Saturday, April 3, 2010

Photo Essay: Great Friday! Grazettes Landing Wins the Woodbine Debut Stakes

Thoroughbred racing returned to Woodbine on Good Friday and racing fans flocked to the Rexdale track to bask in the sunshine and welcome the horses home.

Woodbine's jockeys, dressed in full silks, stood at the main entrance and handed out vouchers valued anywhere from $2 to $1000 as they welcomed the public to the park.

With the weather cooperating and a competitive Debut Stakes event on offer, it made for an exciting day of racing.

What follows is a photo essay recap of the day. As always, left-click the image to enlarge and use your "Back" button to return to the photo essay.

Queen's Plate winning jock Emma-Jayne Wilson is a fan favourite

Good Luck to who?

Future Star Omar Moreno makes a new friend

Tyler Pizarro suggests a place bet on Bob N Weave in the ninth

Rob Landry wants you to PLACE A BET

Welcome to Woodbine

Jimmy Mac is back!

Rob Landry got the call on Northern Dancer - much to the delight of Tyler Pizarro

Woodbine's Chris Lomon with jockey Krista Carignan

Punters returned to Woodbine on Good Friday in search of redemption...

and Jesus (Castanon) provided with the first winner of the year - Neverrguwithrichie

Everybody loves a winner

Cliff Cottage was the first of two Melnyk winners on the day

Picking one winner is good...picking three is fantastic!

Apprentice Betty Jo Williams made her first Woodbine start aboard 10-1 shot Sir Heart Throb...

and nearly pulled off an outstanding upset in a race won by Cowboy Sheikh

After the race, I had a few quick words with the 20-year-old apprentice about her first trip around the oval.

"It was amazing," exclaimed Williams. "The horse ran great. He was real game and has good heart. (Ha! Sir Heart Throb!) I galloped him in Florida so I knew him. It was real nice. Riding races and winning is great but riding at Woodbine is another story."

Williams already has four wins to her credit at Mountaineer stopping in time to preserve her bug for the 2010 meet.

"I rode my first amateur race at Colonial Downs in Virginia," stated Williams. "My first actual jockey race was at Mountaineer."

If Williams continues to ride as she did in Saturday's sixth race, her agent David O'Connor will be a very busy man.

Betty Jo was thrilled with the result

Cowboy Sheikh shakes off Sir Heart throb to win the sixth race

Following the race, the jockey was swarmed by family and friends who promise to be back over the weekend in hope of seeing Williams first Woodbine win.

You can read more about Williams in the Globe and Mail feature Have Bug, Will Race.

Betty Jo was #2 on the chart, but remains #1 in the hearts of her proud family and friends who came out to support

Apprentice Ryan Pacheco made his second Woodbine start about Sparkling Micayla

Another relative newcomer to Woodbine is apprentice Ryan Pacheco. The apprentice took the learned route to the racetrack under the wing of a Kentucky Derby legend.

"I went to Chris McCarron's jockey school," stated Pacheco. "It's a two-year course with a four month internship which I used and went to England with John Gosden. I didn't get to race ride but I was galloping horses and learning their ways and how they breeze."

Horsemen tend to lend much of their success to experience and no doubt Pacheco has learned a great deal from the two-time Derby winning jockey (Go For Gin, Alysheba), McCarron, and the English conditioner, Gosden, who has won several important events including the St. Leger (Shantou), the Epsom Derby (Benny the Dip) and a Breeders' Cup Classic with Raven's Pass.

Though Pacheco didn't hit the board he appears to have a very bright (orange) future

The opening day feature was the Debut Stakes for Ontario sired Four-Year-Olds and Upward traveling five furlongs on the polytrack. An 11-horse field of salty veterans promised to make for a hard fought race.

Bold Nurse stares boldly into the camera

Gorgeous grey Sand Cove prefers to race without a tongue strap

Grazettes Landing made a beautiful pre-race appearance under the watchful eye of jockey Patrick Husbands

Jim McAleney Dancingall Theway to the track

Tyler Pizarro in the G.T. Heat Stable silks aboard Me the Sea and G T

Savvy veteran jockey Richard Dos Ramos struts to the track on Stray Cat Stride

Stuck in Traffic hopes to stay out of trouble by racing on the lead

Rob Landry got the nod on Sand Cove

Bold Nurse and Paso Doble led the field through the opening fractions of 21.99 and 44.72 with Grazettes Landing stalking from fourth. Yummy With Butter, who suffered a slow start, and Don's Folly waited patiently at the back of the pack as the field moved into the stretch. With a sixteenth to run, Grazettes Landing assumed the lead and drove clear of the field as Don's Folly launched a rallying bid under Emma Wilson but ran out of racing room to catch the leader.

Grazettes Landing was Eugene Melnyk's second winner of the opening day card and the first of what will be many stakes wins for Husbands in 2010.

Grazettes Landing leaps to victory over a hard charging Don's Folly and railbird Paso Doble

A great opening day of racing for Woodbine and a great opening day of handicapping for yours truly with a chalky pick three to start, an awesome $184 exactor in the Debut - - and a successful prediction on my opening day preview post entitled Omar Moreno on the Radio and Who to Bet in the Woodbine Debut.

Welcome back Woodbine!

Grazettes Landing a confident winner of the Debut Stakes

1 comment:

suebroux said...

Lone Star's Opening Day is just around the corner ... you're thorough photo essay should serve as an excellent example of what I should aspire to perform next Thursday. Sadly, however, the only photos I will probably be able to procure will be of railbrids imbibing frozen margaritas and other refreshments!

Nice job, Keith!