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Little Teddy big in Georgian Bay

July 7, 2024

TORONTO, July 7, 2024— In the Georgian Bay, for 3-year-old fillies, Little Teddy dug deep to deliver trainer Santino Di Paola and owner York Tech Racing Stable, nom du course of Carmen and Raffaela Di Paola, with their first Woodbine stakes success.

Earlier in the week, Santino Di Paola spoke about what it would mean to win the Georgian Bay.

“It would be nice to get my parents, who are longtime supporters of Woodbine racing, into the stakes winner’s circle here,” he said.

On Sunday, that wish became a reality.

A roan daughter of Frac-Daddy-Explosive Leah, Little Teddy, who delivered her connections a third in last year’s Shady Well Stakes and a win to kick off her 2024 campaign, came up with the biggest victory in her career to date in the five-furlong inner turf sprint.

Strike a Chord set the early tone, dashing to the front soon after the gates opened as 2-5 choice Olivia Rose tracked in second, while Kazushi Kimura had Little Teddy tucked in along the rail in fourth through an opening panel in :22.24.

It was status quo on the front end as the field headed into the turn for home, with Olivia Rose and Little Teddy having dialed up the pressure on the leader.

Mid-way down the lane, Olivia Rose and Little Teddy wore down a game Strike a Chord to set up a thrilling throwdown to the wire.

At the line, Little Teddy, in what was her first test on turf, emerged a neck winner. Strike a Chord was third, followed by Just Follow Me and Tabloid Material. Sinclairity was scratched.

Olivia Rose’s rider launched a claim of foul against the winner for possible interference in the stretch run, but it was disallowed.

The final time was :56.20 over firm ground.

Little Teddy and jockey Kazushi Kimura winning the Georgian Bay Stakes on July 7, 2024 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Little Teddy and jockey Kazushi Kimura winning the Georgian Bay Stakes on July 7, 2024 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

“I was very happy to win this stakes for Santino,” said Kimura, who won all three weekend Woodbine stakes (including Saturday’s Grade 3 Hendrie) “Last week, I worked this horse. She’s a small horse, but she’s really strong and was really aggressive in the work. I was feeling confident since the morning work.”

“This has been the goal since I was born,” said Santino Di Paola. “My dad has been training or owning horses for 50-some odd years now. He’s won a stakes race at Fort Erie, won a stakes race at Greenwood, but now I got the triple for him. To have my mom and dad, my whole family here – it’s what I’ve dreamt of my entire life.”

After a seventh to launch her career last September, Little Teddy won next time out, at 48-1, before concluding her 2-year-old campaign with the third in the Shady Well.

She arrived at the Georgian Bay off a three-quarter length triumph at 6 ½ furlongs on the Woodbine main track on May 25.

Bred by Susan Rasmussen and H. Lothian, Little Teddy was a $15,000 (CDN) purchase at the 2022 CTHS Canadian Premier Yearling Sale.

She paid $9.40 for the Georgian Bay win.

Chris Lomon, Woodbine

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