TORONTO, December 8, 20222 – The $100,000 Steady Growth, a 1 1/16-mile main track stakes for Ontario-sired stakes 3-year-olds and upward, headlines the final live race card of the 2022 Thoroughbred season, Sunday at Woodbine.
Multiple stakes winner Dun Drum, a 6-year-old son of Bold n’ Flashy, brings a record of 6-2-4 from 31 starts into his latest test.
Owned by Joan Addison, Janet Black and Barbara Brown, the gelding finished fourth in last year’s running of the Steady Growth.
Trained by Ian Black, Dun Drum’s successes include stakes wins in the 2018 Kingarvie, 2019 Vice Regent, and this year’s Overskate.
“He’s been very good to us, especially this year,” said Ian Black. “I knew his best chance would come in an Ontario-sired race, the Overskate, and he certainly ran a great race. We were looking for opportunities to run him, and we ended up running him in a mile and a quarter race [on August 14], which surprised me that he won that day. And then two races later, he won the Overskate, at 7 ½ furlongs on the Inner Turf, so that is pretty versatile stuff right there. After the Overskate, Emma [jockey, Wilson] came back and said, ‘I love this horse.’ We all do.”
Wilson, in the midst of another strong campaign at Woodbine, has long been a fan of the dark bay.
“I really do [love him],” said the lifetime winner of 1,784 races. “He’s such a character. The best way to describe it is that you’re not friends with everybody at school, you’re not friends with everybody at work, but there are some people you get along with and Dun Drum has that personality for me. I just really enjoy competing with him and being around him. He’s so enthusiastic about his job and he’s so genuine. Whenever he goes out training, there are times where you say, ‘Okay, settled down, buddy.’ But he’s not bad, it’s just that he loves this sport. It explodes out of him and you almost have to bottle him in a little bit. He just tries so hard. You see that every time he races. It’s awesome. He’s so fun.”
Dun Drum launched his career with a third in a 6-furlong main track race at Woodbine on September 15, 2018. One race later, he broke his maiden, before a second in the Frost King Stakes and a win in the Kingarvie.
“We’ve loved him from day one,” said Black after the Kingarvie. “Any other 2-year-old we worked him with, he worked as well as or better than. He was fairly precocious, so I was always a little concerned about the two turns, but the only thing was when he started running, he did relax in his races. It wasn’t like he wanted the lead or anything like that, which makes it easier.”
The savvy veteran, who has $328,672 (U.S.) in lifetime earnings, has shown a penchant for rebounding well from an off-key outing over the years.
Dun Drum, who arrives at Sunday’s race off a fifth in a 1 ¼-mile trek over the Tapeta, worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.00 over the Woodbine Tapeta on November 26.
“He’s got a great attitude,” praised Black. “He loves to do it. He’s just a nice, happy horse. You have to be thrilled with him and he’s in good order. As for what his best distance is, I don’t know anymore. He won that mile and a quarter on the main track and the 7 ½ on the turf. He’s just a wonderful horse to have in your barn. He’s so kind. He has his head out, looking at you, thinking he’s going to get a mint every time you go by.”
Regardless of the distance, Wilson has long known what to expect from Dun Drum.
“In some ways, earlier on in his career, we were trying to figure out what the best distance was for him. As a 2-year-old, he was successful short and then he stretched out, and did well. Then some of his best races came against the top sprinters at Woodbine. I remember there was a race [2020 Shepperton] where I took a run at [multiple stakes winner and sprint champion] Pink Lloyd with him. He gave me everything he had to try and catch him, and it was probably one of his best efforts. Whether Pink Lloyd was fully extended or not, I don’t know, but it was a top-notch performance at a sprint distance. And then he goes a mile and quarter this year and has success. That versatility really lends itself to his personality and how fantastic he is at being a competitor.”
First post time for the 14-race card is 12:55 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
FIELD FOR THE $100,000 STEADY GROWTH
POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
1 – Dun Drum – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Ian Black
2 – Grandson – Jose Campos – John LeBlanc, Jr.
3 – Lac Macaza – Rafael Hernandez – Julia Carey
4 – Artie’s Storm – David Moran – Paul Buttigieg
5 – Benlion (S) – Christopher Husbands – Suzanne Drake
6 – Full Extreme – Omar Moreno – Kevin Attard
7 – Avoman – Justin Stein – John Charalambous
8 – Candy Overload (S) – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms