TORONTO, March 26, 2019 – Welcome to the 12th 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.
This week, we check in with trainer Michael De Paulo, who recorded his first win of 2019 on March 23 at Gulfstream Park. De Paulo sent out Oh Danny Bear to a victory in a $12,500 maiden claiming event, a race in which the son of Yes It’s True was subsequently claimed out of. Prior to the claim, he had a productive winter for De Paulo, recording a win, two runner-up finishes and a third-place finish from four starts at Gulfstream.
Oh Danny Bear breaks his maiden in the opener, Robby Albarado rode for Michael De Paulo.#GulfstreamPark #ChampionshipMeet pic.twitter.com/7VTi9Na8tE
— Gulfstream Park (@GulfstreamPark) March 23, 2019
“It was nice to get one,” De Paulo said. “It was a bit of a drought. He had run real good and he got beat a nose the start before, so he was sitting on a win.”
De Paulo also sent out Woodbine Oaks prospect, Marwoods War, to a fourth-place finish on the turf on March 21. The three-year-old daughter of Declaration of War made her racing debut late in the 2018 meet at Woodbine and has made three starts this winter at Gulfstream Park, including her race last week where she was 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
“She wasn’t really in trouble and she didn’t get steadied, but she might have just got stalled for a bit,” De Paulo said. “She galloped out in front if you watch the replay, but unfortunately, they don’t pay you for that. I thought she ran pretty good. The race before she had the thumps so that’s why she ran so poorly.”
With Marwoods War still a maiden, De Paulo said there are options for the filly as the connections look to the Woodbine Oaks on June 8 as a long-term target.
“She’s a maiden, so she’s got some races ahead of her before we get there,” he said. “Her mother could run and Declaration of War was a good horse so we’re hoping.”
Another maiden three-year-old who De Paulo has high hopes for is Queen’s Plate nominee Moon Swings. While he hasn’t made a start yet this winter, De Paulo said he could find his way into the entries before making the trip back to Woodbine after spending the winter at Gulfstream Park. Despite not recording a win yet, Moon Swings finished third in three different stakes events last season, including in the Coronation Futurity.
“He’s kept some pretty good company and he’s still a maiden, so he’s got a lot of races he can run in,” De Paulo said. “When we took Caren away (in 2016), she had to run because she had already won three stakes and there were no real races for her other than stakes. The Oaks comes around quick. My guy has already been a mile and an eighth so I don’t think we’re too far behind whether we run him or not.”
Horse of the year Caren and her first foal by Curlin pic.twitter.com/egVvONWDjl
— CHRTB ?? (@CHRTB_) March 21, 2019
De Paulo has seven horses with him at Gulfstream Park and a number of his horses have also moved into Woodbine to continue their preparations for the upcoming season. Along with the win last week, De Paulo’s runners have recorded an additional five in-the-money finishes from 18 total starters at the current Gulfstream meet. Overall, De Paulo said he’s been pleased with how the winter has gone.
Three other Woodbine trainers also recorded wins last week, led by Mark Casse, who recorded four wins and one third-place finish from 13 starters across Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn Park and Fair Grounds. Three of Casse’s winners came at Gulfstream Park from Great Kahuna (March 22), Moonlight Rain (March 22) and Souper Stonehenge (March 23). Casse’s other winner was Lookin for Eight at Oaklawn Park on March 22. Casse’s Kentucky Derby prospect War of Will finished ninth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 23.
Norm McKnight recorded three wins from four starts at Oaklawn Park last week, as Earnednevergiven (March 21), Colombard (March 22) and Cool Catomine (March 22) all made trips to the winner’s circle.
Sid Attard recorded his first win of the Gulfstream Park meet with Hijacker on March 23. Attard also sent out Donnie Brasco to a fifth-place finish on March 22.
