FASTEST WINNING BEYER FIGURES IN CANADA JUNE 22- 27
(will be updated when June 28 is available from Daily Racing Form)
96 PINK LLOYD
92 REAL MONEY (turf)
88- DEUCES ARE WILD (dirt, CM) Track record 5 1/2 furlongs 1:02.21
87 ELIZABETH WAY – (turf)
83 LADY GRACE ( turf)
82 SALTINI (turf)
82 NEVAEH’S VALENTINE
80 SPEEDY HANS
The month of June is coming to a close (!!), the first month of the delayed 2020 Woodbine Thoroughbred season. The Queen’s Plate was supposed to be June 27 so while racing is thankfully underway in most Canadian jurisdictions, there is still a lot missing. Owners and fans are not yet permitted at Canadian tracks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada celebrates its 153rd birthday July 1 and the next Woodbine card is July 2.
So last week started off with a bang as Pink Lloyd won the Grade 3 Jacques Cartier for a fourth straight year (see recap on June 25 post).
Just one additional stakes race this week and that was the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes at 1 mile on the turf for fillies and mares, a race by-passed by turf female champ Starship Jubilee.
It was the beautifully-bred ELIZABETH WAY who came in from Florida to post a mild upset.
Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson worked out the winning trip in the one-mile fillies and mares turf event for Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield and owner John McCormack.
Elizabeth Way was led along by pacesetter Another Time through a quarter in :24.41, half-mile in :46.92 and three-quarters in 1:09.61 before digging in down the stretch and getting up to collar the front-runner at the wire in 1:33.26, good for an 87 Beyer Figure.
Sent postward as the 5-1 fourth choice, Elizabeth Way returned $13.30 to her backers. Favourite Malakeh followed the winner’s cover and rallied home for third-place while Amalfi Coast closed from the backfield to finish fourth. Nantucket Red and Eyeinthesky completed the field. Lunar Garden was scratched.
A four-year-old Godolphin-bred daughter of Frankel out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Maids Causeway, Elizabeth Way started her career in Ireland and ventured to Woodbine after making four starts in the U.S. earlier this year under Attfield’s care. Following a maiden-breaking score when trying 1-1/16 miles on the turf at Gulfstream Park, she won the Grade 3 Very One Stakes next time out in late-February over 1-3/16 miles. Today’s victory was her third in 10 career starts and boosted her bankroll well over the $200,000 mark.
A confident Wilson, who studied replays and spoke with the chestnut filly’s trainer to determine the winning strategy, said she knew Elizabeth Way had a chance to catch the front-runner and was happy to have another horse lead her along throughout the race.
“Her form is all over the place – one minute she’s on the lead, one minute she’s at the back of the bus. Watching the replays gave me a real understanding as to what she needed to do,” said Wilson. “It was really about getting her into a good rhythm and that’s what Roger and I talked about as well. I got her out of the gate… and just got her happy into a rhythm and, you could see, she just galloped them down and she just kept on. She’s a stayer.”
The Nassau is the first leg of Woodbine’s Ladies of the Lawn Series, which offers $75,000 in bonuses to the top performers based on points accumulated in the designated graded turf routes for fillies and mares (10 points for 1st, seven points for 2nd, five points for 3rd, three points for 4th, two points for 5th, one point for 6th through last).
The second leg of the series is the $175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (Grade 2) on August 15 followed by the $250,000 Canadian Stakes (Grade 2) on September 12 and the $600,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (Grade 1) on October 18.
MIRIAM’S SKY topped the tote as the longest shot on the board in a 6-horse field in race 1 on Friday, suddenly coming to life with the stretch out to 1 1/16 miles. The Sky Conqueror fellow, with the red-hot Justin Stein on board, won the $7,000 claiming race for Charles Buscagalia and trainer Mike DePaulo.
Jockey Stein came right back to win the second race on NANA SAV, an Old Forester – Wistla filly bred by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds and owned by Steven Duffield. Ricky Griffith trains this filly who won her maiden with a close to the pace effort.
A really nice story comes out of race 3 and it will be explored later this week. EZME’SGIRL led all the way to win her maiden for $9,500 claiming for owners Big Willow Stables (Robert Craig) and Chris Atkinson. Trained by Michelle Love, this was the first winner at Woodbine for apprentice Nikki Alderson.
The winner is a badge of Silver filly who has been a special project for Love, her team and Alderson.
Race 4 – EMBRACE MY UNCLE won his maiden for Martha Gonzalez and Lou Tucci, trainer Nick Gonzalez and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson. It was a rough race as several horses had traffic trouble and other woes but the winner was not the cause of any of the rough stuff. Embrace My Uncle is out of a mare whose full brother Midnight Aria won the Queen’s Plate. This was a $25,000 maiden claiming race.
The shuffle job, when a horse is in good position but a wave of slowing horses causes the runner to lose a lot of ground, was a problem for many horses on the weekend.
One of those was Lucky Street, the 2 to 1 favourite in race 5, who had to regroup in his race but by then MIA’S EXTORTIONIST was long gone and he at 5 to 1 for Mike McDonald and jockey Steve Bahen.
Jim Smith kicked off a good couple of days when he sent out his MATA HARRY to win race 6, a maiden claiming dash and Sunny Singh was the winning rider.
LADY GRACE won race 7 for trainer Mark Casse’s team at Woodbine. It was an allowance/optional claiming on the turf at 6 furlngs and she sped the distance in 1:08.36. Tracy Farmer owns Lady Grace, a daughter of Kantharos.
