TORONTO, June 13, 2020 – Stakes action kicked off at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday afternoon with three-year-old colt Newstome winning the $100,000 Woodstock Stakes and Owlette taking the six-furlong companion Star Shoot for fillies.
With Luis Contreras aboard, Newstome made headlines with a commanding victory in the season’s first stakes event for trainer Michael Trombetta and owner Marie Trombetta.
Leaving from the inside, Aye Aye Sir charged out along the rail in the Woodstock with Lookinatamiracle and outsider Untitled looming through a :22.30 first quarter. The outside foes continued to press the pace into the turn and past the :45.14 half-mile mark with Newstome, who had stalked the front-runners early, joining the fray then sprinting away down the stretch for the wide-open win in 1:09.99. He ran off by 5-1/2 lengths, with Untitled chasing in second and Lookinatamiracle edging out Aye Aye Sir for the third-place honours. Striking Moon and Stormy Soul completed the order of finish.
“I got a great trip,” said Contreras afterwards. “He broke running and I was able to save ground and get in the stalk position. In the middle of the turn, I was just loaded with a lot of horse and turning for home, he just ‘go.’”
Newstome and jockey Luis Contreras winning the $100,000 Woodstock Stakes on Saturday, June 13 at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)
Bred in Pennsylvania by Equivine Farm, the grey Goldencents-Newstouse colt, who won a pair of Black Type stakes stateside during a $175,000 juvenile campaign, was making his Woodbine debut and now boasts wins in half of his eight career starts.
In addition to picking up the mount on the stakes winner, Contreras is off to a great start to the season with four other victories so far through the first four race days.
“It’s been a long wait and the most important thing right now is to stay safe, and stay like that for the whole rest of the meet.”
Sent postward as the 5-1 second choice, Newstome paid $13.90 to win.
Clayton and supplement Muchmorethanthis were scratched and entered in Sunday’s ninth race, a $101,200 seven-furlong allowance race.
In the Star Shoot, Owlette set out for the lead from the gate and never looked back, winning her season’s debut for jockey Jerome Lermyte and trainer Wesley Ward.
Owlette clocked panels of :22.13 and :44.12 en route to victory 1:09.55 by 1-3/4 lengths over Sovereign Award champion filly Curlin’s Voyage, who got up for second off a ground-saving trip. Coach Lori finished third after closing outside of Two Sixty, who was used early and stalked the winner throughout.
New York Groove, Tara Dawn, Ima Beast, Cool Shadows and Take Charge Eh completed the order of finish. Gizmo Flash was scratched, with her connections opting to race in a six-furlong dash on Sunday.
Owlette and jockey Jerome Lermyte winning the $100,000 Star Shoot Stakes on Saturday, June 13 at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)
Owlette, who paid $6.50 to win as the slight 2-1 favourite, was successful in her season’s debut after winning the Shady Well and Victorian Queen Stakes last year at Woodbine for owner Ten Broeck Farm. Bred in Ontario by Michael Byrne, she now sports a career record reading 4-2-0 in six starts with $235,000 banked in purse earnings.
The Frac Daddy-Itstartswithadream filly made a great first impression on Lermyte, who picked up the mount as Patrick Husbands stayed aboard Curlin’s Voyage.
“I had the chance to get on her a few times in the morning and I was very confident, and she proved today that she has the ability,” said Lermyte. “The whole trip she kept me confident. When we turned for home, she was still nice and relaxed. I knew I had more – I had another gear – and I was confident the whole way.”
Commenting on Owlette’s ability to stretch out in distance, Lermyte noted that, “She went a mile and sixteenth [last year finishing second in the South Ocean Stakes] and she ran a good race. Wesley puts his horses on point, so you don’t have to worry about anything.”
Owlette and Artie’s Princess, who won a five-furlong allowance race on Opening Day for Lermyte and Ward, are both nominated to the Woodbine Oaks (August 15) and The Queen’s Plate (September 12).
“She [Artie’s Princess] gave me a very nice race. I was very happy with her so that’s two nice fillies,” said Lermyte.
In other action, Woodbine Oaks eligible Avie’s Samurai ($7.90) was an impressive winner in the afternoon’s opener, taking the lead in the turn and winning the $101,200 seven-furlong allowance optional claiming sprint by 4-3/4 lengths in 1:24.14. Contreras was aboard the homebred First Samurai-Avie’s Sense filly for trainer Josie Carroll and owner Ivan Dalos.
