Woodbine fans got a huge treat this past weekend as 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner MODERN GAMES made his way to our world-famous E.P. Taylor turf course to take the $1-million Grade I Woodbine Mile in a romp. The Dubawi colt owned by Godolphin and trained by Charles Appleby, was guided to a 5 1/4-length win under world-travelling jockey William Buick in a speedy time of 1:32.77, as the prohibitive race favourite. With everything going according to plan, he should be at Keeneland in November for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Second and third respectively were second-choice IVAR, and FINEST SOUND. Wagering on the race card totalled a healthy $11.7 million, even with one race cancelled end of day due to unforseen circumstances.
The latter part of the card on Saturday was crammed with stakes action, as part of Woodbine‘s involvement with the Breeders’ Cup Win-and-You’re In program. Winners from the three marquee Grade I races, the Woodbine Mile, Summer and Natalma Stakes each earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup, Horse Racing’s championship days of racing slated for November 4th and 5th.
The combination of Godolphin x Appleby x Buick nabbed Grade I glory earlier on the card in the $500k Summer Stakes with two-year-old Irish-bred Dark Angel colt, MYSTERIOUS NIGHT. Like his stablemate, he scored by just over five lengths, and is pointed next to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, the same race MODERN GAMES had won last year.
LAST CALL broke her maiden in style at 21-1 odds, winning the Grade I Natalma Stakes, also valued at $500k. The English Channel filly owned by X-Men Racing 2 LLC and SF Racing LLC, is trained by Kevin Attard, winning with a late sweep to score by a length.
Famed Canadian Geologist Charles Fipke made a rare appearance at Woodbine this weekend and did he ever pick the right weekend to come! He, Trainer Roger Attfield and Emma-Jayne Wilson proved an amazing combo taking a pair of Grade III stakes with LADY SPEIGHTSPEARE in the Seaway Stakes, and READY FOR THE LADY in the Singspiel Stakes on the Sunday card. The former is a perfect three-for-three at Woodbine this season and actually took the Natalma Stakes two years back, and continues to be incredibly consistent.
A couple other notable moments:
Upcoming major races at Woodbine include the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Stakes on October 2nd and also the Grade I E.P. Taylor Stakes October 8th.
Woodbine‘s TURF RACING FESTIVALtook place this past weekend with two action-packed cards including four marquee Grade I races of the 2021 meet, the $600k Pattison Canadian International, the $400k Summer Stakes, the $400k Natalma Stakes and the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile. The former, traditionally contested in October, gets pushed-early to coincide with the Festival.
Wagering was healthy this past weekend, totalling a stellar $26 million. Winners of the Summer, Natalma and Woodbine Mile earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup November 5&6 at Del Mar in California.
The Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Saturday went to local six-year-old gelding TOWN CRUISE, who is bred, owned and trained by Brandon Greer. As the lone speed in the race, he went wire to wire accelerating from moderator to quick fractions under Daisuke Fukumoto, winning by 2 1/4 lengths and paying $19.30 on a $2 wager. The victory was all the more impressive considering that traditionally the race is won by horses and jockeys shipping-in, proof and celebration of the consistently-improving talent of the local contingent. The final time for the one-mile race was 1:35.1. The victory earned him a spot in the Breeders’ Cup with the race being a Win-and-You’re-In qualifier. Second was Space Traveller and Raging Bull was third.
Winning the $600k Pattison Canadian International was well-travelled seven-year-old gelding WALTON STREET, scoring by a widening 5 3/4 lengths under legendary rider Frankie Dettori. Owned by Godolphin and trained by Charles Appleby. Charismatic Dettori even did a signature flying dismount off the horse in the Winner’s Circle.
Being the consummate professional, Dettori was seen walking around upon arrival Saturday and studying the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, and cheers could be heard from the grandstand for the icon.
Earlier on the Saturday card, the $250k Grade II Canadian Stakes went to American invader LA DRAGONTEA. The four-year-old filly owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Rebecca Hillen, is trained by Christophe Clement. Top American rider Joel Rosario piloted the win on the favourite, who paid $4.40 for the win.
The Natalma Stakes for two-year-old fillies at a mile on the turf, went on Sunday to regally-bred WILD BEAUTY, a daughter of Frankel,once again for the combination of Godolphin, Appleby and Dettori. Winning by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:36.08, she went off as the race favourite, paying $4.90 on a $2 bet.
