True to tradition, we present to you our A YEAR IN HORSES 2018 Video. Annually at the end of the Woodbine racing season, we compile our favourite moments of people and horses at the races to commemorate the year.
This year we chose to pair our highlights with one of our favourite tracks, ONE KISS by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa. The song is a celebration of falling in love and that is exactly what we do year after year. We never get sick of this, our favourite sport! It’s always been about the people, the passion and the horses for us rather than hitting a Jackpot Hi-5.
The year was marked by Wonder Gadot‘s reign as the Queen of Canadian Racing and veterans shining like Pink Lloyd, Pumpkin Rumble, Mr. Havercamp, Kingsport and Tiz a Slam. We saw also the rise of several recent additions to the jockey colony like Jerome Lermyte and Kazushi Kimura. 2018 may have been a divisive year with many getting their moment to shine and split opinions, but there certainly were a lot of memories to capture. We take you right from the start of the season, all the way to Churchill Downs at the Breeders’ Cup, right to the end of the Woodbine meet.
While we had to scale back our visits slightly this year due to various commitments and Billy’s health issues – he is the only thing that could keep us from the races – we still were very much there throughout the year. Hence when people ask me “Where have you been?”, honestly I never left! And here’s the proof.
We’re sure by now all of you know what a huge fan and ambassador to Horse Racing we are! We are for the first time ever at Churchill Downs in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby for the sport’s two championship days this weekend, the Breeder’s Cup! We’re thrilled about this and taking-in the history and energy.
With Triple Crown winner Justify being absent from the Breeders’ Cup Classic, this leaves the marquee $6 million affair wide-open with John Sadler trainee Accelerate leading the charge. If there were anyone who knows how to win the headliner, that would be Justify‘s trainer, Bob Baffert who comes armed with a duo comprised of the fresh West Coast who ran second last year and McKinzie.
Canadian content is abundant this year with leading two-year-old Woodbine filly, My Gal Betty ready to go for Hall of Fame Trainer Roger Attfield in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. She was a game second in the Grade I Natalma Stakes to La Pelosa(IRE) and once again faces her.
European superfilly and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Enable will be there in-person and squaring-off with among others, Ontario-bred Channel Maker who won the Breeder’s Stakes at Woodbine last year. They vie for the winner’s share of $4 million in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Classic.
We’ll be seeing Canada’s queen Wonder Gadot ready to do battle for owner Gary Barber and leading Woodbine trainer Mark Casse. She is up against the big girls including three-year-old filly division leaders Midnight Bisou and Monomoy Girl in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Casse also sends-out among others, War of Will, a game second in the Summer Stakes back in September at Woodbine, plus locally-based Shamrock Rose in the Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Two Canadian-bred colts based in Europe have their eyes set on glory in Sergei Prokofiev and Van Beethoven, the former bred by our friend David Anderson, who also bred Wonder Gadot.
Yvonne Schwabe-bred Conquest Tsunami who has found new life in a California for owner Gary Barber stands a big chance in the Breeder’s Cup Turf Sprint.
Ricoh Woodbine Mile winner Oscar Performance looks to repeat his September feat in the Breeder’s Cup Turf Mile.
The favourite in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies is Bellafina, a daughter of Woodbine-based Akron Moon, who was trained by Mark Frostad.
Woodbine-based jockey Luis Contreras arrives at Churchill Downs to ride Warrior’s Club for legendary Trainer D Wayne Lukas and also Bravazo in the Breeder’s Cup Mile.
