March 12 was a big day, a ‘souper’ day, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida for  KAREN MCCLEAVE, who won her first race as a Thoroughbred owner with SOUPER COHIBA, trained by Woodbine-based Katerina Vassilieva.

The bay gelding by Super Saver, making his third start of the meeting and fifth start for McCleave since he was claimed for $32,000 last October, won the Florida-bred allowance/optional race at 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta in fast time, speeding the distance in 1:42.33 for a career best 88 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form.

McCleave, for 30 years an Assistant Crown Attorney appearing in Ontario and Superior Courts of Justice, has been a lifelong fan of horse racing, according to her website.



Gold Magic Favoured Thursday

The exciting Canadian/Ontario-bred colt GOLD MAGIC makes his second career start, following a sensational debut win, on Thursday at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.  Owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling and trained by Kevin Attard, Gold Magic and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson won his six-furlong career debut on Feb. 11 by 2 3/4 lengths with a big 87 Beyer Speed Figure. Bred by Saintsbury Farm of Jay and Christine Hayden from Lucan, Gold Magic is 2-to-1 for the seven-furlong, eighth race on the dirt.

Lots of claiming by locals

While numerous Ontario owners and trainers have been regularly winning races this winter, they have also been doing some shopping. Trainer NORM MCKNIGHT claimed two new horses at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Arkansas on March 12 for owner Bruno Schickedanz. McKnight’s 6th win of 2023 came for Schickedanz with Ontario-bred Crystal Crescent, a Tourist filly who won on March 10 and was claimed.

Schickedanz has also been very active in Florida, with several recent claims through trainer Martin Drexler. Drexler is 9 for 47 in 2023. The combo won three races last week including a turf sprint with the nine-year-old Ontario-bred Silent Flash. Drexler has also been claiming horses for TEC Stable of Elliott Logan, who races at Woodbine.

Mighty Heart headed home

Two-time Canadian Horse of the Year MIGHTY HEART is back at Woodbine for owner Larry Cordes following his last-place finish in the Challenge Stakes (G3) on the dirt at Tampa Bay Downs on March. 10.  The six-year-old stallion tracked the early pace while three-wide through the 1 1/16 mile race before fading behind odds-on choice Skippylongstocking.