TORONTO, January 23, 2018 – Welcome to the sixth edition (January 15 – January 21) of the weekly Woodbine Snowbirds Report, now in its seventh 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 Catherine Day Phillips, who is hoping superstar performing artist Jason Derulo will be singing the praises of Tombelaine following Saturday’s $175,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint on the Pegasus World Cup day undercard.
A multi-Platinum recording artist, Derulo has sold over 30 million singles including such hits as ‘Wiggle,’ ‘In My Head’ and ‘Whatcha Say.’
Tombelaine, who recently joined the Day Phillips barn, competed twice in Grade 2 events at Woodbine last season finishing fifth in the Play the King and seventh in the Kennedy Road when under the care of trainers Chad Brown and later David Cannizzo. The horse is owned in partnership by Michael and Jules Iavarone with Derulo, who will run horses under the stable name Regal Horses LLC.
Saturday’s five furlong turf sprint for Tombelaine will mark Day Phillips’ first starter of 2018. The multiple graded stakes winning conditioner enjoyed a successful 2017 Woodbine season recording a career-high 24 wins, including six stakes wins, and also had her third Breeders’ Cup starter, when Dixie Moon finished sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“It was a very good year,” Day Phillips said. “It was nice to see different horses come into the forefront as well. We didn’t go south (last winter), and our horses did very well. Some of them peaked and were in good shape in June. I was happy to see Guy Caballero win the Plate Trial and Financial Recovery ran well early. There were some horses that didn’t really train on. That’s why we’ve come south this year to hope that they train on a little bit more. We had a group of horses in the fall that picked up where they had left off, which was exciting. Dixie Moon, Mr Havercamp, and Grace and Dignity picked up where the June guys left off.”
Day Phillips has 16 horses with her at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida for the winter, and has positive reviews for the facility so far.
“Palm Meadows is a great training facility,” she said. “The track has been very good. We’ve had the opportunity to breeze on the turf a few times, and it’s in great shape too. It’s a nice place. It’s nice for the horses. They all seem to be very happy and are settling in.”
Among the horses Day Phillips has with her this winter are Woodbine stakes winners Dixie Moon, Mr Havercamp, and Grace and Dignity. All three horses got a break during the month of December, but are currently resuming their training.
Dixie Moon recorded a pair of stakes wins for Day Phillips in 2017 at Woodbine, defeating males in the Cup and Saucer Stakes and finishing her season off on a high note with a win in the Ontario Lassie Stakes. She also ran second in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes and made a trip to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Day Phillips said there are a number of paths available for Dixie Moon moving forward in her three-year-old year, but the connections are eyeing the Woodbine Oaks in June as a long-term goal.
“There’s a lot of options for her going forward,” Day Phillips said. “She’s probably a little bit better on the turf, but she’s run well on the synthetic too. She’s a lovely, big filly that’s only going to get better as she gets more mature.”
Mr Havercamp won four of his six starts in 2017, highlighted by a 7 1/2-length win against older horses in the Bunty Lawless Stakes where he earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. Day Phillips said Mr Havercamp would likely stay on the turf for his four-year-old campaign, and also has plenty of options as an Ontario-sired horse.
“He’s a very good horse,” she said. “He loves Woodbine and we’ll figure out where he’s at as he’s coming along.”
Finally, Grace and Dignity showed plenty of talent in her first two starts last year, winning both races by a combined 10 3/4-lengths. In her stakes debut in the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes in November, she got caught in a speed duel early and settled for a second-place finish behind Win the War. Day Phillips said harnessing Grace and Dignity’s speed is an area of focus in her training this winter.
“She’s got lots and lots of talent,” she said. “She’s a very speedy filly. She was a little too sharp for that race. There’s a little work to do so she’s more effective with her speed, but she’s a very nice filly.”
It was a successful week for the Woodbine trainers on the track, with eight trainers making trips to the winner’s circle, including Kevin Attard for the third week in a row. Attard saddled Starship Jubilee to a win in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 20. Attard also sent out Chestnut Johnny to a runner-up finish on January 17, and Flutie to a seventh-place finish on January 18.
Mark Casse was back in the winner’s circle last week with two winners on January 15, as Morning Hunt won at Aqueduct and Samurai’sfirstlady won at Gulfstream Park. In all, Casse recorded two wins and three runner-up finishes from 22 starters across four different racetracks last week.
William Tharrenos won at Gulfstream Park on January 19, as Forty’s Sweetheart won the sixth race of the day. Tharrenos saw Specialcnsydration finish third in the same race, and also recorded a third-place finish from Remembering Mickey on January 17. Martini Kid was Tharrenos’ fourth starter of the week, finishing sixth at Gulfstream Park on January 18.
