TOP WINNING BEYER FIGURES IN CANADA June 29-July 5
93 CHUCK WILLIS
91 SALIERI (turf)
88 SHIRL’S SPEIGHT
87 CURLIN’S VOYAGE
84 DRINK IN MY HAND
83 ESKIMINZIN (turf)
83 STRATEGIC VISION (Fort erie, dirt)
82 ABOVE ALL NAMES (turf)
81 HALO AGAIN
80 IMA BEAST
Scorching heat continues (and will throughout this coming week) and at Woodbine, the Tapeta surface has been quite slow while the grass courses are sizzling hot. The weekend races were superb as fans got good looks at the main contenders for the Queen’s Plate and Woodbine Oaks in a pair of stakes races. Halo Again, the US-based colt, came back to town a winner and the fillies, who just might be better than the boys, were in action Sunday.
Champion 2-year-old filly of 2019 CURLIN’S VOYAGE and runner-up for the Sovereign Award INFINITE PATIENCE had their first meeting in the Fury Stakes at 7 furlongs. The latter, unbeaten in British Columbia for owner/breeder William DeCoursey and Ryan Nugent Hopkins, had never tested Tapeta before and was coming off a long layoff while Curlin’s Voyage had been second in the Star Shoot Stakes at 6 furlongs.
As this was reportedly the last race before the Oaks for Curlin’s Voyage (Oaks in Aug. 15), a big effort was going to be needed.
And she delivered.
Floated very wide along with stablemate Avie’s Samurai off the turn for home, John Sikura and the Windsor Boys’ filly, trained by Josie Carroll, plugged away behind Infinite Patience and 65-to-1 shot Justleaveitalone and was up to win by a short head over the latter, a filly who has yet to win her first race.
“Going down the back, it was a lot of ‘cat and mouse’ game,” said Husbands, who has won five previous editions of the Fury – all with Mark Casse trainees – including last year’s race with Speedy Soul.
“About the three-eighths pole, I had enough of this, I just had to get in gear and get the job done.”
Sent postward as the 6-5 favourite, the winner returned $4.60.
“To me, she’s a better filly going two turns and we look forward to her next race,” said the Triple Crown-winning jockey.
Curlin’s Voyage’s ownership group includes hockey player and coach Joel Quenneville while infinte Patience is co-owned by Edmonton Oilers’ Nugent Hopkins.
The race did receive a solid 87 Beyer Speed Figure.
So what to make of JUSTLEAVEITALONE, a filly who cost $6,000 at auction and then was bought privately by Ron Paolucci (Loooch Racing) from Nick Gonzalez?
The Creative Cause gal out of the unraced Oval Cut (dam of local winners Flight Deck among others) battled Infinite Patience all the way and would not give up. She was adding blinkers and and returning to the site of her first career race for Gonzalez, the My Dear Stakes, where she finished a good second to Fast Scene. A series of races on the grass had mess up her form but she looks like a nice prospect. John Mattine trains.
Oval Cut, by the way, is a daughter of Radiant Ring and a half-sister to Oaks winner Catch the Ring.
More Sunday: Trainer Bancroft DeSouza won his first race of the year and first Woodbine race since 2018 when I’M A GINGER won race 1 for Howard Keen. The New York-bred gal won by almost 5 lengths in the maiden claiming contest.
Gabe Grossberg’s homebred OUR ZUMA won race 2 and some $11,000 in purse money, taking the $7,500 claiming race despite being hung out wide in the 7 furlong race and going very fast on the pace. Nick Gonzalez trains the son of Artie Schiller.
The young Ontario stallion RELOAD is on a roll. He has sired 2 winners now from only a few starters and on Sunday the Alberta-bred ALL CANADIAN sped to his debut win for John Menary and trainer Gail Cox.
