What a year it’s been! The Racing Season at Woodbine ended last weekend and although it’s only been a week, I do miss it! It brings be so many mixed emotions to see so many of our human and equine friends in the industry ship south to the warmer weathers of Kentucky and Florida this winter, but I know they’re all just a Facebook post away and I can keep a tab on the horses like they are my children.
Over the course of the year I have taken well over 25k photos. Hence, to narrow them down to 400 even was a great feat on my part. I take so much pride in every photo I take, discarding one literally is like getting rid of a memory for me and I have a hard time letting go.
Bit by bit since last Saturday, I’d paste together pieces in what little spare time I had to compile my annual 2015 Year in Horses Video. These Snaps span from April through November, my travels taking me to Fort Erie, New Jersey and Lexington. It was an historic year and no racing fan can deny the sheer delight of witnessing a Triple Crown champion in American Pharoah. The three-year-old colt not only would become the first horse since 1978 to accomplish the illusive feat, but he’d also go on to be the first ever to sweep a Grand Slam (Triple Crown + Breeders’ Cup Classic) en route to capping his career off with $8.6 million in earnings, making him a likely Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.
Although racing certainly was exciting south of the border, we had plenty to be proud of in Canada with a competitive three-year-old division which saw three separate horses win each leg of our own Triple Crown: Shaman Ghost, Breaking Lucky and Danish Dynaformer respectively. A Woodbine-based filly named Academic however would travel out west and accomplish some great feats including the Canadian Derby, which could definitely sway voters in Horse of the Year voting in her favour.
To me, the strongest performances came in the two-year-old divisions. For the first time ever a Woodbine-based filly would go south to win the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in Catch a Glimpse. Caren also has been a monster, showing great versatility no matter short nor far including a win in the country’s most important race for fillies in her division, the Princess Elizabeth Stakes. Riker was undefeated in Canada before performing respectably in the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, under Jesse Campbell, who also pilots Caren. And Conquest Enforcer dropped the jaws of everyone including Woodbine‘s CEO,Jim Lawson, with a powerful display in the $250k Cup and Saucer at Woodbine, leaving us wanting more. Meanwhile Shakhimat (translation: “check mate”) gave us every reason to believe he well could be the favourite in next year’s Queen’s Plate, to be held Sunday, July 3, 2016. He crushed a talented field in the $250k Coronation Futurity last month.