First-time starter SHAMANS GIRL (Shaman Ghost – Ginger Brew by Milwaukee Brew) roared past five rivals in late stretch to win the $150,000 Shady Well Stakes for Ontario-bred or -sired two-year-olds fillies at Woodbine on Saturday, December 2. It was an exciting time for trainer HAROLD LADOUCEUR and assistant and wife JESSIE who train the filly for the notable STRONACH STABLES, which had sent them a couple of horses to train this year.
Shamans Girl, ridden by Ryan Munger, was outrun early in the 6 furlong sprint on Tapeta, some eight lengths behind a quick pace set by favoured Onella, who broke a few steps slowly and then rushed up the rail, and Master Aragorn. Those gals went far too fast in a duel, 22.27 for the first two furlongs, and then Onella, still under a hard ride, opened up a clear lead into the stretch, flying through half a mile in 45.70.
When Onella began to fade, Vandoo and Little Teddy moved to the lead, but Shamans Girl had caught up and despite racing greenly on the wrong lead, she rallied past everyone at 23-to-1, stopping the clock in 1:11.63. Vandoo, a daughter of Souper Speedy owned by the new Canuck Racing Club, was second and York Tech Racing’s Little Teddy, by Frac Daddy, was third.
The winning Beyer Figure was 72.
It was the first stakes win for Stronach Stables since Feb. 2022 when Green Light Go won the Stymie Stakes at Aqueduct.
Ryan Munger remarked post-race, “She’s a quality, quality filly, but she is still very green,” said the South African-born rider of the Stronach Stables homebred. “I thought there are a lot of experienced fillies that are probably going to go speed, these two-year-olds that can go very good in the beginning. I just followed them around and at about the three-eighths pole, she just started to pick them off one by one, and I angled her clear, and she was a pretty simple ride from there. She is just a quality, classy filly, and she behaved like that today. Quality seemed to prevail here, and she’s won a good race.”
Ladouceur, who trained 2014 graded stakes winner Paladin Bay, was winning his fourth race of 2023 and he is nine wins shy of 100 career victories.
Shamans Girl is a daughter of Woodbine Oaks winner GINGER BREW, who also won the Calder Oaks, Jammed Lovely and Belle Mahone Stakes and was the 2008 Champion three-year-old filly in Canada. From eight named foals, Ginger Brew has produced six winners including stakes-placed Friends for Life, Jamyson ‘n Ginger and multiple winner Lady Brew.
Shaman Ghost, winner of the Queen’s Plate and Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, among other races, has four stakes winners from three crops of racing age.
FRAC DANCER won the Clarendon Stakes, also worth $150,000, for two-year-olds, Ontario-bred or -sired on Saturday. The grey son of Frac Daddy – Dancing On Fire by Philanthropist, with Sahin Civaci was also in the speed duel, coming off a front-running debut winner on Oct. 15 when he earned a 70 Beyer Figure. In the Clarendon, he was two wide battling Competitive Touch, edged clear into the stretch and then lasted to win by a neck over favoured Midnight Mascot. Gun Court was 4 1/2 lengths back in third. The time of 1:10.96 was good for an 82 Beyer Figure.
Owned and bred by Phoenix Racing and trained by Mike DePaulo, Frac Dancer is from Rainbow Connection Stakes winner Dancing on Fire, a very fast Philanthropist mare who was bred by Denny Andrews. Dancing on Fire is out of Fiery Pegasus, a half-sister to $3 million earner Caller One and stakes winners Unbridled Sidney and Prospect Bay.
Frac Dancer is the third named foal and first to race for Dancing on Fire. FRAC DADDY has had a big year, in particular with his two-year-olds. The son of Scat Daddy has sired stakes winner No More Options and stakes-placed Brave Dancer, Siesta Beach and Little Teddy in addition to Frac Dancer.