Couldn’t be happier for dad to get his 1st @GulfstreamPark win of the meet 1st off the claim with Hijacker (Lemon Drop Kid – Broad Pennant by Broad Brush) 2nd dam is the legendary Personal Ensign. Great patient ride by @hernandezrafii and it was picture time! pic.twitter.com/P8emlaIHVe
— Jamie T. Attard (@jtaracing) March 23, 2019
Three Woodbine jockeys also reached the winner’s circle last week, once again led by Luis Contreras, who recorded six wins at Sunland Park. One of those wins was a stakes victory, as Contreras won the New Mexico State University Handicap aboard Shining Source on March 24. Other winners for Contreras last week included Mr Janimal (March 19), On the Right (March 23), Southern Mojo (March 23), Delayed by Who (March 23) and Pendleton (March 24). In all, Contreras recorded six wins, four runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes from 23 starters last week.
Rafael Hernandez recorded four wins from 18 starts at Gulfstream Park last week, including Rattle’m (March 21), Nauti Buoy (March 23), Hijacker (March 23) and Bronze Age (March 24). Hernandez also recorded a runner-up finish with W W Springtime on March 21.
Hijacker, with @hernandezrafii, captures the finale for trainer Sid Attard. #GulfstreamPark #ChampionshipMeet pic.twitter.com/LwfUAnCCTs
— Gulfstream Park (@GulfstreamPark) March 23, 2019
Ademar Santos recorded a win from 20 starters at Tampa Bay Downs last week, as Friend Zone won the sixth race on March 20. Santos also recorded two runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes last week.
Chantal Sutherland recorded five in-the-money finishes from 19 starters at Fair Grounds last week. Sutherland recorded runner-up finishes with Lagniappe Fair (March 22) and It’s All Up to You (March 24), and third-place finishes with Lady’s Tribute (March 20), He’s No Bully (March 20) and Mega Rose (March 22).
Gary Boulanger recorded a runner-up finish from three starts at Tampa Bay Downs last week, finishing second with Zorb on March 20. Boulanger had two other mounts during the March 20 card, finishing fifth with Penny Rose and seventh with Rapid River.
Kirk Johnson recorded a pair of starts at Aqueduct on March 23, finishing fourth aboard Big Wonder and 10th aboard Ferncourt.
Here’s a look at how the other Woodbine trainers fared last week, in alphabetical order, starting with Kevin Attard, who recorded a pair of starts at Gulfstream Park. Attard sent out Copper Fox for a fourth-place finish on March 20 2and Carlos Sixes to a seventh-place finish on March 23.
Julie Belhumeur recorded a pair of seventh-place finishes at Tampa Bay Downs last week from Pluie d’Avril on March 20 and Jordans Way on March 23.
Steven Chircop recorded an in-the-money finish from three starts at Penn National last week, as Flashinthepants finished second on March 23. Chircop also sent out Lady Bella to a seventh-place finish on March 22, and Hidden Appeal to a ninth-place finish on March 23.
Abe Froman finished sixth at Gulfstream Park on March 22 for Catherine Day Phillips.
John Mattine sent out four horses at Gulfstream Park last week, recording one in-the-money finish from Battle of Yorktown, who finished third on March 21. Mattine’s other starters last week included Macho T (6th, March 20), Get the Facts (6th, March 23), and Sent From Heaven (10th, March 23).
Charmaine’s Mia finished eighth at Gulfstream Park on March 21 for Michael McDonald.
Barb Minshall recorded three starts at Tampa Bay Downs last week, hitting the board with Soldier in Pink on March 23. Minshall’s other starters last week included Gorgeous Kitten (9th, March 23) and Gold Sting (4th, March 24).
Narrow Escape finished sixth at Laurel Park on March 22 for Justin Nixon.
Pat Parente sent out Berger to a fourth-place finish at Gulfstream Park on March 24.
Steve Owens saddled Emperor John to a sixth-place finish at Gulfstream Park on March 20.
Secret Affirmation finished eighth at Tampa Bay Downs on March 23 for John Simms.