Our Friday picks:
Juvenile Turf Sprint – Sergei Prokofiev
Juvenile Fillies Turf – Pivottina (FR)
Juvenile Fillies – Bellafina
Juvenile Turf – War of Will
Juvenile – Game Winner
Our Saturday picks:
Filly & Mare Sprint – Marley’s Freedom
Turf Sprint – Stormy Liberal
Dirt Mile – Catalina Cruiser
Filly & Mare Turf – Magical Wand (IRE)
Sprint – Whitmore
Turf Mile – Polydream (IRE)
Distaff – Abel Tasman
Turf Classic – Enable
Classic – West Coast
Just as TIFF ’18 winds-down, one of the biggest weekends in Horse Racing in Canada took place this past weekend at Woodbine Racetrack, including the Grade I $800k RICOH WOODBINE MILE, plus two Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re-In races, the Grade I Natalma and Grade II Summer Stakes. The trio of races are seen as springboards to Horse Racing’s championship days, the Breeders’ Cup to be held this November at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Saturday’s headlining Ricoh Mile proved a thrilling race, running deep in quality and class. Ultimately it would be former Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner OSCAR PERFORMANCE who would deliver that Academy gold in the one-mile race on the turf. The four-year-old son of top stallion Kitten’s Joy trained by Brian Lynch, would boost his earnings to $2.34 million for owner Amerman Racing LLC, stopping the clock at 1:33.1, winning by 1 1/2 lengths under red-hot U.S.-based jockey Jose Ortiz. Bettors were reward $7.20 to a $2.00 bet.
Giving the victor a fight for his money was Woodbine-based hero MR HAVERCAMP, finishing in second spot for owners Sean & Dorothy Fitzhenry and trainer Catherine Day Phillips. Eurico Da Silva was aboard the brave performance, for the same connections as 2018 Woodbine Oaks winner DIXIE MOON. British invader STORMY ANTARCTIC (GB) took third spot for Mr. P.K. Siu and trainer Ed Walker.
Mr Havercamp gives his connections a thrill
Watch the race here:
Flashy and well-regarded European invader Lord Glitters (FR) placed sixth
Frank Stronach-owned post-time favourite Delta Prince finished a credible fourth
The excitement continued into Sunday with the Grade I Natalma Stakes highlighting the day. The one-mile turf race for fillies has spawned several champions including Alywow, Dance Smartly, Arravale, Wavering Girl, Kirby’s Song, Ginger Gold and Victory to Victory. This year’s Queen’s Plate champion Wonder Gadot finished third in the race last year.
The race was taken by British import, LA PELOSA (IRE), an Irish-bred daughter of Dandy Man, owned by international racing giant, Godolphin. Trained by Charles Appleby and ridden by Englishman Jamie Spencer, the filly kicked home a length clear of the field in a time of 1:33.7, less than a click slower than much more seasoned veterans in the Woodbine Mile one day prior. Bettors were rewarded with a return of $8.50 to a $2.00 bet. Woodbine-based filly MY GAL BETTY was an impressive second as the post-time favourite for Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, her chances compromised by a wide run. Another promising local filly BOLD SCRIPT would run third. The winner is expected to be Kentucky-bound early November for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
La Pelosa (IRE) and her connections, including jockey Jamie Spencer
Top local filly My Gal Betty, a game second
See the race:
The boys would not be outshone as exciting Chad Brown trainee FOG OF WAR would score in the Summer Stakes by 3/4 of a length under jockey Javier Castellano, defeating a game WAR OF WILL, who comes from the barn of leading trainer Mark Casse. The winner paid $4.20 on a $2.00 bet and is owned by Peter M. Brant, finishing in a time of 1:33.9, just marginally slower than the fillies earlier in the Natalma. The top two finishers are by in-demand stallion WAR FRONT, whose stud fee stands at $250k U.S. Both colts can be expected to square-off again in the Breeders’ CupJuvenile Turf. Local colt NASHTRICK, trained by Josie Carroll, finished third.
Fog of War
War of Will
Avie’s Flatter would finish fourth
See the race:
The Breeders’ Cup takes place November 2-3, 2018. Catch it on TSN in Canada.
All photography taken on the NIKON D3400.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Woodbine Entertainment Group/TSN)
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)
We were in L.A. this past weekend and although our reason to visit was the 2016 BREEDERS’ CUP at Santa Anita Park, we always make time for the stars. We even met culinary master Bobby Flay at the championship races and saw one of our faves Elizabeth Banks, both Ambassadors for the event.
We’re completely exhausted from the trip but finally had a quick minute to share some of our Selfies. Two events were going on around town that night, the GO FOUNDATION GALA in Downtown L.A. benefiting under-privileged children. While Katy Perry and Kate Hudson attended last year, this year we had chair Robert Pattinson attend and he was a great sport, staying right to the end! We’ve met him a few times and he is gracious when time and security permits and fortunately it was a low-key situation. At the Fox Theatre the same night was the Premiere for Oscar Contender, FENCES, directed by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. He stars in the Drama alongside Viola Davis, based on the Broadway play which saw him win a Tony!
