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.
Catherine Day Phillips comes by her profession honestly. Her father, Jim Day, and late mother, Dinny Day, both were thoroughbred trainers and her maternal grandmother, the late Janet Burns, was the founder of Kingfield Farm, which remains the domain of Day Phillips and her husband, Todd Phillips. With her father having been an equestrian gold medalist at the 1968 Olympics, Day Phillips’s initial exposure to horses came with jumpers and she competed in dressage before shifting her attention to the Thoroughbreds in 1994, starting with just four homebreds. Day Phillips saddled her first winner that June. Since then, the stable has expanded and major success stories include A Bit O’ Gold, who was Canada’s horse of the year, champion older horse and champion turf horse in 2005 after landing 3-year-old honours the previous season; Jambalaya, winner of the Grade 1 Arlington Million in 2007 after giving Day Phillips her first Grade 1 score earlier that year in the Gulfstream Park Breeders’ Cup Handicap; and Van Lear Rose, the Sovereign Award 2-year-old filly in 2008. She also campaigned Neshama to 2016 Woodbine Oaks glory. Her excellent 2017 campaign, one that yielded 24 wins from 96 starts, along with $1,257,390 in purse earnings, resulted in Day Phillips being nominated as a Sovereign Award finalist for Canada’s top trainer honour. Dixie Moon (two-year-old filly) and Mr Havercamp (three-year-old male), both bred and owned by the Fitzhenrys, were also on the Sovereign shortlist. As of February 3, Day Phillips has 309 career wins.
Who would you choose to star in the movie version of the Catherine Day Phillips story?
“I recently listened to Kate Beckinsale being interviewed by Howard Stern. I was so impressed with her strength and intelligence. Kate has starred in drama, comedy and action roles, all necessary in portraying the life of a trainer.”
Would you rather go parachuting or swim with sharks? And why?
“Neither. I have swam with sharks twice before, both times were unintentional. A beautiful experience but one that does not need to be repeated! As for skydiving, I bungee jumped in New Zealand. It was a blast, but I do not wish to free fall from a plane, ever.”
Which singer or group are you embarrassed to admit you sing along to?
“My music taste is so varied. I will sing in the car to many different artists, including Kid Rock, Chris Stapleton, John Denver, Barenaked Ladies, Billy Joel, but Walker Hayes’ Fancy Like would be my guilty pleasure.”
You get to spend a day at any racetrack in the world (that you haven’t been to). Which one do you choose and why?
“Ascot, Royal Ascot, absolutely. No explanation required here.”
What is your favourite race on the Woodbine calendar and why?
“I would have to say the Canadian International Stakes. The horses that have run in this race are just so spectacular, horses such as Singspiel, Sky Classic, Joshua Tree, and of course, Secretariat. Over the years, it has been amazing to see the quality of horses, trainers, and jockeys from throughout the world, come to Woodbine to compete in the Canadian International.”
Woodbine Communications – Chris Lomon