Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Look Ahead at the Woodbine Weekend

The Canada Day long weekend brings three solid cards at Woodbine starting Friday with the return of Canada's Horse of the Year, Biofuel, in the Sweet Briar Too Stakes. The Brereton C. Jones charge was last seen on September 26 when scoring in the Selene Stakes. The holiday Friday card (2PM post time) feature is the Dominion Day Stakes as ten Kentucky-breds take on the lone Canadian rep, Southdale.

Southdale is Canada's lone representative in the Dominion Day Stakes

A WEG stakes preview notes that, Dominion Day headlines Canada Day at Woodbine:

Southdale, who finished fifth in the Grade 3 Eclipse last out at a mile and a sixteenth, has trained forwardly for this event.

“He’s doing well. His last two breezes have been very good,” said Black. “He worked five-eighths (in: 59.80) and came back and worked a good half (in :48.60).”

The five-year-old Street Cry-Pinafores Pride horse will be making his third start of the form cycle, often the time for a peak performance.

“His first race (the seven-furlong Vigil Stakes), he wasn’t ready to sprint and he got run off his feet,” said Black. “When he came back and ran in the Eclipse, he was beat three and a quarter lengths and it wasn’t that bad a race. Turning for home, I thought he might even have run on and taken a bigger piece.”

The mile and a quarter distance of the Dominion Day should not trouble Black’s charge. Southdale was third in the same event last year won by Hold Me Back.

“As a three-year-old we never had any doubt that he could go a mile and a quarter in the Queen’s Plate,” recalled Black. “He’s in good form at the moment and seems like a happy horse so we’ll hope for the best."

Southdale will take on a very strong field that includes Stately Victor, who won the Ontario Derby here last season, and the Roger Attfield trainee Don Cavallo.


Post / Horse / Jockey / Trainer

1 / Mint Chip / Jesse Campbell / Michael Doyle

2 / Laureata Conductor / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Michael De Paulo

3 / Southdale / Emma-Jayne Wilson / Ian Black

4 / Don Cavallo / Luis Contreras / Roger Attfield

5 / Center Divider / Javier Castellano / Chad Brown

6 / Perfect Bullet / Jim McAleney / Reade Baker

7 / Alcomatch / Tyler Pizarro / Christophe Clement

8 / Stately Victor / Victor Lebron / Michael Maker

9 / So Elite / Patrick Husbands / Mark Casse

10 / Longboarder / Joe Bravo / Michael Matz

11 / James Street / Patrick Husbands / Mark Casse

Saturday's feature is the Achievement Stakes which will see Bear's Chill return to sprinting following his failed attempt to stretch out in the Plate Trial. The Reade Baker fellow takes on a new rider as Luis Contreras gets the call replacing Emile Ramsammy. The rider switch will also come with a new racing style as Baker will see if the speedy sort can get the job done from off-the-pace. Strong opposition will be provided by the Mike Keogh trained Say No More.

You MUST Chill!

A pair of stakes events highlight Sunday's card starting with a field of seven two-year-olds sprinting five and one half furlongs in the Clarendon Stakes. The unraced Mark Casse trainee, Making Amends, arrives off a string of sharp works and has the benefit of jockey Patrick Husbands. Leading rider Luis Contreras takes the reins on The Mighty Sparrow who was fifth in his first lifetime start when off slowly. Jenna's Wabbit, who was a wascally winner last time out, is the likely favourite.

Jenna's Wabbit bweaks her maiden

Sunday's feature is the $250,000 Bison City Stakes, the second leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara, and it will be contested without Woodbine Oaks winner Inglorious who won last weekend's Queen's Plate Stakes. Spooky Kitten, who was second in the Oaks, is the likely favourite with Edgar Prado returning for the mount. Fellow Oaks starters Marketing Mix and Bear It's Time will offer competition along with Niigon's Touch - - a perfect two-for-two to start her career.

Spooky Kitten's spirits will be boo-sted by the return of Edgar Prado

For a listing of all the weekend entries, Click Here.

Those readers planning to attend on Saturday should arrive early to check out the Betting With Andy Beyer seminar which starts at 11AM.

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In the midst of the Queen's Plate excitement, there were a few excellent performances at Woodbine worth noting as some younger horses strutted their stuff.

