Each week until opening day of the 2022 Woodbine Thoroughbred meet, a familiar name in the sport will be in the spotlight, answering some fun, offbeat questions, giving readers a unique perspective into their personality.
Justin Stein began his riding career in his native British Columbia in 2004, recording his first career win on August 28 at Hastings Park, and by the next year had become the track’s leading rider with 148 wins. Stein moved to Woodbine full-time in 2006 and finished his first season in Ontario with 109 wins, good for fourth in the jockey standings. In 2012, Stein won the Queen’s Plate with Strait of Dover. Three years later he won the Woodbine Oaks with 66-1 shot Academic, who went on to defeat males with Stein aboard in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands and the Grade 3 B.C. Derby at Hastings. Stein retired in 2016, but the man who has a zest for the great outdoors returned to race-riding at Woodbine in 2019 and has excelled, winning his first Grade 1 with Starship Jubilee in the 2020 Woodbine Mile while finishing atop the Woodbine standings in earnings and second in races won. As of January 1, Stein has 1,287 career wins, including 87 stakes scores.
You get to star on a reality show. Which one is it and why?
“Mantracker, for sure. Well, you’re outdoors, in the bush, in the woods, and I think he would be a good nemesis. He’d definitely be a worthy opponent. I think I could get the better of him. He wouldn’t catch me.”
Design your own jockey silks.
“I would want them to be simple. The colours would be navy blue with either gold or yellow, something like that. I don’t have anything for a symbol. I haven’t gone that far in my mind yet.”
You get to be a Marvel character. Who do you choose?
“We just watched one, Venom. I like those movies. So, I guess I wouldn’t mind being him for a day. I also think the Avengers series is good and so is Justice League. They’re very entertaining. I have a few favourite movies that I’ve watched a lot of times. The Hurt Locker is one. I’ve watched that over and over. I’ve also watched Rush plenty of times as well. That’s a great movie about Formula One. It’s very similar to being a jockey.”
Which racetrack would you like to ride at, one you’ve never been to before?
“That’s a good question. Keeneland would come to mind, and I’ve always wanted to ride at Santa Anita too. I guess because I grew up on the west coast and Santa Anita was the big racetrack, it would be nice to get a chance to ride there. It’s also super pretty too.”
Where would you set up a farm?
“I would go with somewhere in Ontario. I’d find a good location to grow some crops. I’d have horses, dogs, maybe some chickens, a pig and a Highland Cow, maybe a llama. Just look for us [along with his wife, Jenn] in our rubber boots. We’ll be out there in the barnyard.”