We also saw Mel Gibson, Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn at a screening for HACKSAW RIDGE, but the photos were a no-go. Sad, but fine.
We had so much fun at our first ever Breeders’ Cup last year that we had do it all again! With over 118k people in attendance for Horse Racing’s two championship days Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 at Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park – about an hour outside Los Angeles – it was a spectacle spilling over in starpower. Spread over a series of ten races, the extravaganza of the finest in Horse Racing, drew fans and talent from all around the world. If there was any question about the sport’s popularity, the 2016 Breeders’ Cup ranks overall as the fourth-most-bet edition of all time since its inception in 1984 with $159.9 million wagered.
The $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic was the centerpiece of the weekend, contested on Saturday. Seen widely as 2014 North American Horse of the Year and fan favourite CALIFORNIA CHROME‘s crowning moment in a flawless 2016 campaign, it just simply wasn’t meant to be. The Cinderella-storied five-year-old led all the way looking to pull away under a confident ride from Victor Espinoza, only to be caught late by brilliant three-year-old colt and second choice, ARROGATE. The winner is owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by the legendary Bob Baffert, who won the important race last year with wonderhorse AMERICAN PHAROAH.
Headlining Friday was the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff starring three of the sport’s queens, all whom have in previous years won a Breeders’ Cup race en route to being named champion with a coveted Eclipse award. Still very much on-top, Spendthrift Farm’s six-year-old mare BEHOLDER, making her final start, took her earnings past the $6 million-mark with her third Breeders’ Cup victory. This very likely will culminate in a rare fourth championship title for the Richard Mandella trainee when awards are handed-out January 2017. Under Gary Stevens, BEHOLDER faced stiff competition from the undefeated and impending three-year-old filly champion SONGBIRD, battling to the end in an exhilarating head-bobbing finish, never to be forgotten. Reigning champion three-year-old filly STELLAR WIND had a poor start and was never in contention despite defeating BEHOLDER in their last match, the Zenyatta Stakes.
Stars of the human variety also were in attendance including Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors BOBBY FLAY and ELIZABETH BANKS in a dramatic mesh, face-covering fascinator, watching the Breeders’ Cup Classic from the rail with her family. Taylor Lautner, Maika Monroe, Emily Ratajkowski and Allison Janney also were among several others spotted.
As Canadians, we had plenty to be proud of. Woodbine Racetrack stars CHANNEL MAKER, NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR, MELMICH and CALGARY CAT ventured to California after accomplished campaigns this season locally, the latter two running a decent fourth in the Marathon and Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint respectively under jockey Luis Contreras, who came with his father and brother. Ontario-bred WAVELL AVENUE who was defending her Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint title finished a close second in the race this year. Vancouver’s Mario Gutierrez who got his break at Hastings Park, won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with longshot CHAMPAGNE ROOM.
We may be seeing less of Woodbine Trainer Brian Lynch these days but Amerman Racing Stables’ OSCAR PERFORMANCE won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf under his preparation. Our friends at Team Mark Casse thrilled us with runner-up finishes with turf champion TEPIN in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile after winning it last year, and promising Stonestreet Stables filly VALADORNA was a bang-up second in the Juvenile Fillies – she will be a force to be reckoned with next year. CLASSIC EMPIRE gave Mark Casse and owner John C. Oxley their first ever Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and he very well could be in the Kentucky Derby that first Saturday in May 2017 as the favourite.
Let’s re-live that magical Breeders’ Cup experience once more in photos!
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner NEW MONEY HONEY with the sharp-dressed Chad Brown team, under jockey Javier Castellano.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner OSCAR PERFORMANCE and jockey Jose Ortiz, with our friend, Erin Cotterill, assistant to Trainer Brian Lynch. He is a shy colt.
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner TAMARKUZ under Mike Smith, who had a fantastic weekend with count ’em… three wins!
Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner and reigning champion mare, BEHOLDER and also at bottom her noble opponent, champion filly SONGBIRD.
Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors Elizabeth Banks (with family) and Bobby Flay.