The Queen’s Plate nominated Golden Wave won his Woodbine debut with a 1:23.72 effort over seven furlongs in the fourth race, a $123,200 maiden allowance. The Atreides-Tidal Surge colt pressed the pace and turned into the stretch with the lead en route to a two-length victory over Fort Hope for trainer Mike De Paulo and owner Mickey Demers. Justin Stein rode the 13-1 upsetter, who returned $29.30 to win.
Live Thoroughbred racing continues, without spectators, on Sunday afternoon with an 11-race card beginning at 1 p.m.
TORONTO, June 10, 2020 – A pair of key prep races on the road to the Queen’s Plate, the $100,000 Woodstock and the $100,000 Star Shoot, kick off the Woodbine Thoroughbred stakes season this Saturday.
The 122nd edition of the Woodstock, for three-year-olds, and the companion Star Shoot, for three-year-old fillies, share the spotlight on the second weekend of racing at Woodbine.
Both added-money events, to be contested at six panels over the Tapeta track, have attracted notable contenders for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser (first leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara, slated for the August 15 card, which also includes the $150,000 Plate Trial) and the $1 million Queen’s Plate, moved to September 12 after race date changes resulting from COVID-19 pandemic closures.
Kevin Attard, a finalist for Canada’s champion trainer honours in 2019, is represented by Clayton in the Woodstock.
A bay son of Grade 1 champion Bodemeister, Clayton, owned by Donato Lanni, made a sterling debut last November at Woodbine.
The Ontario-bred, listed as the 16-1 eighth choice in the Queen’s Plate Winterbook, overcame a slow start to dominate the five-furlong main track race by 7-1/2 lengths.
“I honestly thought he’d be on the lead from start to finish,” said Attard. “That’s the only thing that surprised me. He broke tardily, but I was happy that happened because he had to sit behind horses, relax and be patient a bit. When he angled out and took off, he won like I thought he would.”
Although the race, at least early on, didn’t unfold as he anticipated, Attard reiterated the point of it being a useful learning experience for the colt.
“It probably did him more of a world of good than it did me watching the race.”
Clayton winning his career debut on November 17, 2019 at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)
After the race, Clayton was given a break and shipped to Florida.
The plan was to keep the horse on track for a date in the Queen’s Plate this June.
When the race was moved to September, it meant a change in Attard’s game plan.
“Him being a Canadian-bred, you definitely have aspirations of being in the Plate. At that point, after his first race, you’re thinking about the race going in June. So, we started him back up in Ocala. Once he had couple of works there, we shipped him up to Gulfstream, and started preparing him for his sophomore campaign. Once everything happened with COVID-19, things were in limbo for a bit. We shipped him back up to Woodbine and our hands were tied with workouts for a bit. Once that was cleared up, we got back at it.”
On June 6, Clayton breezed four furlongs in :48.60, his fourth work at the Toronto oval since May 15.
“He’s come to hand really well, and I’m happy where’s he at,” said Attard. “Rafael [Hernandez] has been on him a couple of times, and now they’re acquainted with one another. He’ll be riding the horse.”
The conditioner is hoping to see Clayton bring the spirit he shows in the barn onto the racetrack once again.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into him before he loads in the gate. He’s not a horse that’s cut and dry. Anyone who works with him definitely earns their paycheque. Those horses, you put that time and effort in, you hope to see the results. And you like to see that competitive fire and spirit. I’m really excited to have him in the barn, and hopefully, he brings us to where we want to be in September.”
Clayton might not be the only one to take on that task.
Malibu Mambo was a debut winner over seven furlongs on Tapeta for Attard in August.
The Stronach Stables homebred stepped up to stakes company in his next engagement, finishing seventh in the Cup and Saucer Stakes on turf, before rebounding nicely in the Coronation Futurity (second) to close out his season in November.
“He just shipped in and he’s doing well,” Attard said of the son of multiple graded stakes winner Point of Entry, and the Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite. “We haven’t had a chance to breeze him yet. We shipped him up from Florida… we had him at Gulfstream for a bit. When I came home, he stayed in south Florida for a little while. But I’m happy to see him here. It won’t be long until we see him.”
Attard’s Plate hopefuls also include the filly Merveilleux.
The bay daughter of Paynter, owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, was vanned off in her career debut last July at Woodbine.
Merveilleux went on to record a win and three runner-up finishes in her four other starts as a two-year-old last season, including a neck defeat in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes and a head loss in the Ontario Lassie Stakes.
