Ontario bred filly MUCHACHA stormed down the centre of the Churchill Downs track, just one week after Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby (G1) on the same strip, to win her maiden May 8 for owner, trainer and co-breeder Barbara Minshall of Mississauga.
The chestnut 4-year-old Muchacha is a daughter of Country Day – Dixie’s Sandals by Dixieland Band and she was making her first start in the $50,000 maiden claiming race since last summer at Woodbine when she was third in a pair of maiden allowance races. The filly won by a clear 3 1/4 lengths at 6 furlongs in 1:10 2/5 under Declan Carroll and collected more than $23,000 (US) for the win.
Dixie’s Sandals, a 2-time winner, has produced three other foals of racing age and all are winners: Bella’s Ballerina, Courtly Manner and Threefiftyseven. Bruce Lunsford is a co-breeder of Muchacha.
Minshall was one of several Canadian horsepeople/horses who did well in races in the US on May 9 as Woodbine’s 2021 meeting continues to be on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chiefswood Stables’ 3-year-old Ontario-bred filly THIRD DRAFT, trained by Shug McGaughey, won her maiden by a neck at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Belmont in 1:42 1/5, a 77 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form. The Curlin – Original Script by Malibu Moon grey was making her fifth career start and she is a half-sister to Champion 2-year-old filly Bold Script.
Newtop Stables and trainer Norm McKnight had a big winner at Churchill with FAY DAN, a son of Curlin, who won a $30,000 maiden claiming race by 5 1/2 lengths in 1:36.
Ivan Dalos’ Ontario-bred AVIE’S SAMURAI, trained by Josie Carroll, ran a huge race in a tough allowance/optional claiming dash at Churchill Downs, her first race since November. It was the dirt debut for Avie’s Samurai and she pressed the pace throughout the seven furlongs, led late and then was edged late, missing by a neck in her third-place finish in 1:22 3/5, earning an 81 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form. The 4-year-old filly was stakes-placed twice last year at Woodbine.
Carroll has sent Breeders’ Stakes winner BELICHICK to Churchill Downs where he competes in a $100,000 allowance race on turf on May 13.
Trainers DENYSE MCCLACHRIE, COLE BENNETT and ROGER ATTFIELD are among others who have horses racing in the US currently. McClachrie recently shipped nine horses from Woodbine to Arlington Park to race.
Woodbine has hosted a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic for several days, through to May 10, that has been very successful in getting thousands vaccinated in the community as well as members of the backstretch.
Woodbine issued a notice to horsepeople on May 8 that it is considering making the vaccine, at least the first dose, mandatory to enter the backstretch. The first dose would have to be received by May 31 if it goes forward with the mandatory ruling.