Some Can-con for you! 🍁 CALGARY CAT, a fast-closing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with Luis Contreras and Trainer Kevin Attard. Let’s not forget reigning Canadian Horse of the Year CATCH A GLIMPSE in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf entrant CHANNEL MAKER with Team Dan Vella (and our friends Julie and Gina!) and NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR (with jockey Eurico Da Silva) in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint!
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner CHAMPAGNE ROOM under Mario Gutierrez. Do not discount Mark Casse trainee VALADORNA (seen with our friend and lovely assistant Trainer Sarah Campion) who ran second and gorgeous Bob Baffert trainee AMERICAN GAL whom after an unlucky trip, still ran a respectable third.
Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner DREFONG, under Martin Garcia.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner CLASSIC EMPIRE, Team Mark Casse and Oilman John C. Oxley’s first win in the race. Watch for him on the Kentucky Derby trail. Look out also for runners-up NOT THIS TIME, a handsome half-brother to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, LIAM’S MAP and SYNDERGAARD, named for MLB star Noah Syndergaard.
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner FINEST CITY. Jockey Mike Smith truly is a showman, giving us much to photograph! Canadian-born WAVELL AVENUE just misses a repeat win.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner OBVIOUSLY who thrilled us in the 2015 Woodbine Mile on the front end, wins after three tries for leading California Trainer Philip D’Amato. Look at the emotions! We were ecstatic to see his star filly ENOLA GRAY at his barn. Perhaps she will be at Del Mar next fall for Breeders’ Cup 2017?
Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile winner TOURIST under Joel Rosario, with assistant and son to Bill Mott, Riley who has visited Woodbine much this year. Turf queen and defending champion TEPIN was flying late to be second. We were thrilled we got to see the stellar MISS TEMPLE CITY who has two Grade I wins against the boys this season for Trainer Graham Motion.
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner QUEEN’S TRUST under charismatic celebrity jockey Frankie Dettori and fan favourite and Breeders’ Cup winner herself LADY ELI, a heartbreaking second. It is a treat to see Japanese/French-speaking jockey Yutaka Take as he rode Asian import, NUOVO RECORD.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Classic winner HIGHLAND REEL took it wire-to-wire under a daring ride by Irish rider Seamus Heffernan. Great runs also from a now-retired Hong Kong Vase winner FLINTSHIRE and defending heroine of the race FOUND, who recently won the prestigious Arc de Triomphe in France.
Last but not least, Breeders’ Cup Classic victor, ARROGATE under a joyful Mike Smith! It takes a remarkable horse to defeat iconic CALIFORNIA CHROME… and he did it!
And this might have happened… #CHROMIE 📸🐎😁
Horse Racing is here to stay. To racing’s modern fans! 🍾
Like the Kentucky Derby which takes place every first Saturday in May, the first Monday in May also is a celebration of decadence, fashion and excellence. Taking place in midtown Manhattan at the Museum of Modern Art, the Met Gala is spearheaded by Vogue editor and fashion visionary Anna Wintour, whom has full control over the ultra-exclusive and star-studded list of attendees.
It is an annual tradition of ours to visit the City and as always, we have an amazing time getting charged with some of that high-watt haute couture starpower.
The invite-only affair runs its accomplished guests a steep five-figure sum to be seen among the A-List. Its theme in 2016 was Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology. The merging of a who’s who in Politics, Sports and Arts had top fashion houses clamouring to dress their respective muses. Taking inspiration from this year’s theme, designers were tasked with incorporating geometry, shimmer and just enough glamour fit for a grand Red Carpet affair as this. And the results show it. If Hollywood has a diversity issue, the Met Gala appeared to address this with a variety of faces being represented on the guest list from across the spectrum.
The preparation process for many of the invited stars and starlets is both detailed and extensive, starting with fittings which take place in the weeks leading-up to the Met Gala. The day-of, stars spend the entire morning and afternoon being beautified by an army of talent, to be unveiled on the elaborate Red Carpet before the barricaded starstruck public lining the streets and a bevvy of handpicked photographers. The rain reigned over New York City all Met Gala weekend, putting a literal damper on the fun, but the show must go on!
