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Classy ‘n Smart Stakes: Another vintage effort for Red Cabernet?

September 27, 2019

TORONTO, September 27, 2019 – Just like a fine wine, Red Cabernet, who’ll contest Sunday’s $100,000 Classy ‘n Smart Stakes, at Woodbine, is getting better with age.

A seven-time winner from 24 starts, Red Cabernet, owned by Piano Bar Racing and trained by Ian Black, heads into the 1 1/16-mile main track event for Ontario-sired fillies & mares, three-year-olds and upward, on a two-race win streak.

The five-year-old daughter of Signature Red took the Eternal Search Stakes on August 14, rallying impressively under Emma-Jayne Wilson to win by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile inner turf feature at Woodbine.

“I knew she was okay on the turf, and last year, in the Victoriana (1 1/16-miles miles on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course), she handled the long stretch really well,” said Black, whose top winners include Grade 1 Woodbine Mile victor Rahy’s Attorney, Grade 2 winners Stormy Lord and Excaper, as well as 2007 Queen’s Plate champ Mike Fox. “That was her first time on the inside course, so it was always that question of how she was going to handle it. But she ran a great race.”

Two weeks after the Eternal Search, Red Cabernet was back in the winner’s circle, this time after a 1 ¼-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile main track OLG Algoma Stakes on August 28 at the Toronto oval.

Red Cabernet and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson winning the OLG Algoma Stakes on August 28 at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)

On Sunday, the mare will go after her third straight stakes score in a race that’s drawn five rivals, including last year’s winner, Bear Paw. Rafael Hernandez picks up the mount.

“She (Red Cabernet) certainly has had a good run,” noted Black. “She’s matured now, and she relaxes. Her last two races were excellent.”

After a third and fourth, respectively, to launch her racing career in 2017, Red Cabernet tasted victory in her third start, winning a 6 1/2-furlong race over ‘firm’ going on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

Fifth and then seventh in her first two starts of the 2018 season, the Paul Buttigieg-bred miss went on to win three of her four next starts, including the Victoriana. It was the first added-money crown for Piano Bar Racing.

Prior to her current win streak, Red Cabernet finished fourth in both the Grade 2 Nassau (May) and Zadracarta (June).

Black continues to see the Ontario-bred impress in the mornings and afternoons.

“She’s a lot more relaxed in her training. She goes out there and trains nicely. She’s always held her condition well. She holds her flesh, she eats well, and she always tries. And she likes to fight and get up in there, no question about that.”

Last year, jockey Luis Contreras teamed with Bear Paw to win the race in a time of 1:43.77. Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller has won four editions of the Classy ‘n Smart, including three straight with the special Brass In Pocket, from 2002-04.

The Classy n’ Smart is slated as race three on Sunday’s 11-race card. First post time is 1:05 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via


Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – March of Dreams – Gary Boulanger – Sarah Ritchie

2 – She’s Got Fire – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll

3 – Crumlin Queen – Kazushi Kimura – Michael Doyle

4 – She’s the Berries – Eurico Rosa da Silva – Mark Casse

5 – Bear Paw – David Moran – Ashlee Brnjas

6 – Red Cabernet – Rafael Hernandez – Ian Black

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