Purchased for $35,000 at the Canadian Premier’s Yearling sale and bred by Highfield Stock Farm and Curtis Landry, this guy was a personal favourite at the annual Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms yearling show last summer. From the nice mare Eustacia, this colt had all the looks:
He obviously has talent, too, as he overcame post 1 and won his maiden by 2 lengths under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson at 3 to 1, even though he was 4 to 5 at some point in the betting.
ALL CANADIAN is a popular name in Canadian racing. One of the first famous ones was E P Taylor’s All Canadian, born in 1957 and the only top horse produced from Canadian Horse of the Year CANADIANA. All Canadian won the Plate Trial (he did not run in the Plate because a stablemate named Victoria Park was going to be too tough) and won a total of 30 races from 163 starts.
In 1989, Frank Stronach’s ALL CANADIAN won the Valedictory Stakes at 1 3/4 miles and that son of Alleged was originally a $775,000 yearling.
Gary Barber and John Oxley watched their $25,000 claiming fellow Conquistador win race 5 and then Oxley and Gabe Grossberg’s well-bred 4-year-old UNILATERAL ran like Silky Sullivan to win his maiden in the next race. Unilateral, by Curlin, is out of Mekong Delta and was bred by Josham Farms.
BC’s Bernie Kooner celebrated a win with ABOVE ALL NAMES (Skipshot) who was well prepared by trainer Dale Desruisseaux to win this $62,500 claiming race for fillies and mares on the grass.
Nine-year-old DRINK IN MY HAND continues to amaze. He won race 8, a starter optional race for Carmen, Joshua and Tino Attard and for such an old guy, that was just his 39th start. It was his 10th win.
The last race was a lovely maiden allowance for fillies on the grass and the overlooked AFLEET KATHERINE (Afleet Alex), who had exceptional workouts and lots of grass breeding, won at 29 to 1 for Terra Racing, which already has a bunch of wins this season after a tough 2019. Kevin Attard trains.
HALO AGAIN’s 81 Beyer Figure and workmanlike score in the 7 furlong Queenston Stakes on Saturday kept him as the #1 Queen’s Plate contender on Canadian Thoroughbred’s list. The big colt with the high-striding action will be better as the races get longer.
The recaps of the stakes are here on CT.
The buzz of the day was the debut win by Charles Fipke’s Kentucky bred colt SHIRL’S SPEIGHT, who almost set a course record on the turf when he won the last race and earned an 88 Beyer Speed Figure. He is a Speightstown bay out of Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Perfect Shirl.
More from Saturday:
It was a tough week for many horses and their horsepeople as several horses had fatal incidents during racing and several more in the mornings.
Then you had the debuting 2-year-old filly for owner and breeder Franco Meli, NERO DAVOLA in race 1 Saturday who was on her way to a big win before she drifted inwards, brushed the rail and scared herself. She tried to jump the rail and jockey Sahin Civaci was tossed over the rail onto concrete that lines the inner turf. Both horse and rider were, incredibly, okay. Inheriting the win was the Silent Name filly SILENT MAMBA, the first of 2 winners on the day for Jessie Ladouceur and trainer Harold Ladouceur.
Keowee Racing’s CHEEKY PINT won her maiden on the inner turf in race 2, nicely prepared for her season debut by trainer Don MacRae. The $15,000 Kentucky yearling purchase is by Society’s Chairman from Kipling’s Joy by Kipling and was one of 5 winners for Rafael Hernandez on the day.
The Ladouceur team were back in race 3 as IMA BEAST went gate-to-wire on the lead at 39 to 1, surprising two well-bet fillies from the Mark Casse barn in the allowance/optional claiming race. Owned by Jocelyn McKathan, the filly by The Big Beast did not have a good season debut but turned things around in this dash.
What a claim by Anthony Russo and trainer Pat Parente as they took BEXAR for $7,500 when he arrived for a race opening weekend for Wesley Ward. The Daredevil gelding was beaten as the big favourite that day but moved to the grass here and he led all the way and won a $25,000 winner’s share of this $40,000 claiming race.
