Pink Lloyd, Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year and one of the most successful Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Sale graduates of all time, provided one of Wednesday night’s highlights in a Kenora Stakes thriller as Woodbine hosted six Yearling Sales Stakes, sponsored by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. (OLG), with purse money totaling $750,000.

Trained by Robert Tiller for Entourage Stable, defending champion Pink Lloyd needed every inch of the stretch run to collar stablemate Circle of Friends for a narrow score in the Kenora.

The stakes victory was the first of two on the night for Woodbine’s leading jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who also rode Trini Brewnette, a daughter of Milwaukee Brew, to victory in the Algoma for trainer Kevin Attard and owner Derek A. Chin.

Chin and Attard also watched the Souper Speedy colt Blessed Two circle a field of 10 two-year-olds to win the Simcoe in rein to Gary Boulanger.

Offspring by Souper Speedy swept the two-year-old events as Joey Gee Thoroughbreds homebred filly Speedy Soul captured the Muskoka with apprentice jockey Kazushi Kimura aboard for trainer Andrew Smith.

New champions emerged as English Illusion kicked off the stakes action upsetting last year’s Halton winner Johnny Bear and Kingsport ended Melmich’s three-year reign in the Elgin. The latter was another stakes winner on the night sired by Milwaukee Brew.

The Canadian Millions Sales Stakes annually showcase past Canadian-bred sale graduates on the eve of the CTHS yearling sale. The 2018 Canadian Premier Yearling Sale will be held on Thursday, August 30 at 12 noon in the Woodbine Sales Pavilion.

For full recaps of tonight’s stakes, visit

English Illusion turns the tables on Johnny Bear in Halton

English Illusion kicked off Canadian Millions Sales Stakes Night by upsetting defending champion Johnny Bear in the OLG Halton Stakes presented by Tipperary Equestrian.

A runner-up to Johnny Bear in last year’s 1-1/2 mile turf event, English Illusion prevailed by 1-1/2 lengths in 2:29.72 racing for trainer Sylvain Pion and 4U Thoroughbred Racing Stable Inc. Claimed for $45,000 from his last start on August 5, the five-year-old English Channel-Stormy Illusion gelding provided an immediate return on investment to his new connections taking the lion’s share of the $100,000 purse.

Turning for home, English Illusion fanned out three-wide and struck the front in the stretch with Johnny Bear locked and loaded behind horses. The defending champion eventually found a clear path but had to settle for the runner-up role as English Illusion got the jump on his foes and forged on to victory.

A claim of foul in the stretch on the winner from Johnny Bear’s jockey was disallowed by the judges.

“That’s was amazing! We’ve been waiting for three years to run in a race like that. It was incredible,” said co-owner Dave Robinson, who also praised Pion and Hernandez.

Pink Lloyd up in time in Kenora

Pink Lloyd needed every inch of the stretch run to collar stablemate Circle of Friends for a narrow neck score in Wednesday night’s $100,000 OLG Kenora Stakes, presented by the HBPA of Ontario, at Woodbine.

Trained by Robert Tiller for Entourage Stable, Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year and millionaire son of Old Forester won last year’s six-furlong Kenora and was all out to reel in Circle of Friends.

With Patrick Husbands up, Circle of Friends swept to the lead with a backstretch brush to steal an easy half-mile in :47.15 while leading a compact field of four. Pink Lloyd, last as the field approached the turn, was urged into contention by leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva overtaking The Young Lord and 2016 Kenora champ Jacks Escarpment at the top of the lane.

With Circle of Friends moving comfortably under Husbands it appeared the time was gone and the song was over for Pink Lloyd, but the resurgent chestnut found another gear to secure his 16th win from 19 career starts while stopping the clock in 1:10.75.

Co-owner Frank Di Giulio Jr. looks back fondly on the moment he spotted Pink Lloyd as a yearling.

