TORONTO, April 13, 2022 – The $100,000 Long Branch Stakes, for fillies and mares, four-year-olds and up, headlines Opening Day of the 2022 Woodbine Thoroughbred season, slated as the seventh race on Saturday’s eight-race card.
The 5 ½-furlong main track feature has drawn seven starters, including four-year-old Dreaming of Drew.
Trained by Barbara Minshall, Dreaming of Drew will be making her first start since an authoritative 3 ¾-length score in the 75th edition of the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, for Canadian-foaled two-year-old fillies, on October 31, 2020.
Sent off as the 4-5 choice, Dreaming of Drew led every step of the way in the 1 1/16-mile main track affair, crossing the wire under a hand ride, 3 ¾-lengths ahead of her nearest rival.
“She’s doing great,” said Minshall, Canada’s champion trainer in 1996. “She’s been down with Travis Durr in South Carolina all this time. She’s come up from there and she’s come up in great shape. We want to get her back in action. It’s been a year and a half since she last ran. It may be a little shorter than her ideal distance, but she’s fit and she’s ready to go. We want to get her back on a program, follow that and keep on going from there.”
Owned by Hoolie Racing Stable, LLC, Dreaming of Drew, an Ontario-bred daughter of Speightster, debuted on June 13, 2020, in a 4 ½-furlong test over the Toronto oval Tapeta. Sent off at 5-1, she utilized a determined stretch bid to finish second, 2 ½ lengths behind the winner.
Next time out, the WinStar Farm-bred miss broke her maiden via a six-length romp as the 7-5 choice.
After a runner-up effort – she lost by a nose to Alda in the Catch a Glimpse Stakes (6 ½ furlongs on the turf) on August 23, 2020 – Dreaming of Drew was fourth in the Grade 1 Natalma one month later, before going on to her Princess Elizabeth triumph.
Minshall has long been impressed with one of her stable stars.
“She’s always been a great filly, no question about it. She just had an injury that took time to heal. Sometimes, time heals a lot. This time last year, we had her at Keeneland with the intent to run her in the spring, but she got hurt, so it’s pretty much a year later.”
First post is 1:10 p.m. Live Thoroughbred racing continues at Woodbine on Sunday, a 1:10 p.m. card that includes the running of the $100,000 Thorncliffe Stakes. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
FIELD FOR THE LONG BRANCH
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Our Secret Agent – Kazushi Kimura – Mark Casse
2 – Nikee Kan – Rafael Hernandez – Jose Francisco D’Angelo
3 – Jeanie B (GB) – Antonio Gallardo – Mark Casse
4 – Dreaming of Drew – Patrick Husbands – Barbara Minshall
5 – Marais – Eswan Flores – Don Pleterski
6 – Ima Beast – Sahin Civaci – Harold Ladouceur
7 – Imagery – Daisuke Fukumoto – Vito Armata
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms on Twitter