ALBAHR, a two-year-old gelding by Dubawi also would score for the aforementioned Trio in the Summer Stakes, winning also by 2 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:35.7. He was the prohibitive favourite, returning $3.30 to his backers.
Two other stakes went off on the Sunday undercard including both the $150k Ontario Racing and Woodbine Care Stakes. The former went to Mark Casse trainee DIAMOND CITY, under Emma-Jayne Wilson and the latter went to Christophe Clement trainee DERRYMANE under Joel Rosario.
The amazing EURICO ROSA DA SILVA returned back to Woodbine on Sunday to receive his Avelino Gomez Award. The honour is to recognize outstanding achievements by a jockey.
The weekend was star-studded on an equine and human scale. Renowned Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay graced us with his presence, supporting his filly PIZZA BIANCA in the Natalma Stakes in which she finished a game second.
The next Grade I stake of the meet is the E.P. Taylor Stakes on October 17, 2021 for fillies and mares on the turf at 1 1/4 miles and a purse of $600k. The third jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Stakes goes on October 3, 2021 for $400k at 1 1/2 miles on the turf.
One of the the Canadian racing season’s biggest highlights is RICOH WOODBINE MILE weekend, featuring three Win and You’re In stakes races, which earn winners a berth at the sport’s championship weekend, the Breeders’ Cup. Betting on Mile Satuday tallied-in at a whopping $11.8 million.
Bringing it home for the locals this year was super-mare STARSHIP JUBLIEE who continues to be a dream claim for Trainer Kevin Attard, notching his first win in the $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile in his first ever attempt. The seven-year-old mare by Indy Wind was a $16,000 claim in Florida with the helpful eye of Attard‘s father Tino, back in 2017 and with her win in the Mile, took her lifetime earnings past the $2-million mark. In addition to beating her male counterparts, Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year solidified her case for another shot at the title at next year’s 46th edition of the Sovereign Awards, honouring Canada’s best in racing. Justin Stein was aboard for the win for Blue Heaven Farm, winning by a margin of one length over Mark Casse Trainee MARCH TO THE ARCH in a time of 1:32.06, less than a second off the track record set back in 2013 in the same race by Wise Dan.
Female talent were front-and-center on Mile Saturday. In addition to STARSHIP JUBILEE beating the boys, female Trainers Gail Cox and Breeda Hayes also nabbed stakes scores, in addition to Jockeys Sheena Ryan and Emma-Jayne Wilson.
Some snaps below of the joyous festivities.
MARCH TO THE ARCH ran a very credible second for Casse and Live Oak Plantation, under Patrick Husbands.
Favoured WAR OF WILL, winner of the 2019 Preakness Stakes and the 2020 Maker’s Mark Mile finishes a solid third for Casse and Owner Gary Barber.
Also on the card was the $125k Singspiel Stakes, taken by Sam-Son Farm‘s COUNT AGAIN. The five-year-old gelding scored in a 9-1 upset under Luis Contreras, for Trainer Gail Cox.
CREDIT RIVER scored a 41-1 upset in the $135k Ontario Racing Stakes for Trainer Breeda Hayes and Owner Hillsbrook Farms. Emma-Jayne Wilson piloted the sweeping score.
4-1 shot DIRTY DANGLE, a two-year-old daughter of Not This Time, won the $135k Woodbine Cares Stakes under Sheena Ryan for C. DeMizio & Mary Biamonte and Trainer Ralph Biamonte.
Stakes action continued Sunday with the Grade I Summer and Natalma Stakes. Winners from each race will be guaranteed a spot in the Breeders’ Cup.
Woodbine-based GRETZKY THE GREAT, a son of Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and namesake of Canada’s great hockey icon, took the $300k Grade I Summer Stakes under Kazushi Kimura for Owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Gary Barber and Trainer Mark Casse.
Roger Attfield Trainee LADY SPEIGHTSPEARE was simply unstoppable under Emma-Jayne Wilson, who capped-off her fantastic weekend with a score in the $300k Grade I Natalma Stakes for Owner Charles Fipke.
