2016 certainly did not disappoint and Racing Fans were gifted with new memories to last a lifetime. Whether it be CAREN‘s complete domination locally, SIR DUDLEY DIGGES’ shocking Queen’s Plate upset, Turf Queen TEPIN‘s long-awaited and fruitful visit to Woodbine in the Woodbine Mile, ERUPT‘s explosive win in the Pattison Canadian International or just seeing some our favourites again and new faces emerging, the year gave us each a memory that holds a special meaning.
True to annual tradition, I’ve compiled my favourite snaps and compiled them into one video from my daily journeys to Woodbine here in Toronto, all the way to sunny Arcadia, California at the Breeders’ Cup. To an amazing 2017 that will have some big horseshoes to fill!
Be sure to check-out ONTARIO RACING‘s website and Social Media channels in the days leading up the Christmas for the stories behind some of my favourite moments.
2016: A YEAR IN HORSES
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong | Audio: Universal Music Group)
Although there wasn’t a Triple Crown winner north of the Border this year, we still had plenty to cheer for at Woodbine Racetrack yesterday. The $500kBreeders’ Stakes, the final leg of the Crown was contested over 1 1/2 miles on the Toronto oval’s internationally- renowned turf course and few could argue that the winner was deserving.
DANISH DYNAFORMER has been a warrior throughout his three-year-old campaign this year and once he got to the lead at the top of the stretch, there was no turning back as he blasted home almost eight horse lengths ahead of the field. Reigning champion jockey Patrick Husbands who quickly has turned his season around these past few weeks, steered the colt trained by Hall of FamerRoger Attfield, to the eye-popping victory. Fans were rewarded with a return of $4.80 on a $2 investment as the race favourite, and the final time for the race was 2:29.2, about four seconds off the course record. Conquest Boogaloo who also has been a trooper through the Triple Crown trail, rallied late to finish second and a rapidly-improving Lucky Lindy finished a game third.
Despite blistering heat, fans still came out to show their support, crowding the grandstand. Post-victory, Team Attfield were armed with ice buckets and the hose water cooled to a perfect temperature to cool down their star, DANISH DYNAFORMER. The Ontario-bred colt earlier this season won the Plate Trial, stamping him the favourite for the country’s most prestigious race, Queen’s Plate in which he finished second narrowly. A trip to Fort Erie in late July for the Prince of Wales Stakes was a rare blemish on his record and his performance in the Breeders’ Stakes would be an accurate indication of his great ability. Keep a tab on this one – if not next season – he will be one look out for in the Pattison International, another marquee race at Woodbine, held traditionally mid-October.
Earlier on the card we saw longshot INTERPOL upset the $200k Sky Classic Stakes, defeating a talented field including division leader ARE YOU KIDDING ME (also trained by Roger Attfield), GOLDEN SABRE, ALDOUS SNOW andlast year’s Belmont Derby winner, MR. SPEAKER. Emma-Jayne Wilson piloted the win, a second stake win this weekend for the jockey who just led the Ladies’ Team to a valiant, first-of-its-kind win at Ascot in England a week prior in the Shergar Cup. Just Saturday, Wilson piloted New Zealand-bred HABIBI to win the Flaming Page Stakes, also on the lush turf course.
We were so thrilled being able to take one of our favourite Readers, Dawn (@CupcakeDawnie) to the races for an awesome lunch and drinks! She even brought her famous cupcakes! She was sure to Tweet a Selfie using Hashtag #OfftotheRaces for a chance to win $1k! You too can enter to snapping your Selfie before the end of the 2015 Racing Season!
We’re majorly excited for two-time North American Horse of the Year WISE DAN‘s return to Woodbine next month in the $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Sunday, September 13, 2015. We hope to see you there!
For more, including how to plan your visit, click here.
This Post was created in partnership with Woodbine Racetrack.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Woodbine Racetrack)
First run in 1889, the Breeders’ Stakes will take place this Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. The race, known as the third jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown will be run over 1 1/2 miles on Woodbine‘s lush turf course with a 5:13 PM EST post-time and a value of $500k. For those of you following the story, Triple Crown veterans DANISH DYNAFORMER, CONQUEST BOOGALOO and BREAKING LUCKY will be squaring-off once again, the latter looking to capture two out of three legs of the series after an upset win late July at Fort Erie in the Prince of Wales Stakes.
Sunday’s field includes:
Obstacles the field face are that this is the only race in the Triple Crown run on the grass, the third race in six weeks for the Triple Crown veterans and most of all, the challenging 1 1/2 mile distance will be a true test of stamina for all. DANISH DYNAFORMER, SAMUEL DECHAMPLAIN,CONQUEST BOOGALOO and LUCKY LINDY all have proven themselves on the grass either having won a race or finishing within the top three against stakes company on the surface.
If you are attending Sunday, there also is an exciting race earlier on the card, the $200k Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes which features an exciting field including Sam-Son Farm‘s ALDOUS SNOW, who won on Queen’s Plate Day in the Singspiel Stakes. U.S. invader MR. SPEAKER comes from the reputed Phipps Stable, having won a stellar $1.06 million against top-class competition includng the Grade 1 Belmont Derby. ARE YOU KIDDING ME is having a career season, absolutely unbeatable in a pair of Grade 2 races locally including the Eclipse and Nijinsky Stakes.
Things to keep in mind:
Your first bet is free! Register on the third floor for your free bet upon arrival.
Parking and admission are absolutely free.
The first race goes-off at 1:00 PM EST.
You also can tune in on TSN 4:30 PM EST.
Can’t make it out Sunday? You won’t want to miss the $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Sunday, September 13, 2015, buzzed highly as two-time North American Horse of the Year WISE DAN’s big return to the races. The racing icon has overcome multiple health issues and is fit and ready to fight against the young ones and all eyes are on him. He in fact has won the race twice already.
If you see me, come say “hi” and remember to Tweet that Selfie of yourself at Woodbine using the Hashtag #OFFTOTHERACES for a shot at $1,000!
Now for the fun stuff! I want to invite one Reader for lunch and drinks at Woodbine this Sunday in celebration of the Breeders’ Stakes! You’ll even get a free betting card! All you have to do is “like” this Post at Mr. Will on Facebook by tomorrow, Friday, August 14, 2015. In the comments section, tell me why you would make an awesome lunch date!
See you at the races! The weather should be great!
To learn more, including directions how to get there, CLICK HERE.
Mr. Will and winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Stakes, AMI’S HOLIDAY: