TORONTO, May 11 – The Very Dry Stable’s River Maid, Canada’s reigning outstanding female sprinter, will look to defend her title in Sunday’s $125,000 Ballade Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Robert Tiller, River Maid captured the Ballade last season, a six furlong main track sprint restricted to Ontario-sired fillies and mares, with a dramatic nose score.
The Ballade score was one of four wins in 2016 for the Where’s the Ring mare which also included a first-ever graded win when a neck the best in the Grade 2 Bessarabian when travelling seven furlongs over the Woodbine Tapeta. Photo finishes are par for the course with River Maid and rider Patrick Husbands will be charged with timing the trip just right.
River Maid made her seasonal debut on April 23 in the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes and rallied to finish second, defeated a length by Southern Ring, in the six furlong sprint with Husbands up.
A talented Ballade field of eight includes stakes winners Code Warrior, Crumlin Spirit, Galina Point, Generous Touch and Sparkles’ Girl.
Code Warrior arrives from California and will make her Woodbine debut under the tutelage of trainer Rachel Halden. A four-year-old daughter of Society’s Chairman, bred in Florida by Pamela Edel, Code Warrior captured both the Golden Nugget and Debutante Stakes at Golden Gate as a juvenile and was a good second in her sophomore debut to Forever Darling in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes. Anne Sanguinetti ships in from Golden Gate to ride Code Warrior on Sunday as the filly looks to get back to winning ways.
Crumlin Spirit, a hard-trying daughter of Court Vision, captured the Lady Angela Stakes last season in a campaign that included third-place runs in the Fury and Eternal Search Stakes. Trained by Mike Doyle, Crumlin Spirit competed in two-thirds of the filly Triple Tiara finishing fourth in the Woodbine Oaks and sixth in the Bison City Stakes. She landed sixth in her seasonal debut in the Woodstock. David Moran will ride.
Galina Point, trained by Mark Casse, is a significant cheque earner with a record of 4-9-4 from 24 starts and purse earnings of $483,256. While her lone win last season came in an allowance event, she also managed runner-up efforts in the Grade 3 Whimsical, Grade 3 Hendrie and Algoma Stakes. The five-year-old Saffir bay was fourth last time out in the Grade 3 Whimsical. Gary Boulanger has the call.
Generous Touch, a multiple stakes winning daughter of Philanthropist, will launch her four-year-old campaign on Sunday. Trained by Sid Attard, the versatile Generous Touch enjoyed a remarkable sophomore season winning the Passing Mood on the turf and the Eternal Search and Ruling Angel Stakes on the Tapeta. The versatile chestnut can win at a sprint or a route of ground and will be piloted by Rafael Hernandez.
Sparkles’ Girl, a four-year-old daughter of Society’s Chairman trained by John Charalambous, showed great promise in 2015 when a winner on debut in a juvenile campaign that included a victory in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie Stakes. Winless through three starts in an abbreviated sophomore campaign, although never more than four lengths off the winner in the Ontario Damsel, La Prevoyante and Classy N’ Smart Stakes, Sparkles’ Girl demonstrated her class with a powerful 2 1/4-length score on April 21 in her seasonal debut. Emma-Jayne Wilson retains the mount.
Blurricane and Copper Fox complete the field.
The Ballade is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1PM. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
FIELD FOR THE $125,000 BALLADE STAKES
POST / HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER
1 / Galina Point / Gary Boulanger / Mark Casse
2 / Code Warrior / Anne Sanguinetti / Rachel Halden
3 / River Maid / Patrick Husbands / Robert Tiller
4 / Copper Fox / Jesse Campbell / David Bell
5 / Generous Touch / Rafael Hernandez / Sid Attard
6 / Blurricane / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Martin Drexler
7 / Crumlin Spirit / David Moran / Mike Doyle
8 / Sparkles’ Girl / Emma-Jayne Wilson / John Charalambous