TORONTO, November 26, 2017 – Santino Di Paola celebrated his first career training win on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack as D’s Double Eagle provided an exciting finish to the afternoon’s 10-race program.
It was also a maiden-breaking performance for D’s Double Eagle, who was making his 31st career start in the $16,600 purse maiden claiming allowance. Di Paola shares ownership of the homebred six-year-old gelding with his parents Carmen and Raffaela Di Paola’s York Tech Racing Stable.
“It’s a great feeling to win, but it really topped it off when the whole Woodbine community started blowing up my phone,” said Di Paola on Sunday evening. “The first call I got was from Sid Attard right before we took our win photo. He told me he was cheering me on from home.
“It’s a great sport and I am extremely thankful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to follow a lifelong dream of becoming a trainer,” said the 23-year-old, who grew up in Markham and now resides in the Schomberg/King City area. “I have had many older trainers who I look up to help me out right from day one and I couldn’t thank them enough for sharing their experience with me.”
Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson worked out the ground-saving trip amidst a field of 14 that landed D’s Double Eagle and his rookie trainer in the winner’s circle. With a clear path opening off the turn in the seven-furlong sprint, D’s Double Eagle moved off the rail from mid-pack. He gained on the front-runners chasing three-wide in the stretch, eventually getting up in the final strides to score the victory by a head over Lucky B. N. and Discreet Dan. The final time was 1:23.72.
Di Paola earned his first training win in his 70th career start following 13 prior top three finishes.
“I am thrilled that D’s Double Eagle put it all together today,” said the humble horseman, who also praised his team’s hard work and camaraderie. “It’s been a long grind this year. I’ve had six seconds, seven thirds and 16 fourths this year. So many close calls, but never a winner.
“Emma gave ‘Eagle’ such a perfect ride. I am happy to get my first win with her because I have considered her a good friend for many years. We have a good record this year as well: five starts, one win and three seconds.”
Sent postward at odds of 9-1, D’s Double Eagle paid $21.10 to win as the fourth choice on the toteboard.
Click here to watch a replay of the race.