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Rookies share the spotlight in Saturday’s Coronation Futurity, Princess Elizabeth 

November 23, 2023

TORONTO, November 23, 2023 – Naptown, a 2-year-old son of Munnings-Gold Medalist, takes on nine in the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, part of a Saturday Woodbine card that also features the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes.

The 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity, a Tapeta event for Canadian-foaled 2-year-olds, is a significant race on the road to the 165th running of The King’s Plate (August 17, 2024) the first jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

The 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth, a Tapeta event for Canadian-foaled 2-year-old fillies, is a key event on the path to the 69th running of the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, the first jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Tiara series.

Motion, looking for his first Coronation Futurity triumph, will send out Naptown, who arrives at his latest test off an emphatic maiden-breaking score at Woodbine on October 29th.

Naptown and jockey Rafael Hernandez winning Race 5 on October 29, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Naptown and jockey Rafael Hernandez winning Race 5 on October 29, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Originally slated for the turf, the race was taken off the grass and contested at seven furlongs over the Tapeta. Sent on his way as the slight 3-1 choice in the field of 12, the bay colt, eighth early, was two lengths clear at the stretch call and then cruised home 5 ½ lengths on top in a time of 1:24.49.

“We’ve always liked him,” said Motion. “We had him with us the whole meet at Saratoga and we never got to run him, different circumstances. I thought enough of him to have him up there at Woodbine, so yes, obviously we liked him.”

Owned by Robert LaPenta and Madaket Stables LLC, the $120,000 (U.S.) purchase at the Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale debuted at Laurel Park in a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight main track race on October 5th.

Breaking from the gate as the 2-1 choice, Naptown made a three-wide bid leaving the turn to be within striking distance of the leader but flattened out to finish third behind a runaway winner.

“I think he handled the dirty okay,” offered Motion. “But he obviously stepped up going a little further on the synthetic next time out.”

Motion, who recently reached the 2,700-win plateau, is looking forward to Naptown’s return engagement at Woodbine.

“It’s a big ask to go a mile and an eighth, but I think it should be something he can handle. He’s a pretty straightforward, uncomplicated horse. He’s done well and he’s worked well leading up to this race. It’s a great opportunity for him.”

Bred in Ontario by 552727, Naptown will have the services of jockey Rafael Hernandez on Saturday.

Other Coronation Futurity starters include Frost King Stakes winner No More Options, Bull Page Stakes winner Zippy Gizmo, and Babbo, who has won two straight.

Ayrshire Lad won the first running of the Coronation Futurity in 1902. The late Avelino Gomez won four straight (1964-67) editions of the race, a feat duplicated by Sandy Hawley (1973-76).

The Princess Elizabeth has drawn nine hopefuls, a field that includes Sounds Practical.

Trained by John Mattine for owners RCC Racing Stable Ltd. and Realm Racing Stables, the daughter of Practical Joke-Sonic Cyster debuted on September 9th and finished second in the six-furlong maiden special weight event contested on the Woodbine Tapeta.

“She’s a very nice filly,” said Mattine. “She has been classy from day one, as soon as she arrived from Florida. She has done everything that we have asked her to do. Her first race, she did well. She had trained forwardly going into it and I thought she came up with a good effort.”

In her next start, a seven-furlong main track race originally scheduled for the turf, Sounds Practical, with Ryan Munger once again in the irons, took charge early and went on to record a 3 ½-length score in a time of 1:22.30.

“I thought that was an excellent effort,” praised Mattine. “She’s two, but she is a mature two. She acts older than she is and it is nice to have that. It certainly showed in that race. Ryan had a big old smile on his face afterwards.”

Bred in Ontario by Saintsbury Farms Inc., the bay will look to build off her maiden victory when she steps up to the stakes ranks on Saturday.

Mattine expects Sounds Practical to be up for the challenge.

“It won’t be an easy race, but we are going to give it a good go. The extra distance won’t hurt her. She’s bred for it, being out of a Tiznow mare. She will give the rest of them a run for their money. I think it will be a very good race.”

Sounds Practical was a $30,000 (U.S.) purchase at the 2023 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company June Two-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale.

Sounds Practical and jockey Ryan Munger winning Race 5 on October 7, 2023 (Michael Burns Photo)
Sounds Practical and jockey Ryan Munger winning Race 5 on October 7, 2023 (Michael Burns Photo)

Mattine, who will have Munger in the irons on Saturday, was impressed with the filly from day one.

“We were looking for a horse and it’s worked out so far. When she walked off the van, she came in and I thought, ‘She’s pretty quiet.’ Usually, after a long ride, you give them a day or two to rest and get comfortable in their new surroundings. But she still acted quiet. It’s class.”

Mark Manuk is the groom.

Other starters include Airosa, winner of the Catch A Glimpse Stakes, Hurricane Clair, winner of the Muskoka Stakes, South Ocean Stakes winner Olivia Rose, and War Painter, who took the Victorian Queen Stakes.

Princess Elizabeth-winning fillies Moira (2021), Nipissing (2012), Roan Inish (2009), Ginger Gold (2001), Dancethruthedawn (2000), Deputy Jane West (1992) and Par Excellence (1979) all went on to win the Woodbine Oaks the following year.

First post time is 1:05 p.m. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action via, bet365, and the Dark Horse Bets app.

119th edition of the Coronation Futurity

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – No More Options – Orlando Mojica – Zeljko Krcmar

2 – Naptown – Rafael Hernandez – Graham Motion

3 – King Rosso – Patrick Husbands – Kevin Attard

4 – Thor’s Cause – Leo Salles – Krista Cole-Simpson

5 – Vitality – Jose Campos – Harold Ladouceur

6 – Hatmaker Gizmo – Sahin Civaci – Josie Carroll

7 – Piper’s Factor (S) – Kazushi Kimura – Katerina Vassilieva

8 – Babbo – Eswan Flores – Sid Attard

9 – Pontiac – Justin Stein – Barbara Minshall

10 – Zippy Gizmo – Patrick Husbands – Kevin Attard

77th edition of the Princess Elizabeth

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Hurricane Clair – Sahin Civaci – Martin Drexler

2 – Airosa – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard

3 – War Painter – Patrick Husbands – Kevin Attard

4 – More Money Hunny – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll

5 – Sounds Practical – Ryan Munger – John Mattine

6 – Olivia Rose – Kazushi Kimura – Mark Casse

7 – Fourfiftyfour – Justin Stein – Barbara Minshall

8 – Bravo Kate – Eswan Flores – Sid Attard

9 – Inudation – Leo Salles – Kevin Attard

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

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