TORONTO, March 5, 2019 – Welcome to the ninth edition of the weekly Woodbine Snowbirds Report, now in its eighth year, chronicling the winter adventures of Woodbine-based trainers and jockeys currently plying their trade south of the border.
Last week, three Woodbine jockeys had their picture taken, led by Luis Contreras, who rode four winners from 14 starters at Sunland Park. Dani’s Choice got the week off to a good start for Contreras on February 26. Contreras added to his win total with Selection Park on March 2 and Swannyland and Slewacide Squad on March 3. He also recorded two runner-up finishes and five third-place finishes last week.
Rafael Hernandez rode a pair of winners during the March 1 card at Gulfstream Park, including Emperor John for Owens and I’m Listening. The two winners were Hernandez’s only in-the-money finishes from eight starts last week.
Second victory today for jockey @hernandezrafii!#GulfstreamPark #ChampionshipMeet pic.twitter.com/s61IDJBk12
— Gulfstream Park (@GulfstreamPark) March 1, 2019
Ademar Santos had a pair of wins from 11 starts at Tampa Bay Downs last week, riding Kid Slipper to victory on February 27 and Princess Livia to a win on March 3. Santos also picked up an additional three third-place finishes last week.
Gary Boulanger had six mounts at Tampa Bay Downs last week, recording a pair of fourth-place finishes during the March 1 card with Monkey Money and Moonshine Cate.
Kirk Johnson rode Miss Allison to a seventh-place finish at Aqueduct on February 28.
Isabelle Wenc finished seventh aboard Blue Birds Fly at Mahoning Valley on February 26.
Three Woodbine trainers made trips to the winner’s circle, including Norm McKnight, who sent out World Riot to victory during the March 2 card at Oaklawn Park. McKnight had eight starters in total at Oaklawn last week and also recorded a third-place finish with Place the Blame on March 3.
Justin Nixon recorded a win at Charles Town on March 1 with Narrow Escape, who crushed the field to win by 7 ¼ lengths.
Steve Owens also had a big winner, as Emperor John won on March 1 at Gulfstream Park by the identical 7 ¼-length margin.
Here’s a look at how the other Woodbine trainers fared last week, in alphabetical order, starting with Willie Armata, who recorded a pair of third-place finishes from six starts at Penn National. Armata sent out Leo the Rabbit to a third-place finish on February 28 and also saddled I’se Dubai to a third-place finish on March 1.
Kevin Attard had four starters at Gulfstream Park last week, including a pair in graded stakes events on the March 2 card. Melmich was second in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes and A. A. Azula’s Arch finished eighth in the Grade 3 The Very One Stakes. Earlier in the week, Attard sent out Camp Creek (6th) and Copper Fox (4th) during the March 1 card.
Roger Attfield also had a pair of runners in graded stakes on March 2 at Gulfstream Park, sending out Ickymasho to a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 The Very One Stakes, while My Gal Betty finished eighth in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes in her three-year-old debut.
Julie Belhumeur recorded a pair of starts during the March 3 card at Tampa Bay Downs, sending out Pluie d’Avril to a sixth-place finish and Whole to a ninth-place finish.
Josie Carroll had two starters during the March 1 card at Gulfstream Park, including The Boss Factor (5th) and Grey Seal (10th).
Mark Casse had 12 starters across Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park last week, recording a runner-up finish with Souper Scat Daddy on March 1 at Gulfstream.
Steven Chircop had five starters between Parx and Penn National last week, recording a pair of fifth-place finishes at Penn National with First Shot on February 27 and Howdy Boy on February 28.
Twice Around finished fifth at Tampa Bay Downs on March 3 for Gail Cox.
John Mattine had three starters at Gulfstream Park last week, recording an in-the-money finish with Vaughan, who finished third on March 1. Mattine also sent out Irish Fix (6th, February 27) and Caspian Jewel (6th, February 28) last week.
Charmaine’s Mia finished second at Gulfstream Park on February 28 for Michael McDonald.
Barb Minshall saddled Another Time in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes on March 2 at Gulfstream Park, where she finished sixth.
John Simms sent out four starters at Tampa Bay Downs last week, hitting the board with Chilling Secret, who finished second on March 3. Other starters for Simms last week included Stormy Leo (5th, March 1), Secret Affirmation (4th, March 3), and La Dolce Uno (4th, March 3).
Bold Script made her three-year-old debut in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 2, finishing fifth for Stuart Simon.
James Smith recorded a pair of starts at Tampa Bay Downs last week, which included a runner-up finish from Lapochka during the March 1 card. Smith also sent out Best Bard to an eighth-place finish on February 27.
In Gus We Trust finished ninth at Gulfstream Park on March 3 for William Tharrenos.
Daniel Vella sent out Obsession to a sixth-place finish at Gulfstream Park on March 1.