“He was by Old Forester, who we were fans of, and he was a nice-looking horse. Bob (Tiller) really liked his conformation and he was one of the ones on our list,” said Di Giulio Jr. who owns Pink Lloyd with longtime friends Ed Longo, John Lucato, John Peri and Victor Mele. “Luckily, he stopped at $30,000 and was in our price range and we ended up owning him.”

Di Giulio Jr. wasn’t sure Pink Lloyd was going to get the job done in the Wednesday night thriller.

“Honestly, no,” laughed Di Giulio Jr. “He made up a lot of ground in the last few jumps. Given the fractions, it’s tough to close off those fractions. It just shows how good he is.”

Blessed Two rallies from last to first in Simcoe

Derek A. Chin’s Blessed Two circled a field of 10 two-year-old colts and geldings to win the $175,000 OLG Simcoe Stakes presented by Samuel, Son & Co. Limited., on Wednesday night at Woodbine.

With Gary Boulanger aboard for trainer Kevin Attard, Blessed Two was a distant last early on but got up in time to collar late leader The Newfie Express at the wire in 1:19.99 for 6-1/2 furlongs.

“We were kind of worried. What happened to the horse?” said Chin of watching the Souper Speedy colt gap the field down the backside.

“But I’m in the clouds right now,” he said from the winner’s circle. “Fantastic.”

Bred by Jennifer S. Leuty, Blessed Two is the first foal out of the stakes-placed Bold Executive mare Birsay. He was purchased for $65,000 from last year’s Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Yearling Sale.

Speedy Soul remains perfect with Muskoka score

Speedy Soul, a Joey Gee Thoroughbreds homebred daughter of Souper Speedy, rallied wide down the lane to capture Wednesday night’s $177,400 OLG Muskoka Stakes, presented by Ballycroy Trainer Centre.

Trained by Andrew Smith, Speedy Soul was full of run down the lane to capture the 6 ½-furlong Tapeta sprint for juvenile fillies over a talented group of 14 CTHS Yearling Sale graduates.

Speedy Soul, next to last under apprentice Kazushi Kimura in the early running, took dead aim at the leaders and was not to be denied an impressive four-length win in a swift 1:18.53. Preferred Guest rallied up the rail under Jerome Lermyte to earn place by a head from Silent Mistake.

“This is a very nice filly. I’m very impressed with her,” said Smith. “She’s done everything right all along and I think she’ll improve.”

Speedy Soul banked $105,000 in victory to remain undefeated through two career starts.

Kingsport crowned new Elgin champion

Melmich’s reign in the OLG Elgin Stakes came to an end as Kingsport took the title with a front-end effort in the 2018 edition during Wednesday night’s action-packed program at Woodbine.

Jockey Patrick Husbands sent Kingsport down the road in 1:47.08 to win the 1-1/16 mile sales stakes presented by Ontario Racing/Thoroughbred Improvement Program. The Sid Attard trainee notched his second consecutive stakes victory for owners Goldmart Farms and Royal Laser Racing Inc.

“He’s the type of horse that’s always vice versa — he likes to go long and he likes to go short — but the older he gets, he likes to run at horses,” said Husbands. “Today, he had everything his way and when I got by the half-mile, I set him down and I knew it would take a good horse to beat him from there. I had everything my way and he was just galloping.

“Tonight, the track was a little bit slow, but he was just cantering out there and it’s tough to let a good horse like that get everything his way and then try to catch him. It worked out good and I’m happy. He’s one of my favourite horses of all time. He’s just a lovely animal.”

Trini Brewnette pours it on late to win Algoma

Derek Chin’s Trini Brewnette rallied last to first to capture Wednesday night’s $100,000 OLG Algoma Stakes, presented by Woodbine Entertainment.

Trained by Kevin Attard, the five-year-old daughter of Milwaukee Brew saved her best running for last under leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva to capture the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta route for fillies and mares, three-year-old and upwards.

Trini Brewnette, who captured the South Ocean Stakes as a juvenile, picked up her third career win with the stylish Algoma score.

“She looked good. The groom told me she was working very well. When you get that kind of ride and don’t get into trouble at the top of the stretch, I thought she’d come home,” said Chin.