds!
We cannot thank enough also the amazing Steven Bahen for the wonderful work he’s done with Princess in her three 2017 starts to date. She has improved leaps and bounds and we credit him so much for all his expertise.
An opportunity has surfaced for Princess to be paired in her next start with Woodbine‘s leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva and we are incredibly honoured that he has accepted the mission! He has been the pilot on two out of three of the fillies who’ve beat us this year, Gertie T and Fresh Princess, and hopefully he will have that magic touch that gets Princess her much-deserved first win! Wishful thinking right? We can’t wait to see Princess learn under Eurico (below) whom we love both as a person and an athlete! If Princess can repeat her last superb effort on the Tapeta, these girls better look out!
Princess makes her next start on Sunday’s marquee Woodbine Oaks card, cutting back to six furlongs in a Maiden Special Weight on the Tapeta surface. We expect her to move forward as many times is the case with horses who are coming off a grass race and back over to the main track.
In the meantime, our big girl has been applying herself in the mornings including a superb work under her exercise rider Joshua Scott in 48.8 seconds breezing four furlongs June 1st. She also has been making time for her fans being the wonderful ambassador she is. Her big fans Goki and Keisha had the chance to meet her last week finally and she was delighted, chomping away on her fave Fuji apples, while coming up for a breath now and then to greet them. Special thanks to Tony and Sat at Woodbine who made it all possible. You guys are amazing!
See some Snaps including moments with one of Princess’ Hotwalkers Elena and Aunties Suzie & Linda:
We are so eager for Princess‘ next start and hope you are too! It is one of the best cards of the season with Queen’s Plate contenders solidifying their spots for North American horse racing’s most historic day Sunday, July 2, 2017.
Princess and I just did an interview with Alex Campbell for Canadian Thoroughbred magazine and can’t wait for you to see it…
See you Sunday! In the words of Eurico, “good luck to everybody!”. Race 5, #6.