Traditionally one of my favourite Race Days of the year, Woodbine Oaks Day showcases Canada’s finest three-year-old Fillies. The $500k Race this year pit together two of the Country’s best in years, Spring in the Air and Nipissing, both Division Leaders as two-year-old Fillies in 2012 – the former recently being crowned last year’s Champion at the Sovereign Awards. Ultimately though, it would be second choice Nipissing who was victorious, winning by 3/4 of a length over Spring in the Air, the post-time Favourite. The Winner won in a timely 1:50.3 for the nine-furlong Fixture, paying $7.10 to win on a $2 investment. Watch the Race here.
Nipissing’s Story however truly is one of legacy and love. She is a homebred Filly who races for Chiefswood Stables, trained by Rachel Halden and ridden by her Partner Steven Bahen. The Filly’s Father Niigon, in 2004 won the Queen’s Plate and there is much buzz surrounding her possibly making an appearance against the Boys in the 154th running of that $1-million Race at Woodbine Racetrack next month.
See her in the Winner’s Circle below:
Not to steal the Ladies’ spotlight, the Plate Trial also was run earlier in the day at Woodbine, with highly-regarded Dynamic Sky winning by a tight nose under the guidance of red-hot Joel Rosario, edging-out the lightly-experienced His Race to Win. Winning in a time of 1:50.5, the Colt was just a click slower than eventual Woodbine Oaks Winner, Nipissing. He rewarded his Supporters with $8.60 to a $2 bet as the second choice. Watch the Race here.
Although falling-off the ultra-tough Kentucky Derby Trail earlier in the year for Tycoon Owner John C. Oxley, Dynamic Sky appears to be peaking again right in time for the Queen’s Plate. He certainly won’t have it easy though as Plate Trial Runner-up His Race to Win is in fighting form and we mustn’t forget that one’s Sam-Son Farms Stablemate,Up With the Birds, who also looks ultra-sharp after a decisive five-length win in May 26th’s Marine Stakes at Woodbine. Watch that Race here.
In all, this is shaping-up to be the most competitive Queen’s Plate in years with the Male and Female Divisions well-represented in talent. Bettors will have their work cut-out for them in terms of sifting through the quality selection.
Earlier in the day, legendary Mickey Walls made a rare appearance to accept the Avelino Gomez Award, honouring Canadian Jockeys who have made significant contributions to the Sport of Thoroughbred Horse Racing. The 39-year-old Toronto Resident retired officially in 2003, but at the age of 17 went on to be crowned North America’s most Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in winning an Eclipse Award. Overcome with emotion, Walls held back his tears as several of his Peers and a new generation of Talent (including Model/Actress/Jockey Chantal Sutherland who recently came out of retirement), stood by his side as he accepted the Award on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Racing Fans got a huge treat earlier in the day as Rosario made his way north of the Border after a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes in New York yesterday aboard the outstanding Orb, who won this year’s Kentucky Derby. In addition to a win in the Plate Trial aboard Dynamic Sky and a runner-up finish aboard Spring in the Air in the Woodbine Oaks, Rosario graciously spent time with Fans signing Autographs and taking Photos earlier. He came ever-prepared with array of Sharpies, giving Fans a choice of colour as he placed his coveted Signature upon 8×10s of his recent Derby Victory.
We’ll definitely be at the Queen’s Plate on Sunday July 7, 2013 and look forward to it eagerly!
Mark your Calendars and reserve your seats today right here. Learn all about the Hats & Horseshoes Party also right here which everyone’s invited to!
A thrilling stretch duel in the Breeders’ Cup Classic is what will define Horse Racing’s Championship Day(s) in 2012. The marquee $5- million Match, drew eleven Competitors out to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California today, just one of several title-deciding races held Friday and today. Racing Fans got exactly what they had hoped for – a real Battle to the Finish, watching Fort Larned win the Classic by a head over Mucho Macho Man. Race Favourite Game on Dude who finished second in the same Event last year, placed a troubled seventh this year, causing many to criticize Trainer Bob Baffert‘s decision to replace Woodbine-birthed Rider Chantal Sutherland mid-season after much success with her. “That was the worst race of his Career”, Baffert tells NBC Sports.
Even though all eyes were on the day’s big Finale, it was a stunning Victory from Wise Dan in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile which ultimately sealed the deal for the five-year-old Gelding as North America’s Horse of the Year, based on the strength of three consecutive Grade I wins this Season, including a giant Victory at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack this September in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile. Under just a bit of urging from John Velazquez, Wise Dan steered clear of last year’s Kentucky Derby Winner, Animal Kingdom to set a Course Record with a sizzling time of 1:31.78 for the one-mile Event. The Champ even took a minute to Re-Tweet me today (below) after his Win. Great to see he’s so versed in Social Media!
Unbeaten in five starts, two-year-old Colt Shanghai Bobby has stamped himself a deserving Favourite for next year’s Kentucky Derby. Jockey Rosie Napravnik guided him to a Win in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, solidifying his standing as the best two-year-old Colt in North America. Napravnik has the distinction of being only the second female Jockey ever to win a Breeders’ Cup Race.
Royal Delta on Friday for a second year in-a-row, won the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic under famed Jockey Mike Smith, en route to in all likelihood being voted Champion Older Filly or Mare at the forthcoming Eclipse Awards. She was voted Champion Three-Year-Old Filly last year and now has earned a remarkable $3.7 million in only 15 races. Word is that she’s United Arab Emirates-bound for the $10-million Dubai World Cup.
The Canadian Contingent fared well at the Breeders’ Cup this year with a pair of Runner-Up finishes. Delegation finished a bang-up third under Toronto-based Rider Patrick Husbands in the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile; he was just at Woodbine a couple weeks back winning the Durham Cup Stakes. Meanwhile stellar Filly Marketing Mix, finished second yesterday in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Spring in the Air, a major Contender (and my personal pick) for Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in Canada, finished a respectable fifth in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Friday under Husbands also.
Celebrity Horse Racing Fans who were named Ambassadors at this year’s Breeders’ Cup include the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Toby Keith and Bo Derek, while legendary Crooner Tony Bennett was called-upon to sing at the Post Parade for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, also presenting the winning Trophy post-Race to the Connections of Fort Larned.
Watch the Recaps of the Races over at the Official Website for the Breeders’ Cup right here. How could you not love this Sport?