Jecara Farms’ ESKIMINZIN, trained by Carlos Grant, won his season debut in race 6, an allowance event at 7 1/2 furlongs. He just about set a course record with his win in 1:28.46 and he defeated a good field under jockey Daryl Holland. The Cold Harbor 5-year-old, a stakes winner, was not the only score for the Jecara/Grant team on the weekend. They sent out MOKSGMOL to a very surprising gate-to-wire win on the turf on Sunday, her first race of the year and first win in a couple of season.
Riding Moksgmol was Sheena Ryan, who is back from a brief retirement from the saddle.
The Irish-bred 4-year-old CHUCK WILLIS is now 2 for 2 for Tracy farmer and trainer Mark Casse as he won another Tapeta sprint on Saturday with a 93 Beyer Speed Figure. This 4-year-old by Kodiac won by 4 lengths in this 6 1/2 furlong allowance/optional claiming race under Kazushi Kimura.
Unfortunately, Chuck Willis pulled up “in distress” and was vanned off.
LA PAQUITA, dropping in class to $25,000 and meeting fellow 3-year-old fillies, led from start to finish through 6 1/2 furlongs to win as favourite for Nick Harris and trainer Catherine Day Phillips. This is an Iowa-bred filly by Revolutionary and Emma-Jayne Wilson rode.
Race 2 was the second win at the meeting for the Orb filly NOT ORBINARY, who won this $9,500 claiming race on inner turf for Newtop Stables and trainer Norm McKnight. Kazushi Kiumra rode.
Race 3 – Mark and Tina Casse’s BLOCKBUSTER, originally owned by John Oxley, crushed $15,000 claimers at 1 1/16 miles on the main track under Patrick Husbands. This is a Medaglia D’Oro colt who was bought by Oxley for $450,000 at a Florida 2-year-old sale in 2018.
In race 4 HEART RUSH, owned by Brandon Brako Stable, won her season opener in a 5 furlong inner turf dash under Rafael Hernandez. Trained by Martin Drexler, this is a Bellamy Road filly that sped the distance in 56.57 and she was not claimed for $7,500.
Race 5 – RED QUEEN’S COURT finally made it ‘official’. This 4-year-old Ontario-bred by Court Vision won her career debut last season only to be disqualified. She finished second June 14 in her 2020 opener and then held on to win her maiden for $25,000 claiming Friday for owner/trainer and breeder Paul Buttigieg. Justin Stein rode.
LOOKINATAMIRACLE won race 6 for owner Ramon Dominguez and trainer Sandra Dominguez, picking up $40,500 for this allowance score. This Kentucky-bred by Lookin at Lucky was bought for $12,000 (US) last summer in Florida and he is 2 for 5 now with over $81,000 in earnings. Leo Salles guided this dark bay to a three-quarter length win from off the pace.
Race 7 was drama-filled and just one of a few races during the week where horses showed a tendency to veer in through the stretch. DR. GREEN, a homebred for the late Gus Schickedanz, trained by Mike Keogh was on his way to a big win in this 1 1/16 mile inner turf race (he scored by almost 6 lengths) but began to drift inwards in early stretch.
Just before he came in, #9 Kuduro, ridden hard for the entire 1 1/16 miles and part of a wild pace battle, checked hard when Love Of Mine shifted in. Also #2 Matinee had to steady but re-rallied to get second by a nose.
Matinee was given the win as Dr. Green with jockey Jerome Lermyte was disqualified. Matinee, owned and co-bred by Chris and John Harris, is an Ontario-bred by Old Forester trained by Rachel Halden.
Lermyte got a win back when he brought WAVE WARNING from far back to win race 8, a $10,000 claiming race for maidens. This bay colt by Noble Mission has had an interesting life; he was bought back in 2017 from a Tattersalls yearling sale ($97,000 US), raced with famed French trainer Andre Fabre, then ended up in British Columbia for a race last summer. He was dropping from a maiden allowance for this 2nd outing at Woodbine for owner Georg Morgan and trainer Darwin Banach.