The term “A-List” often is thrown around but never is it meant in its truest sense as in the Met Gala. BEYONCÉ. LADY GAGA. MADONNA. KATY PERRY. SARAH JESSICA PARKER. JENNIFER LAWRENCE. KRISTEN STEWART. EMMA WATSON.Names like these grace the event and if you’re not yet at that stature, the Met Gala is seen as a coveted opportunity to be seen alongside them if you are talent on the verge of major stardom like Margot Robbie, Zendaya, Kate Bosworth, Kendall Jenner, Dakota Johnson, Halsey or Rita Ora. And let’s not forget this year’s honourary chair, megastar TAYLOR SWIFT.
While it is virtually impossible to access every star, there are enough opportunities around town centered around the Met Gala to give fans a glimpse of that glamour.
A photo posted by Mr. Will Wong 📸 (@mrwillwong) on
Being the massive Horse Racing lover we are, we wouldn’t pass up a chance to visit historic Belmont Park. We had the pure delight of meeting undefeated Breeders’ Cup champ LADY ELI who is on the comeback trail after suffering a worrisome bout of laminitis. Among others, we got to meet $7-million earning fellow Chad Brown trainee FLINTSHIRE. It isn’t every day we get to meet a Hong Kong Vase winner and that we did!
Having spent most of my childhood weekends at the racetrack with my parents, it has always been a dream of mine to attend the Breeders’ Cup. The two-day championship series of races often decide divisional honours and Horse of the Year title in America, with 13 races totaling a whopping $24.5 million. Although the event rotates from track to track annually, with our Woodbine playing host once only in 1996, Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky would have the honour this year.
The track, known for its famous Sycamore tree, is within a 50-mile radius of where some of the top thoroughbred horses in the world and bred and born. The decision to go was an easy one this year. Keeneland is one of the most picturesque race courses in the world – one of my favourites. Attending in 2015 checked two items off my bucket list at once.
And can I tell you how kind and gracious the people of Lexington are? We really could learn from them a thing or two about old-school hospitality.
We need no introduction to Triple Crown hero American Pharoah, the first horse to win that illusive series of three races since Affirmed in 1978. After several close calls, racing fans including myself wondered if we ever would see another Triple Crown champion in this lifetime. A win in marquee race, the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic also would accomplish another remarkable feat known as a Grand Slam, which in Horse Racing is comprised of winning both the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. American Pharoah would make it look so easy before an over-capacity and already expanded grandstand of roaring fans, not only winning by six-and-a-half lengths, but also shattering the course record for the 1 1/4 mile distance. The victory for Zayat Stables, trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Victor Espinoza boosted his career earnings to $8.6 million. His final career race would be a dramatic win with soldiers escorting him off-track and fans on their feet!
Trainer Baffert who has trained many greats in his career, said at a celebratory champagne press conference following the victory, “Secretariat to me was the greatest horse of all time. For American Pharoah to be mentioned in the same sentence is a great honour”. The defection of supermare Beholder late last week certainly improved his chances, but his final performance reminded us exactly why it is we are so obsessed with him. We have witnessed a new chapter in American history and the colt’s legacy will be a thing of stories to a next generation of racing fans.
Watch the race here:
Make no mistake though, the Breeders’ Cup wasn’t only about American Pharoah. The star-studded international affair which took place this past Friday and Saturday was filled with celebrities of the equine and human variety. Breeders’ Cup ambassador and supermodel Kate Upton even came out to show her support. Championship status was solidified for some, while others gave us a new perspective on their case.
Woodbine-based Trainer Mark Casse made us all extremely proud as lightning struck twice for him this weekend, garnering his overdue first-ever Breeders’ Cup wins with Catch a Glimpse in the $1-million Juvenile Turf Fillies and Tepin in the $2-million Turf Mile. The latter defeated a field of males including Woodbine Mile winner Mondialiste who placed second and third-placed Brian Lynch trainee Grand Arch, who is based here locally.
Canadian success also was witnessed in Wavell Avenue scoring huge in the $1-million Filly & Mare Sprint. She was bred in Ontario by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.
Former Vancouver-based jockey Mario Gutierrez also would go on to win the $2-million Juvenile aboard early Kentucky Derby favourite, Nyquist. That race was led till late by likely champion Canadian two-year-old male Riker, ridden valiantly by our Jesse Campbell.
