Three-year-old fillies and three-year-old males will compete in the opening weekend stakes races at Woodbine April 27 and 28 and both sprint dashes should be good ones.

With the exciting Ontario-bred C C ROYAL (Flatter) now at Woodbine with trainer Mark Casse for Lori and Davi Hughes’ Mens Grille Racing, the opening day Star Shoot Stakes for fillies might be a loaded dash. Multiple stakes winners MYSTIC LAKE, trained by Saffie Joseph and NICE AS PIE, both from the U.S., are nominated but also could await the longer Ruling Angel Stakes next month.

Nice As Pie is four-for-four this year for trainer Kelsey Danner who is still hoping to send horses to race at Woodbine although the stable is reportedly having trouble getting its barn staff to Ontario.

The Woodstock Stakes on April 28 has just 12 nominees but one of them is King’s Plate hopeful NAPTOWN, who is owned by Madaket Stables and Robert LaPenta and trained by Graham Motion.

Canada’s top two-year-old colt of last year, MY BOY PRINCE, rated number 1 on the Canadian Thoroughbred King’s Plate contenders list, is being pointed to the KING CORRIE STAKES on May 19. The Cairo Prince colt made his season debut in the Palisades Stakes two weekends ago at Keeneland was beaten just 3 1/4 lengths in an eighth place finish in the 5 1/2 furlong dash.

Hall of Fame trainer ROGER ATTFIELD unleashed a nice one last weekend at Keeneland. READY FOR SHIRL, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner SHIRL’S SPEIGHT, came from last place to win a maiden special weight turf race with a 77 Beyer Figure. The impressive effort for the white-faced filly also paid her backers handsomely as she was 7-to-1. Ready for Shirl is a Kentucky-bred for Charles Fipke.

Surely you know the Shirl family. It was NOEL HICKEY’S homebred LADY SHIRL (That’s a Nice – Canonization by Native Heritage) who started this incredible bloodline for Vancouver’s Fipke.

Lady Shirl, an Illinois-bred, had a champion’s racing career with 18 wins in 41 starters, over $950,000 and she won the Grade 1 Flower Bowl and the Grade 2 E.P. Taylor (at Woodbine) plus eight other stakes races.

Lady Shirl was already 18 years old when Fipke purchased her at auction for $485,000 but by then she had produced Grade 1 winner Shakeapeare. For Fipke she produced Breeders’ Cup Filly & more Turf winner Perfect Shirl (dam of Shirl’s Speight and Ready for Shirl. etc.) and graded stakes winner Lady Shakespeare. Lady Shirl is a designated Reine-de-Course mare.