TORONTO, April 14, 2022 – The $100,000 Thorncliffe Stakes, for four-year-olds and up, headlines Sunday’s card at Woodbine.
The 5 ½-furlong main track feature has drawn nine starters, including 18-time winner Richiesinthehouse.
Bred by Richard Ravin, the son of Sidney’s Candy-Streamin Heat is coming off a 2021 campaign that yielded four wins and a pair of seconds from seven starts.
The bay gelding kicked off his seven-year-old season with back-to-back wins at Arlington in May and June, before a seventh in the Hanshin Cup Stakes. Richiesinthehouse was back in the winner’s circle one race later when he took the Addison Cammack Memorial Stakes at Arlington last August.
After a win at Presque Isle in October, trainer Larry Rivelli brought the veteran campaigner north to Woodbine, where he was second on November 7 in an allowance optional claiming race run at six panels on the main track.
Francine Villeneuve subsequently claimed the gelding on behalf of owner John Scott’s Formal Racing Stable and sent out her new trainee to a sparkling runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Kennedy Road Stakes on November 27, narrowly behind Pink Lloyd, the now retired Canadian sprint superstar.
“I was very pleased with his performance,” offered Villeneuve. “You could tell he’s just a nice horse. His numbers are good and he’s consistent. In his prior race, he showed he could come from off the pace. He broke slowly, usually he’s going to the lead or close to it, but he has proven he’s versatile. On that day, he broke badly and came running. He knows what to do. He can be a bit challenging in the paddock, but that’s just him putting his game face on.”
The former jockey turned successful trainer is happy with how the eight-year-old Illinois-bred is heading into his first race of the season.
“He’s settled right into our program. He had the winter off and he’s been training well in the lead-up to this race. He’s kind of a funny horse. He either works really fast or not fast at all. Emma [jockey, Wilson] knows him now and she rode him superbly in the Kennedy Road. I have complete faith in her. Looking at his form, it looks like six or seven [furlongs] is his best distance, but we’ll see. He’ll definitely be a contender.”
The field includes multiple graded stakes winner Silent Poet, multiple stakes winner Not So Quiet, multiple graded stakes placed White Flag, and stakes winner Arzak.
Outside of the race, carded as race four, Villeneuve is looking forward to the return of live racing at Woodbine, but not only for herself.
This year’s Thoroughbred season will open as scheduled for the first time since April 2019.
“This opening weekend is very exciting for the owners as well as all the horsepeople who have been anxiously waiting for racing to begin.”
Fans can also watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
FIELD FOR THE THORNCLIFFE
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Silent Poet – Justin Stein – Nicholas Gonzalez
2 – Richiesinthehouse – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Francine Villeneuve
3 – Lapochka – Daisuke Fukumoto – Vito Armata
4 – Not So Quiet – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
5 – White Flag – Antonio Gallardo – Roger Attfield
6 – Spite Store – Steven Bahen – Ian Howard
7 – Arzak – Kazushi Kimura – Michael Trombetta
8 – Lenny K – Gary Boulanger – Kevin Attard
9 – Clear Destination – Eswan Flores – Patrick Dixon
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms on Twitter