TORONTO, October 30, 2019 – Nine starters, including a pair of Augustin Stable silk bearers, will load into the gate for Saturday’s Grade 3 $125,000 Maple Leaf Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trainer Michael Dickinson will send out Augustin stablemates Lift Up and Theodora B. in the 1 ¼-mile main track event for fillies & mares, three-year-olds and upward.
A seven-time winner from 18 career starts, Lift Up, a five-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper, is no stranger to Woodbine, having posted a record of 1-1-1 from four starts. In September, the Kentucky-bred bay won the Belle Mahone Stakes at the Toronto oval, rallying to best She’s the Berries, whom she’ll meet again in the Maple Leaf.
In taking the Belle Mahone, the Augustin Stable homebred won her third career stake after taking the Miss Liberty over 1 1/16 miles of grass at Monmouth last June, and the mile and 70 yard West Virginia President’s Cup on August 3.
Lift Up arrives at Saturday’s feature off a fourth-place finish in the All Along Stakes at Laurel on September 28. After breaking 12th and last in the 1 1/16-mile turf event, she rallied stoutly to miss top spot by a diminishing half-length.
Theodora B., who sports a 3-4-2 mark from 12 lifetime starts, finished second to Lunar Garden (who’ll also contest the Maple Leaf) last November at the Toronto oval, her only previous Woodbine engagement.
Bred in Kentucky by Augustin, the four-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper will make her seventh straight stakes appearance.
Although winless since May, in what was her seasonal debut, Theodora B. has three seconds and a third in her past six races. On September 28, the dark bay lost by a nose to Andina Del Sur in the 1 1/16-mile turf Violet Stakes at Monmouth.
On October 17, Theodora B. was third to Darcy Mae in the H.B.P.A Stakes at Presque Isle Downs.
Other starters include A. A. Azula’s Arch, last year’s 16-1 Maple Leaf champ. The Kevin Attard trainee, a four-year-old daughter of Arch, has three wins and three seconds from 15 starts for A & A Farms.
Avie’s Mineshaft, bred and owned by Ivan Dalos, has two wins, four seconds and three thirds from 13 starts for trainer Josie Carroll. Last year, the Ontario-bred won the Wonder Where Stakes, a 1 ¼-mile turf race at Woodbine.
Lael Stable’s Care Lady, a five-year-old daughter of Equal Stripes, made her first six career starts in Argentina before heading to North America. The Maple Leaf represents the bay mare’s first test in Canada. She is trained by Arnaud Delacour, who will be looking for back-to-back stakes victories at Woodbine after sending out last Sunday’s Grey Stakes champion Chapalu.
Lunar Garden, a Chiefswood Stables’ homebred, fashions a mark of 4-3-2- from 16 starts. Trained by Stuart Simon, the four-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon finished third to Lift Up in the Belle Mahone on September 8, just a neck back for all the spoils.
Miss Momentum, a four-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Uncle Mo, won last year’s Grade 3 Selene Stakes at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse. This season, the Gary Barber-owned miss took the Grade 3 Trillium Stakes, also at Woodbine, on June 16.
She’s the Berries, also conditioned by Casse, has been at the top of her game over her past three starts. After two runner-up efforts in the Eternal Search Stakes and Belle Mahone Stakes – both by a neck – the four-year-old daughter of Badge of Silver was a nose the best in the Classy n’ Smart Stakes on September 29. She has six wins, four seconds, and a third from 18 starts for owner/breeder Brereton Jones.
A five-year-old daughter of Americain, Violet Blue is 2-2-2 from 19 career races. Owned by Michael Ryan and moving into Roger Attfield’s care, the Kentucky-bred has a pair of thirds from starts in 2019. Both of her victories came at Belmont Park.
Hockey Hall of Fame legend and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Conn Smythe won six runnings of the Maple Leaf, including four straight editions (1974-77). Last year, A. A. Azula’s Arch won the Maple Leaf in a time of 2:05.23.
The Maple Leaf is slated as race eight on Saturday’s 11-race card. First post time is 1:05 p.m. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
$125,000 MAPLE LEAF STAKES (GRADE 3)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – She’s the Berries – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
2 – Lift Up – Patrick Husbands – Michael Dickinson
3 – Lunar Garden – Daisuke Fukumoto – Stuart Simon
4 – Care Lady – Kazushi Kimura – Arnaud Delacour
5 – Violet Blue – Steven Bahen – Roger Attfield
6 – A. A. Azula’s Arch – Alan Garcia – Kevin Attard
7 – Avie’s Mineshaft – Gary Boulanger – Josie Carroll
8 – Miss Momentum – Jerome Lermyte – Mark Casse
9 – Theodora B. – Patrick Husbands – Michael Dickinson