The Woodbine Track Maintenance team worked all night Saturday Dec. 14 to groom and prepare the Tapeta surface for racing today, the final day of the 2019 meeting.
The weather this week in southern Ontario has been testing with sub-zero temps last week which led to a cancellation of 5 races Wednesday.
Saturday, a pile of wet snow in milder temperatures landed on the track through the first few races, balling up under horse’s feet and essentially making it unsafe to race the horses or for jockeys to ride them. The card was cancelled after VANZZY led all the way to win the Display Stakes for owner Dan Ryan’s Smart Angle LLP and trainer Michael Pino. Patrick Husbands rode.
In race 2, the juvenile filly Foxy power was vanned off.
All signs say today’s 16-race marathon card should be able to get completed as the weather should hold, although temperatures are expected to drop.
Of course the featured race, the Grade 3 Valedictory, an interesting field of good invaders trying to topper big favourite PUMPKIN RUMBLE will also centre on Eurico Rosa da Silva, who is retiring after the races today. His last scheduled mount is MIRIAM’S SKY in race 15 for trainer Martin Drexler and Da Silva has ridden a ton of winners for that stable today.
Another big storyline today is the pursuit of 2,000 career wins by ROBERT TILLER, Hall of Fame trainer, who has a number of entrants today and with some luck, might just get the 2 more wins he needs to hit that incredible mark.
Tiller has horses in races 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 with the horses in races 3 and race 12 having the best chance to win it appears.
The trainer and rider titles are in the books with Da Silva romping as top jock and Norm McKnight getting his second straight training title.
At the outset of the season, Thoroughblog/Canadian Thoroughbred passed on statistics on how many trainers/barns were winning races. There were wins by a litany of conditioners as the money seemed to get spread around a lot this year.
Today, there are over 80 local trainers represented by a starter on the card.
More than 225 separate ownership listings of horses won at least 2 races this season while over 60 ownerships won 4 races or more.
Bettors have lots of chances to make some Christmas money today with three Pick 4 wagers, a pair of Pick 5s,mandatory payouts in the Pick 6 and High5 in the last race.