With Hastings Racecourse still yet to open and Alberta racing having just started, there are quite a few western Canadian trainers at Woodbine currently. Hastings’ leading trainer of 2019 PHIL HALL started off his Woodbine season with a bang as his first starter won, SALTINI, in race 1 Saturday. The Bernardini 7-year-old was a super 5 to 1 in the turf sprint and ridden well by Keveh Nicholls to stay poised behind the hot pace duel. Saltini won by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:08.62 for an 82 Beyer Figure.
Race 2 – TAKE IT EASY worked four furlongs in a screaming 45 seconds and change a few weeks ago and sizzled to a win in her opener at 5 furlongs on the turf. This was a $15,000 claiming race and she was the 5th winner for trainer Vito Armata. Alpine Stakes owns and Emma-Jayne Wilson rode.
Another short race at 5 1/2 furlongs, this time on the Tapeta, was race 3 and FINDING PERFECTION was a smart winner at a fat 7 to 1 for Larry Johnson and RDM Racing.
Darren Glennon took over a number of horses sent north by Michael Trombetta including this gal, who lost her rider in her first scheduled run on June 14. Rafael Hernandez was the winning rider for this $25,000 claiming race.
Trainer Ian Black got his first win of the season with the promising filly OLD SECRETS, who took race 4, yet another short race on the grass. This is an Old Forester filly who was making her second start and she is a homebred for Brian Patterson and Kathy Biers. Gary Boulanger rode.
Live Oak Stud’s homebred 2-year-old filly SWEET SOUPER SWEET led all the way to win her debut at 5 furlongs in Race 5 as the favourite. This one is trained by Michael Trombetta and is a First Samurai filly ridden by Patrick Husbands.
Easily the most impressive 2-year-old winner of the young meeting was BOARDROOM’S overland rally in Race 6 for LNJ Foxwoods and trainer Josie Carroll. This Commissioner filly out of the Rahy mare Money Madness, had worked 2 furlongs in 20 1/5 last spring and was bought for $425,000. She was given all kinds of time to grow into her sizy frame.
Her start from the gate was not great but she put in a sustained, wide rally to win by almost 3 lengths with a good 75 Beyer Figure for a time of 1:03.48 for 5 1/2 furlongs.
Race 7 was won by the 8-year-old NEVAEH’S VALENTINE, who almost always wins his first start of the year. He was well prepared by trainer Ross Armat and well ridden by Daisuke Fukoto to win to win from just off the pace at 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.71. The GiantGizmo guy was bred by Anthony Luciano and is owned by BEQIRI PROFESSIONAL CORP.
HAI BOBBI sped home o the rail to win race 9 for Breeze Easy and trainer Norm McKnight. This was a 6 furlong main track race for $40,000 claiming. Rafael Hernandez nothces another winner.
And the trip handicapping horse of the week, LIVIN IN THE SIX (she got into a world of trouble first time out) powered away as the 3 to 1 favourite to win her maiden on the turf at 6 furlongs in 1:08.46 for Rob Marzilli and trainer Mike DePaulo.
SUNDAY and lots of sprints on sod
A full 10-race menu of sprints, mostly on the grass, was up for fans on Sunday and a popular 10-year-old horse just about set a course record.
CONSTANTINO, owned by Dave Rowbotham and partners and trained by Martin Drexler, won race 7 at 5 furlongs on turf in 55.81, just missing the mark of 55.62. Constantino was making his season debut in the $15,000 claiming dash and Rafael Hernandez rode.
Also from Sunday, trainer Steven Chircop has a nice turf sprinter in the barn in SWEET YARE N DIRA who won a 5 furlong dash in 56.47 for $25,00 claiming. JDLP Holdings also owns.
CAPTAIN VINNIE won his maiden at 5 to 1 by sticking out his neck to beat Kilkenny Prospect in race 2 for $14,000 claiming. Tucci Holdings owns and this was the first winner of the season for Jamie Attard.
TRUBELIEVE barged his way through rivals to win his 3-year-old debut in an optional claiming race at 6 furlongs on the tapeta, race 3. The Ontario-bred by Nephrite is owned by Centennial Farms Niagara and trained by Cole Bennett.
FOUR ACES HIGH got back to a grass sprint and led all the way to win race 5 at 6 furlongs in 1:08.73. This is an Old Forester 4-year-old owned by Christine Webeer Godelie, trained by Jim Smith and bred by Robert Dabdou and Northern Dawn Stable.
The longest shot of the day that won was the 2-year-old GOSPEL WAY, trained by Nathan Squires for owner/breeder William Thompson. This is a gelding from the first crop of Grade 1 winner Brody’s Cause and the first winner for that sire. The Virginia-bred juvenile was ridden by Emile Ramsammy and they scored at 24 to 1.
SPEEDY HANS was a surprising winner of race 6, a maiden allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track. This Constitution gelding was a rare claim by Gary Barber in Florida but he had not shown much. On tapeta he zipped to the lead into the stretch and won by 1 1/4 lengths at 9 to 1 in the good time of 1:03.99.
Race 8 was won by PRINCESS FABIANA who has won both of her starts this year, one on grass and one on the tapeta. Owned and bred by Terra Racing, this grey gal took a bit of sting out of the modest run by their top filly Amalfi Coast on Saturday in the Nassau Stakes.
Race 9, another win for the Casse team as the short distance specialist WESTERN TAFFY won this 5 furlong turf dash as the favourite over Betwisting, who had a wide trip.
And race 10 was a maiden race for $40,000 claiming won by RISETOTHECHALLENGE, a Secret Circle gelding owned by TEC Racing and Martin Drexler, who also trains.