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.
She continues to rule our world and are we ever proud of our Princess (A PIC BY MRWILL)! In case you need a reminder how awesome she did in her last race April 29th at Woodbine, here it is!
We congratulate the winner, Fresh Princess, who is regarded as we were reminded many humbling times, as one with stakes potential and she was just too good that day in a field which included a few ‘Princesses’. Our Princess however, was well ahead of the rest and never quit trying. Her pilot Steven Bahen did a superb job keeping her at task and we feel her big day is coming real soon. Will she be ‘victoryesssss‘ in her next start on Woodbine‘s Monday Victoria Day card? What could be more fitting than a Princess winning on the day honouring a Queen?
We’re of the belief that we would rather see Princess face tougher competition, which in turn provides her a better education, rather than breaking her maiden quickly. We are proud of her progress and it is a joy seeing her come into her own as an athlete.
Princess is set to go to post this coming Monday, May 22, 2017Race 4 (2:33 PM EST) in her first ever test on the turf. We’re beyond thrilled to see the grass races back and even more curious to see how she takes to it. With her beautiful stride, long, lean composition and turf feet, she could well enjoy it. Even if the race for any reason comes off the grass, she will be just fine on the standard Tapeta surface.
As a sidenote, Gertie T who won Princess’ first race on April 15th at Woodbine, already has stepped-up to Allowance company and won again, if that is any indicator.
In the meantime, Princess continues to be in a great place mentally and trains as well as we could hope.
Some recent Snaps of our girl:
… and a special shoutout to Miss Cosette and all the hard-working security team who keep the athletes all safe at Woodbine!
It’s a busy time at the barn! It feels just like yesterday that Princess (A Pic by Mrwill) thrilled us with her amazing 2017 debut and after continuing to train v. well and show us all the right signs, she treats us with another race this month! She’s never looked better and is in the best place mentally. We can’t help but thank everyone at TeamRoss for keeping her there, from her handler Errol to exercise rider Joshua Scott to John himself.
We congratulate Team Ross on their huge score with Princess‘ stablemate Lokinforpursemonee in last Saturday’s $100k Woodstock Stakes! Another highly-touted stablemate Cool Catomine whom after a few setbacks, makes his first start this Friday at Woodbine also. We’ve had our eye on since he walked through the sales ring at the CTHS Sale back in September 2015, the same sale in which Princess was purchased.
Princess will unite again with jockey Steven Bahen, with whom we can see she has clicked really well. They appear in race 9 (4:47 PM EST) this coming Saturday, April 29, 2017. We thank everyone for their continued support and hope to make you proud! We couldn’t believe our eyes that despite opening at a long 15-1 odds in her last race, she was bet down at one point to 5-1. This is the power of Princess!
See Princess’ stellar 2017 debut below:
Princess loved seeing our friend Emily Shields (who shoots for Daily Racing Form) who came in from California last weekend and took this lovely photo of her and Errol:
The season’s begun and guess what? PRINCESS is back too! We tried keeping this a secret but so much for that! Our girl A PIC BY MRWILL makes her three-year-old debut right in time for the start of the 2017 racing season at WoodbineSaturday, April 15, 2017. Under the silks of her proud parents John Ross and Cathy Wong, she will be ridden for the first time ever by respected journeyman and Avelino Gomez Award recipient Steven Bahen whom she struck a real strong connection with in a breeze last Saturday.
Steven who stunned the racing world in 2011 aboard 80-1 upset Queen’s Plate winner T J’s Lucky Moon, has in his career piloted greats like Mt. Sassafrass, Simply Lovely, Silent Fleet, Cinquieme Essai and Nipissing. Heunlocked something in Princess we’ve never seen prior before in her workouts and we’re excited to see their chemistry together on the track for the first time! Hopefully the Ross barn’s two wins on opening day in 2016 – one courtesy of Steven – are a sign of things to come? But really, we’re happy just to see progress as she’s shown us all winter in Florida!
Princess a couple weeks back had the honour also of working under #emmazingEmma-Jayne Wilson in a good work, her first since being back at Woodbine. She has been paired with workmate Royal Katy under Katy Morrison and has kept right up.
Some Snaps of that:
She faces a talented and promising field of young ladies making their three-year-old debut at five furlongs, a distance Princess trained at last week. We have a feeling she might want to go a bit longer but this is a great starting point for her to get a race under her belt.
Send all your luck, we need it and appreciate it! See you at the races Saturday? Race 10, #10! Post time is 5:59 PM EST.
Mr. Will x Princess
p.s. Princess is now on Facebook too! Come be her ‘priend’here.
These past few days have been exciting for her and if you are in Toronto, tune in 6:20 PM EST tonight on CTV during their Sports segment for a feature including Princess, her dad John and Emma! Thanks CTV, Keith McCalmont and Woodbine!