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)
Horses always have been my other passion and if I am free, you know absolutely where to find me on weekends – Woodbine Racetrack! Other than being an Advocate of Entertainment in Canada, spreading the pure joy which Horse Racing brings me is something I take great pride in. My Family and I don’t agree on everything, but we all agree on our love of the Sport.
Although I am not a big Bettor by any measure, I do find myself a vastly-improving Handicapper, over the years getting to know the physical cues to look for in picking a Winner. My minuscule bets this year helped pay for a flight to New York and sometimes it’s nice having a bit of lunch money! Although it isn’t always about a Horses’ appearance, seeing the Horses up-close certainly gives you an advantage in being able to scope-out behavioural signs, musculature, composition and coat sheen.
I’ve adored these Athletes from a v. young age and always will be an Advocate for the Sport. It has been an absolute joy getting to know many at the Track these past few years especially, everyone from the Horses, Fans, Gamblers, Owners, Jockeys, Trainers, Grooms, Walkers, Handicappers, the Press Box and the Operational Staff. Each person has their own individual story and reason for being drawn to the Races.
It was a remarkable year for Canadian Racing with several new memories created. None would shine as bright nor make us as proud as the great Canadian Filly, LEXIE LOU. The thunderous applause that filled the Grandstand Queen’s Plate Day as Racing Fans old and new saw her crush her male opponents, made my eyes well with tears and seeing her run her heart out a valiant second in the Hollywood Derby to this year’s Kentucky Derby Winner CALIFORNIA CHROME, reiterates how incredibly-proud I am to be a Canadian.
Here are just some of the several thousand Snaps I took in and around the Racetrack in 2014.
Sit back and enjoy this fast-paced jog down Memory Lane:
The 77th Pattison Canadian International was held at Woodbine Racetrack yesterday, the $1-million one-and-a-half mile race drawing competitors domestic and abroad for a shot at the big prize! Post-Time Favourite HILLSTAR would go on to win by just under a horse length, under now two-time Pattison Canadian International-winning jockey Ryan Moore over U.S. invader BIG BLUE KITTEN, ridden by Joel Rosario. The Winner paid $4.50 on a $2 bet, the final time a respectable 2:29, about four seconds off the Course Record.
The afternoon certainly was not without its share of drama as Co-Favourite Brown Panther, also from England, was started moments before the race startled, bolting off with his rider Richard Kingscote, who eventually was dismounted. The Horse’s owner, English Football Star Michael Owen took to Twitter to express his disappointment, but was glad nonetheless that his prized Star and its rider were unharmed.
Long way to come for nothing! Thank goodness horse and jockey are both okay.
Earlier on the Card, Racing Fans were delighted with some remarkable Races on the Program including the $500k E.P. Taylor Stakes (regarded as a top turf fixture internationally for female horses), the $300k Nearctic Stakes (a respected turf event for sprinters) and also the $150k Ontario Fashion (a sprint race on the main track for female horses). JUST THE JUDGE would prevail in the E.P. Taylor under soon-to-retire jockey Jamie Spencer winning by a half-length over ODELIZ, both Irish-bred fillies. The Winner returned $5.20 to a $2 bet. Canada’s DECEPTIVE VISION placed third in the Race for historic Sam-Son Farms.
I had the pleasure of entertaining a group of Social Media Influencers earlier in the day, who took delight in meeting one of Woodbine’s top riders Patrick Husbands just moments before he went-on to win on race favourite HILLABY! We enjoyed the one-day only international flavours including Funnel Cakes, Smoked Turkey Legs, Philly Cheesesteaks, Crepes and so much more!
Patrick Husbands + Friends:
Also, those limited edition and fashionable Pattison Canadian International Scarves clearly were a cross-generational hit!
It’s not too late still to check-out the races at Woodbine Racetrack, which conclude this December! Let’s make a day of it!
So Horse Racing is a popular sport we hear! 16k people crowded at Woodbine Racetrack on Sunday to witness a fabulous card of Racing culminating in the $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile. Although two-time reigning Horse of the Year in North America WISE DAN wasn’t up for the rare Hat Trick after having won in 2012 and 2013, a fantastic Field still was attracted to the historic Track which boasts one of the World’s finest Turf Courses.
Celebrating the Festivities was NBA Star Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors. Earlier in the week he filled Drawmaster duties and Sunday he returned once again to present Awards to the winning Connections of the Day’s major races.