Sid Attard recorded a win and a third-place finish from a pair of starters at Gulfstream Park last week, as Trouble in Phoenix won on January 20 and Luckbe Tanya ran third on January 15.
Nick Caruso also recorded a win and a third-place finish from a pair of starters last week, as Spun From Gold won at Charles Town on January 18 and Ark Ofthe Covenant finished third at Penn National on January 19.
Steven Chircop recorded a win and a third-place finish from four starters at Penn National last week. Richest Gifts won at Penn National on January 18, while Silver Ring was third on January 19. Chircop’s other two starters of the week included Over Sensual (fifth, Jan. 18) and We Will Shine (eighth, Jan. 19).
Josie Carroll recorded her first win of the Gulfstream Park meet with her only starter last week, as Lead by Example won on January 20.
Daniel Vella also won with his only starter of the week last week, as Take Your Place won at Gulfstream Park on January 19.
Rafael Hernandez was the only Woodbine jockey to find the winner’s circle last week, as he recorded a pair of 7 1/2-length victories at Aqueduct on January 19. In all, Hernandez recorded two wins and a runner-up finish from 22 starters at Aqueduct last week.
Luis Contreras recorded a runner-up and two third-place finishes from six starters at Oaklawn Park last week, which included a third-place finish on Tap Daddy in the Smarty Jones Stakes.
Michelle Rainford recorded a runner-up finish and a third-place finish from four starters last week between Penn National and Laurel Park.
Jeffrey Alderson rode Sniper to a runner-up finish at Turfway Park on January 20.
Ismael Mosqueira recorded a runner-up finish from eight starters at Turf Paradise last week, as Joe Dunk In ran second on January 21.
Jermaine Bridgmohan recorded a third-place finish from seven starters at Sam Houston last week, as Kitchen Boss finished third on January 19.
Gary Boulanger rode two horses at Tampa Bay Downs last week. His best finish was a sixth-place finish aboard She’s Right Again on January 19.
Alan Garcia had one mount last week at Turfway Park where he finished ninth on Unmoored in the Forego Stakes.
Sheena Ryan recorded a pair of sixth-place finishes at Tampa Bay Downs last week, including aboard Trenton Traveler in the Pasco Stakes.
Here’s a look at how the other Woodbine trainers fared last week, in alphabetical order, starting with Willie Armata, who saddled four horses at Penn National, including No Soup for You (sixth, Jan. 19), Donnas Sweet Heart (eighth, Jan. 19), Extremist (sixth, Jan. 20), and Poly Anna (seventh, Jan. 20).
Red Fever finished sixth at Gulfstream Park on January 17 for Tino Attard.
Roger Attfield sent out Glencairn to a fourth-place finish at Gulfstream Park on January 15.
Classy Scarlett hit the board with a third-place finish for Michael Blake at Laurel Park on January 21.
Too Stormy finished 11th at Gulfstream Park on January 20 for Mike De Paulo.
Scott Fairlie hit the board with two of his six runners last week, as Awesome Five finished second and Sick Love finished third at Penn National on January 19. Fairlie’s other starters of the week included Bad Nana (fifth, Jan. 15), Light My Path (DNF, Jan. 15), and Lookin Perfect (ninth, Jan. 15) at Laurel Park, and Brew by You (fifth, Jan. 16) at Parx.
Preston Ferris sent out Sniper to a runner-up finish at Turfway Park on January 20.
Nicholas Gonzalez recorded three starts at Gulfstream Park last week with Conquest Dynasty (fifth, Jan. 15), Written (eighth, Jan. 17), and Ain’t My Fault (eighth, Jan. 18).
Tonedaddy finished eighth at Gulfstream Park on January 21 for John Mattine.
Denyse McClachrie sent out Dexter Road to a sixth-place finish at Laurel Park on January 20.
Norm McKnight sent out a pair of runners last week at Oaklawn Park. Both horses hit the board, as Malibu Wood finished second on January 15, and Special Concoction finished third on January 20.
Steve Owens also hit the board last week with White Moon, who finished third at Gulfstream Park on January 17. Owens also sent out Josie’s Riddle to a sixth-place finish on January 18.
Ault finished sixth for Pat Parente at Gulfstream Park on January 15.
John Simms saddled Sweet Deal to a runner-up finish at Tampa Bay Downs on January 19.
Michael Wright sent out Spunsational to a runner-up finish at Tampa Bay Downs on January 17.