Inglorious has earned her treats

On Saturday June 25th, a field of 12 well-bred fillies sprinted five furlongs over the polytrack with a Eugene Melnyk homebred, Dene Court, taking the spoils. The Ontario-bred City Zip-Operetta filly led gate-to-wire to hold off Youcan'tcatchme.

Dene Court breaks her maiden at Woodbine

That race featured the debut of the Hard Spun-Brandy Lake filly May Island, who evened out in the late stages; the Street Sense-Leaveminthedust miss Horsehoe Hill who broke in air ending her chances; and the Stevie Wonderboy-Tina Fleet filly Katie Get Excited who had a troubled trip starting slowly, checked on the turn, before putting in a mild rally.

Katie Get Excited one to get excited about?

However, the horse who impressed me most (other than the winner) was Mike Keogh's Pulpit-Floral Beauty filly Pulpation. I stood with Keogh before the race and he advised that the filly was 'kicking the barn down' and that he had to get a race into her.

May Island may win next time out

Unfortunately, she drew the 12-hole in the five furlong sprint which is a tough slot even for experienced horses. Keogh suggested that it was a given the horse would break outward, but that she'd give a good account of herself.

Pulpation's stretch run made up for her poor start

The filly broke well enough and despite racing wide and covering more ground than the rest of the field, she put in a strong rallying effort in the stretch to finish fifth. Not to take anything away from a very good winner in Dene Court, but I'll be adding Pulpation to my watch list.

Dene Court breaks her maiden

On the same Saturday card, Woodbine fans were treated to the debut of Tu Endie Wei, a half-sister to Biofuel, in the My Dear Stakes. The Reade Baker trainee would not disappoint as she rallied powerfully along the outside to make her debut a winning one, in a time of :56.93, just two-fifths of a second off the track record. WEG reports:

It was wide-open affair on paper as 14 fillies went to post. Hope for a Win, the 5-2 choice, blazed out to an early lead through fractions of :20.3 and :44.1, but was swallowed up by Tu Endie Wei, who was ninth early, and Samsal. In deep stretch, the bay continued to dominate in her drawing off score. Runfor Ro came on late to get up for second.

Hope for a Win tired and finished sixth.

“This filly is more than special,” said McAleney. “This (performance) was unbelievable. When I came back and saw the tote board and how quick she’d run, I thought there had to be a mistake. We (including Baker) both believe she’s very, very talented.”

Let's hope we'll see more of this filly at Woodbine as this debut was spectacular. One other My Dear entrant to keep an eye on is Silver Silhouette who finished fifth.

Silver Silhouette, a talented Tapit filly, gets a cuddle

Tu Endie Wei breaks her maiden

How about this quick effort from maiden breaking Speightstown progeny Town Prize?

Finally, a quick word about the four-year-old colt Court of the Realm who notched his first stakes win - - and his fifth consecutive victory - - by taking the King Edward on Saturday. The Peter Berringer trainee was taking on a strong field including last year's winner Grand Adventure, Eclipse Stakes winner Fifty Proof, the favoured Society's Chairman and multiple stakes winner Workin for Hops in an 11-horse field.

Court of the Realm reigns supreme in the King Edward

Under a strong ride from Eurico Rosa da Silva, Court of the Realm moved to meet Fifty Proof at the top of the lane and battled on gamely to win by half a length. The Kentucky-bred Powerscourt-Grand Fan colt is in top form at the moment and even his workouts are winners with a string of bullets on the bottom of the page. The horse is expected to challenge for the Woodbine Mile come September.

Court of the Realm cools off after his 12-1 shocker in the King Edward

Court of the Realm wins the King Edward

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Last, and certainly not least, the LongRun Queen's Plate Saddle Cloth auction is live:

Once again, thanks to the gracious donation from Woodbine Entertainment, our 2011 Queen’s Plate Saddlecloth auction has gone LIVE! You could own a piece of Canadian horse racing history, as these saddlecloths are available only once a year and only through LongRun!

Follow this link for the complete listing of the saddlecloths, all signed by the jockeys! The auction will end on July 4th!!!

Don’t be late – get your bids in now!

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As always, keep track of the latest goings on in the world of horse racing by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page or join in on the conversation by following TripleDeadHeat on Twitter.

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