After placing third in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile in 2013, British invader Trade Storm would not be denied this time around under top English rider Jamie Spencer at 4-1 odds at a time of 1:36.8 for Qatar Racing Limited and Trainer David Simcock. Canadian-bred Kaigun who has improved dramatically took second spot for Hollywood Mega-Producer Gary Barber and Trainer Mark Casse. Third was talented U.S.-based three-year-old Bobby’s Kitten.
Earlier on the Card, Sam-Son Farm‘s regally-bred Deceptive Vision showed she belonged with the best, defeating with much left, a talented Field which included this year’s Woodbine Oaks–Queen’s Plate Double winner Lexie Lou. British invader Sheikhzayedroad also won gamely under Martin J. Lane for Rabbah Bloodstock and again, Trainer David Simcock. He likely will surface in next month’s $1-million Pattison International, while Deceptive Vision likely resurfaces for the prestigious E.P. Taylor Stakes.
All three Winners gained a berth with their victories for Racing’s Championship Day at Santa Anita Park this November, competing against the World’s best in the series of races known as the Breeders’ Cup.
See the 2014 Ricoh Woodbine Mile below:
We had the privilege of entertaining a select group of VIP Guests, enjoying the day’s free Sunglasses, Food Trucks, Beer Tents, Live Music and BBQ! A slew of $1k Bursaries also were handed out to Students. And as an FYI, the Pulled Pork on a Pretzel Bun was to die for!
Media Coverage also was abundant with premiere outlets like Fox Sports, America’s Best Racing and The Paulick Report coming out to cover the Day.
The Pattison Canadian International is coming up on Sunday, October 19, 2014.
Stay tuned for some exciting initiatives, Willionaire$!
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Woodbine Entertainment Group)
History was made as the World came to Woodbine Racetrack today for the 76th running of the Pattison Canadian International. The Grade I Race valued at $1-million, is known best as the Race in which legendary Secretariat won in 1973, prior to closing-out his Championship three-year-old Season.
Already a feat having won the mile-and-a-half Turf Race twice, Irish-bred Joshua Tree became the first-ever Horse to win the prestigious Affair three times under Jockey Ryan Moore, who guided him to a three-quarter-length victory over American-based Hyper and German-based Seismos in third. The final time for the Race was 2:35.4 over a course listed as Yielding after Woodbine‘s grass course was soaked by rainfall yesterday – a condition which favours European Invaders. Joshua Tree paid $15.30 to a $2 bet and today’s win boosted his lifetime earnings past the $3.8-million mark for Owners Khalid K. al Nabooda & Kamel Albahou, a task which seemed unlikely after the six-year-old Son of Montjeu had gone winless all 2013.
Watch the 2013 Pattison Canadian International here:
Earlier on the Card, the Grade I-E.P. Taylor was run, a restricted Affair for Fillies and Mares valued at $500k. Although based in Europe for much of her earlier career, Tannery has found much success here in North America including a second-place finish in the Flower Bowl Invitational last month at New York’s Belmont Park. The four-year-old Daughter of Dylan Thomas, owned by Richard Santulli, gamely battled her way to hard-fought victory by a head over European-based Fitful Skies. She was ridden by 2013 Kentucky Derby-winning Jockey Joel Rosario, paying $6.00 to a $2 bet as the post-time Favourite. Moment in Time was about two-and-a-half lengths back in third.
Watch the 2013 E.P. Taylor Stakes here:
I had the pleasure of hosting a group of Social Media Influencers at Woodbine today and needless to say we have a new batch of Horse Racing Fans as we had a blast seeing the talented Animals up-close and also getting a couple Photo Ops with the winning Riders of both the E.P. Taylor Stakes and Pattison Canadian International! The free Commemorative Scarves in celebration of the Event also were an amazing touch and thousands queued for theirs!
See these happy faces below:
Social Media Influencers with Joel Rosario
Social Media Influencers with Ryan Moore
Although these are the final Marquee Races of the 2013 Woodbine Racing season, the Races continue up till mid-December so if you haven’t had a chance to enjoy a day at the Track yet this year, there’s still plenty of time!
For more Photos, see some of my Trackside Snaps today here at Woodbine‘s Official Facebook Page.
One of our Guests Trish Cassling was kind enough to post her Photos for us to enjoy here also!