Another Ontario-bred, the accomplished Private Zone, would finish second in the $1.5 million Sprint behind three-year-old, record-smashing internet sensation Runhappy. That winner is trained by up-and-coming trainer Maria Borell, who is giving the sport a new face with her sudden success story. She just started training two years ago, believe it or not.
Let’s re-live some of that magic in a series of Photos from our Nikon D3300 lens:
Legendary trainer (American Pharoah) Bob Baffert. He’s in a sweatshirt. My kinda guy!
I was so busy on my phone that I didn’t notice stunning supermodel Kate Upton taking selfies over the ledge. I was like, “What is everyone taking photos of?!?”. Oh, right. She’s super-sweet and gets a huge gold star for choice of hat!
Filly & Mare winner Stopchargingmaria certainly can pay cash now! No more credit debt!
Rachel’s Valentina, daughter of racing royalty Rachel Alexandra, giving it her all in the Juvenile Fillies. We expect her to continue improving next year.
Mike Smith aboard Juvenile Fillies winner Songbird. Celebratory.
Vancouver’s Mario Gutierrez, leading Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Nyquist onto the track. The colt is now the early favourite for the 2016 Kentucky Derby.
Canadian girls do it best. Wavell Avenue and her connections all smiling in unison after her Filly & Mare Sprint win.
The most festive winner’s circle ever. Although Mongolian Saturday was naughty getting ready in the paddock, he sure turned it on in the Turf Sprint for Florent Geroux and Mongolian Stable.
Who cares about Horse Racing though, right?!
Stephanie’s Kitten giving her connections and young jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. emotions after her Filly & Mare Turf win.
Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Catch a Glimpse of Woodbine enjoying her breakfast and giving us a glance the day after her big win.
Tepin‘s connections extremely proud after her Turf Mile win over the boys. I’ll pretend like my kiss and hug had nothing to do with it!
Three-year-old filly Found gives a herculean effort in the Turf Classic, beating the boys, including famed opponent Golden Horn (below).
Hit it a Bomb getting some last minute adjustments from phenomenal Ryan Moore before striking in the Juvenile Turf.
The lovely and sweet Maria Borell trying to contain her tears after star trainee Runhappy wins the Sprint under veteran jockey Edgar Prado.
The handsome Liam’s Map mugs for us once more before his retirement following a win in the Mile.
In the ’90s, most Kids hung-out at the Mall or did House Parties on weekends. My single delight every Saturday and Sunday was going to the Races with my Parents. In that era, there was no Star brighter than CIGAR. The two-time Horse of the Year had us Racing Fans at the edge of our seats with a 16-race win streak stretching from October 1994 through July 1996.
Even after the streak ended, CIGAR still was going strong before ending a remarkable Career at Woodbine Racetrack here in Toronto (like Secretariat in 1973) with a game third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He retired just shy of the $10-million mark in earnings (an all-time record) winning everywhere from California to New York to Dubai. Horses like CIGAR literally are one in a million and he not only was America’s Horse. He was the Horse of Racing Fans around the World.
The Maryland-bred Colt owned by Allen Paulson, a prominent Aircraft Developer and Businessman, exceeded any expectations of him beginning his Career with an unsuspecting seventh place finish at Santa Anita Park in California. After switching from grass to the dirt, things took-off rather well for him and what we had was a true Racing Icon – a Hall of Famer – and no doubt one of the greatest of all time.
The Canadian connection certainly was there too. His paternal Great-Grandfather, Oshawa’s Windfields Farm-bred Norther Dancer, to this day is hailed for passing-on the genetic foundation of many of today’s brightest Racing Stars. His maternal Grandfather Seattle Slew also is an American Racing Icon, winning the coveted Triple Crown in 1997.
I never had the honour of seeing the great CIGAR in-person, but admired him deeply from our living room TV Set. He was a Star. Despite not having much luck as a Stallion following his Career on-track – all 37 mares bred to him failed to become pregnant – he lived a peaceful life at the Kentucky Horse Park of Champions, passing away yesterday at the age of 24 following surgery for a neck problem he was experiencing.
Thank you CIGAR, for the memories. Thank you for your Legacy.
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)