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)
It was a thrilling day of racing at Woodbine today as the Toronto Racetrack hosted the Rock N’ Racing Festival on Woodbine Mile Day. With one-day-only food trucks and musical acts on-site today including local talent like Rynheart, The Honest Heart Collective, Aukland, Highs and JJ and The Pillars, racing fans new and old got to experience the historic track in a way like never before! Above this, The Edge 102.1 Hosts Melani Mariani and Wade MacNeil.
Sunglasses were given away and first bets also were free!
The one-mile marquee turf race was won by Irish-bred invader MONDIALISTE who closed fast and furious on the soft turf course – preferred by Europeans – in a final time of 1:36.6. As the third choice in the race, he paid $9.70 to a $2 bet and was ridden by British jockey on-the-comeback, Fergal Lynch. Geoff and Sandra Turnbull are the winning owners and David O’Meara trains the five-year-old horse.
Placing second by only half a length in he prestigious race was top older American horse Lea, while California’s Obviously after leading all the way, lost-out only late to place third.
Also earlier on the card, our girl HABIBI ran an incredible race against the boys in the Northern Dancer Stakes almost to win it all! Congrats to her and her connections, the Team at Mark Frostad’s barn.
Just one more marquee race left in the thoroughbred 2015 racing season at Woodbine, the $1-million Pattison International to be held on Sunday, October 18, 2015. The race has gone down in history as the final race Secretariat won prior to retiring. Be sure to join us then!
Don’t forget, your Selfies can win you $1k! Next time you visit, remember to Tweet a photo of yourself at the track with the hashtag #OFFTOTHERACES, to qualify!
Sunday marks a huge day in Woodbine Racetrack‘s 2015 Racing Season with the $1-million RICOH WOODBINE MILE to be run over one of the World’s finest turf courses.
Despite making the headlines as two-time American Horse of the Year WISE DAN‘s big return to the races, it was just announced that the champion has been retired due to an injury. Still expect it to be a superb race with a strong local contingent and some outstanding horses invading Canada for a shot at that huge purse money!
Your probable field for the one-mile turf race:
Grand Arch Kaigun Lea Mondialiste (IRE) Mr. Owen Obviously Platinum Glory Reporting Star Tower of Texas Turncoat Za Approval
OBVIOUSLY has competed against top-class competition in California earning $1.4 million and will be making the Woodbine Mile is seasonal debut. LEA also is mighty-classy, having run against the top-shelf opposition in the U.S. and certainly in the thick of things with $2.03 million in earnings. MONDIALISTE also is shipping-in from England and coming-off two important wins in 2015. French three-year-old colt MR. OWEN is eyeing the Woodbine Mile after an impressive win in France earlier this month.
Don’t discount Toronto boys though! GRAND ARCH is Woodbine-based mostly, before having achieved success in the U.S. and comes off a win in the important Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga in New York. REPORTING STAR wowed many of us recently with a gutsy win in the Play the King Stakes at Woodbine, beating-out local favourites TOWER OF TEXAS and KAIGUN. Meanwhile, ZA APPROVAL (now based at Woodbine after spending much of his career in the U.S.) ran second to WISE DAN back in 2013 in this very race, en route to an identical placing in the important Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile that year too.
There will be lots of excitement on the undercard also with the $300k Northern Dancer Stakes which will see the hero of last month’s Breeders’ Stakes, DANISH DYNAFORMER, take-on older competition in that 1 1/2 mile turf race. This is seen as a test of his class.
Fillies and mares also will be looking for an automatic birth in the Racing’s championship day, the Breeders’ Cup this November, with a win in the $300k Canadian Stakes and it looks to be a tough one with OVERHEARD up against French filly UCHENNA. Talented Irish-bred and American-based WATSDACHANCES, who recently won the important Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park in Illinois,also likely will be shipping in.
Top local sprinter CALGARY CAT looks also to solidify his case as one of the best horses in the country in the Bold Venture Stakes, where he will face English-bred filly ENDLESS LIGHT.
Did you know also Woodbine is hosting a Rock N’ Racing Festival with lots of live music for you to enjoy? Acts like Rynheart, The Honest Heart Collective, Aukland, Highs and JJ and The Pillars will be playing, with The Edge 102.1 Hosts Melani Mariani and Wade MacNeil in attendance too!
Admission and parking are free, you get a pair of sunglasses free and your first bet is on them (head to the third floor to get ’em)! It all starts at 12! For directions, click here.
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:
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)