Renee Sylvestre-Williams of Global News also posted some Snaps on her Blog too here!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong/Video credit: Woodbine Entertainment Group)
The World truly comes to WoodbineRacetrack this Sunday for the 76th running of the Pattison Canadian International, bringing together a Field of international Turf Stars for a lofty $1-million purse. The prestigious Affair is known best as the Race which legendary Secretariat won before retiring in his 1973 Championship Season. Jockeys, Trainers, Owners and Horses alike have flown-in for the occasion and earlier on the Card too is the $500k E.P. Taylor Stakes, a restricted Fixture for top-tier Fillies and Mares on the grass.
IndyCar Series Driver James Hinchcliffe partook in the festivities taking-on Drawmaster duties earlier today at Woodbine Racetrack as Post Positions were drawn for both Races.
The Fields for each Race are below:
The $500k E.P. Taylor Stakes (GRADE I) – 4:38 PM EST
1 No Explaining 2 Colonial Flag 3 Irish Mission 4 Minakshi 5 Moment In Time 6 Nancy O 7 Fitful Skies 8 Samba Brazil 9 Moment of Majesty 10 Tannery
Representing Woodbine are Irish Mission (who also is entered in the Pattison Canadian International, although more likely to race in the latter against the Boys), Moment of Majesty, No Explaining and Nancy O, who is trained by our dear friend Carolyn Costigan of Arravale Racing.
The French Filly Minakshi won a major prep race for this, the Canadian Handicap in September at Woodbine, just ahead of American-invader Colonial Flag who has had great luck locally in the past when shipping-in. Formerly European-based, Tannery looks real tough after racing well among difficult company in New York recently including a narrow loss in the Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational in late September.
The $1 million Pattison Canadian International Stakes (GRADE I) – 5:45 PM EST
1 Hyper 2 Temeraine 3 Lucayan 4 Perfect Timber 5 Joshua Tree 6 Stormy Len 7 Now We Can 8 Forte Dei Marmi 9 Seismos 10 Irish Mission 11 Slumber
Representing Woodbine this year are Perfect Timber and the Morning Line Choice, Forte Dei Marmi who is coming off three consecutive wins. A Victory in this Race would be a first for 73-year-old Hall of Fame Trainer Roger Attfield who surprisingly still has yet to win the Pattison Canadian International. As mentioned above, Irish Mission likely will be competing in this Race as the lone female Entrant.
American-based Slumber also is seen as a major Contender, coming in off a respectable fourth place finish in the Arlington Million in September. Hyper, who also is representing Team U.S.A., enters the Race off two big victories, including a win at Belmont Park in New York last month in the Grade II Bowling Green.
If you are planning to go, here are a couple useful links for you:
Next Sunday marks the 74th edition of the Pattison Canadian International, bringing the World’s finest Turf Stars together in a mile-and-a-half Showdown at Woodbine Racetrack. Valued at $1.5 million, several of Horse Racing’s greatest Legends have won the Grade I Race in the past including the inimitable Secretariat, who capped off his celebrated Career here in Toronto back in 1973 with a smashing runaway Victory.
Here’s the scoop – our Friends atthe Woodbine Entertainment Group were kind enough to offer my Readers a handful of $25 Gift Cards. So simply RSVP that you’ll be attending the Race here and also confirm that you’ve done so by clicking “like” on this Post at Mr. Will Wong on Facebook before Thursday, October 11, 2012 for your chance to win! You must be 19 years of age to enter.
Although you can do whatever you’d like with your $25 Gift Card, chances are you’ll want to stay for an afternoon of fun at the Races. And believe it or not on Woodbine Mile Day recently, a Friend of one of my Readers Gabriella, was lucky enough to win a free $1,000 bet! Of course, he played it smart and safe, won his bet and went on to take his winnings home! Now who doesn’t like free money?
The Pattison Canadian International takes place Sunday, October 14, 2012 at Woodbine Racetrack – just minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport and less than 30 minutes by bus from Islington Station (Bus 37A). Races start at 1:00 PM and run till approximately 6:00 PM. All you need is $2.00 to place a bet!
Click here to learn more about the Pattison Canadian International and the Contenders. The U.S. is expected to be represented by Air Support, while Canada will cheer-on one of our v. best in Stormy Lord. The European Contingent includes highly-touted Reliable Man (GB), lightly-raced Imperial Monarch (Ire), recent local Winner Wigmore Hall (Ire) and past Winner of this Race, Joshua Tree (Ire).
Click here to learn more about the Pattison Canadian International and the Contenders.
I’ll definitely be around, so come by and say “hi” if you see me. Good luck and I’ll see you at the Races!