“She’s a really nice filly, one of the top Woodbine Oaks contenders right now, I would think. Who’s to say? The Oaks is her main target right now, but she could be a Plate prospect after that race.”
Chiefswood Stable’ homebred Cool Shadows, a three-year-old daughter of Munnings, makes her seasonal debut in the Star Shoot.
Trained by Stuart Simon, the dark bay filly finished third in her debut last September, a six-furlong turf tilt at Woodbine. She followed it up with a pair of wins, including a 13-1 upset in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes in October.
Cool Shadows then finished fifth in her final two-year-old start, the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie Stakes, on December 8.
Cool Shadows winning the 2019 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)
Simon is looking forward to seeing his budding star get her 2020 campaign underway.
“She’s doing really well,” said Simon, who won the 2019 running of the Star Shoot with Sister Peacock, a horse he co-owns with Brent and Russell McLellan. “We had her down in Palm Meadows [Florida] and we were planning on running in her Keeneland. With everything that had happened, we thought it might be better to get home, so we did that.
“It [Star Shoot] might be a tad short for her, but the long-term goal is the Oaks. She’s matured both mentally and physically. Even before she raced, she trained well, and had all the markings of a good filly. We’re happy with the way she’s coming along, and we’re expecting a good year.”
In addition to Cool Shadows, the Star Shoot field includes Oaks eligibles Curlin’s Voyage, Canada’s 2019 Champion two-year-old filly, Owlette and Gizmo Flash.
The 2020 Woodbine stakes program includes $13.8 million in purses across 75 stakes and features the Queen’s Plate and Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (September 19) scheduled on back-to-back weekends for the first time in the racetrack’s history.
Last year, Souper Success, at 16-1, won the Woodstock in a time of 1:09.65, for trainer Mike De Paulo and owner Mickey Demers.
The Woodstock is slated as Race 7 and the Star Shoot goes as Race 8 on Saturday’s 11-race card. First post time is 1 p.m.
Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
FIELD FOR THE $100,000 WOODSTOCK
POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
1 – Aye Aye Sir – Jerome Lermyte – Wesley Ward
2 – Newstome – Luis Contreras – Michael Trombetta
3 – Lookingatamiracle – Leo Salles – Sandra Dominguez
4 – Clayton – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard *
5 – Stormy Soul – Davy Moran – Kelly Callaghan *
6 – Striking Moon – Steven Bahen – Ian Howard
7 – Untitled – Kazushi Kimura – Mark Casse
8 – Muchmorethanthis – Justin Stein – Michael Trombetta
10 – New York Groove – Rafael Hernandez – Michael Trombetta
*Horses nominated to the Queen’s Plate.
TSN and Woodbine Entertainment Partner to Deliver Weekly Dual Breed Horse Racing Broadcasts, Beginning June 11
RACING NIGHT LIVE to air Thursday evenings throughout the summer and leading up to the Canadian Triple Crown on Canada’s Sports Leader
TORONTO, June 3, 2020 –TSN and Woodbine Entertainment announced today they are expanding their successful broadcast partnership to bring Canadians live horse racing every Thursday night throughout the summer with RACING NIGHT LIVE. The action begins Thursday, June 11 at 6 p.m. ET on TSN and features a mix of live Thoroughbred races from Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and Standardbred races from Mohawk Park in Milton, Ont.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Woodbine Entertainment to bring Canadians exclusive access to live, weekly horse racing action,” said Shawn Redmond, Vice-President, TSN and Discovery. “Horse racing fans can enjoy live races throughout the summer in the lead-up to the great sports tradition that is the Canadian Triple Crown, airing live on TSN this fall.”
“It’s exciting to be one of the first live sports events to return to Canadian soil after a long and difficult shutdown for all of us,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. “Working with TSN on RACING NIGHT LIVE will help to open up horse racing to a new generation of Canadian sport fans.”
Woodbine Entertainment will partner with Dome Productions to produce the weekly editions of RACING NIGHT LIVE, hosted by TSN’s Laura Diakun and Woodbine Entertainment’s Jason Portuondo, with Brodie Lawson and Chad Rozema contributing reports from track level.
For the premiere broadcast, TSN’s Brian Williams sits down with Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the horse racing industry and how Woodbine Entertainment will operate live racing to ensure the safety of all participants.
The weekly broadcasts lead up to TSN’s broadcast of all three legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, including the 161st running of the Queen’s Plate, which has been rescheduled for September 12.