Multiple graded stakes-winning trainer Kelsey Danner will have a string of horses stabled at Woodbine for the upcoming Thoroughbred season.

Danner, who is coming off her second straight season of reaching the $2 million mark in purse earnings, has 16 stalls on the Woodbine backstretch.

“I’ve always liked Woodbine and we’ve done pretty well there. Horses who we have raced over the winter at Turfway should like the all-weather, six-furlong type of races at Woodbine. Later in the year, when turf racing starts – I would say 90 per cent of our horses are grass – we can hopefully see them do well too.

“Both turf courses (E.P. Taylor and inner) are lovely.”

A lifetime winner of 169 races, 11 of them stakes, Danner is no stranger to success at the Toronto oval.

Last year, Mohawk Trail, a dark bay daughter of Pioneerof The Nile-Iroquois Girl took a pair of turf stakes, the Alywow on June 25 and the Ontario Colleen (G3T) on July 22.

Owned by NBS Stable, the four-year-old, bred in Florida by Westbury Stables LLC, was ridden to victory in both by Adam Beschizza.

“I thought they were great efforts,” said Danner. “She ran huge. She enjoyed that long stretch run, which definitely suits her.”

“If everything works out as planned, she should be back at Woodbine again this summer. We are looking forward to her four-year-old season. This year, it seems like she wants to go a little farther, so we’ll look at stretching her out a little bit.”

A familiar face will be helping Danner manage the day-to-day operations on the backstretch.

“[Trainer] David Bell will be helping me out there. He’s a friend of mine and he’s obviously very knowledgeable and does a great job with the horses.”

Danner, whose family has been a staple at the racetrack for generations, earned her industry license at 16 working for her father, trainer Mark Danner, and was an exercise rider at Oaklawn Park. At 18, she became his assistant.

Her cousin Doug Danner is a trainer, as were her maternal grandparents. Her maternal grandfather, Harry Holcomb, was a rider before joining the conditioning ranks. Her mother, Kelly Danner, is the longtime manager of racing operations at Churchill Downs.

Kelsey has worked for some of the most recognizable trainers in the sport, including D. Wayne Lukas, Ian Wilkes, and Carl Nafzger. She also spent five years in an assistant role for Wayne Catalano.

After 12 years as an assistant, Danner went out on her own seven years ago. ​

In her first two years, she had 73 starts. Two years after a 19-win 2019 campaign, Danner recorded 36 wins and hit the $1 million mark in purse earnings for the first time.

Danner reached the $2 million plateau in purse earnings for the first time in 2022 and duplicated the feat last year.

This season, she is off to a strong start, having notched 10 wins and over $520,000 in purse earnings to date.

“We have a great team and I have a lot of trust in them,” said Danner, whose top horses also include Danse Macabre, Viburnum, Smokin’ Jay (who contested the 2021 Kennedy Road Stakes (G2) at Woodbine), and Gladys. “We’re excited about racing at Woodbine and hopefully, we can have some success throughout the year.”

The 2024 Woodbine Thoroughbred season starts on April 27 and runs through December 15.