TORONTO, March 13, 2018 – Welcome to the 13th edition 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 jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson, who had a successful start to her 2018 season at Gulfstream Park last week. Wilson rode Second Street to a win in the ninth race at Gulfstream on March 10, and also rode Remembering Mickey to a seventh-place finish on March 10 and Specialcynsdration to an eighth-place finish on March 11. Wilson said she enjoyed starting her season on a winning note.
“It was exactly what we were hoping for,” she said. “It’s a good start to our spring training. We had a couple horses that they were looking to run and it was good to just head out there and get active again. It’s been a couple of months of hiatus with the offseason that we have, so it’s time to come out of hibernation.”
Wilson said she began her preparations for the new season in early February. More recently, she’s been working with personal trainer Matt Munro out of Firepower CrossFit gym in Milton, while doing some additional training work on her own. Wilson said her offseason programs have really evolved in recent years.
“Over the years I’ve changed it up and kind of fine-tuned my routine,” she said. “It’s a balance of some really serious and focused gym sessions with a personal trainer that I have. We have very focused and targeted workouts that we do. Then I also add on top of that yoga and Equiciser work, so some technical work from my perspective where I fine-tune those things. It’s really specialized now. Before I used to just go to the gym and work out and then work horses and what not, but over the last four or five years, I’ve fine-tuned my training through the winter to maximize what I need to get ready to be prepped for riding.”
Although her training sessions will help get her in shape for the new season, Wilson said nothing serves as a substitute for riding in races.
“I think every jockey can appreciate that getting fit to ride races is a difficult thing,” she said. “Really, riding races is what is going to get you in the best race riding shape possible, but I think this is about as ideal a workout routine that I’ve come up with that’s going to maximize and get me to the best shape possible.”
While Wilson kicked things off this weekend, she said she expects to make at least one more trip to Gulfstream Park before the championship meet ends on April 1. Wilson said she’s been in regular contact with her agent, Mike Luider, over the winter to figure out her schedule in the lead up to the Woodbine season.
“We figured we would plan the initial trip this past weekend and see how that went and what was required,” she said. “My agent, who’s been down in Florida for the whole winter, has had his feet on the ground with what’s been going on. We chatted a little bit about a couple of trips and it seemed like the beginning of March was the right timing to get started and get back in action.”
Wilson said she also made sure to check in with a number of Canadian connections during her visit to Florida, and plans to touch base with more in her future trips.
“We touched base with as many Canadian connections as we could,” she said. “We just had a chance to go to Palm Meadows for one day and saw a few of our Canadian clients there. We couldn’t see everybody in one trip. We had to stay close to Gulfstream because we rode a couple of earlier races. That traffic on I-95 can be a little challenging!”
Four Woodbine trainers made trips to the winner’s circle last week, led by Mark Casse, who recorded five winners, including Discovered (Mar. 9) and Determinant (Mar. 10) at Gulfstream Park, La Sola Ranger (Mar. 10) and Lucky Move (Mar. 11) at Fair Grounds, and Power Nap (Mar. 10) at Aqueduct. Casse also sent out a pair of Queen’s Plate contenders last week, including Flameaway, who ran second in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 10 at Tampa Bay Downs, and Telekinesis, who finished third in an allowance at Fair Grounds on March 9. Finally, Casse recorded a third-place finish with La Coronel in the Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 10 as one of seven stakes starters last week. 2017 Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile winner, World Approval, finished fifth in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes at Santa Anita on Mach 10.
Nick Mileni Jr. recorded a winner on March 9 at Penn National with Into the Mystic. Mileni’s other starter of the week, Im On It, finished 10th at Laurel Park on March 11.
John Simms hit the board with both of his starters at Tampa Bay Downs last week, as Sweet Deal was a five-length winner on March 11, and Gasparilla finished third on March 7.
William Tharrenos recorded a win from four starters at Gulfstream Park, as Stormbeam won the third race on March 7. Tharrenos also saddled Tiger Paw (sixth, Mar. 10), Remembering Mickey (seventh, Mar. 10), and Specialcnsydration (eighth, Mar. 11) last week.
Along with Wilson, five other Woodbine jockeys made trips to the winner’s circle last week, led by Rafael Hernandez, who picked up three winners from 13 starts at Aqueduct. Hernandez won aboard Prophet’s Cat on March 9, Power Nap on March 10, and Satin Sheets on March 11. Hernandez also recorded three runner-up finishes and a third-place finish last week.
Luis Contreras rode a pair of winners at Oaklawn Park last week, including Cash for the Soul on March 9 and Goats Town on March 11. Contreras also recorded two runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes from 10 starts.
Jermaine Bridgmohan also recorded a pair of wins last week at Sam Houston, as Kupuri won on March 7 and Real de Jalpa won on March 10. Bridgmohan had seven in-the-money finishes in all last week, as he also recorded a runner-up finish and four third-place finishes from 16 total mounts.
Ismael Mosqueira recorded a win aboard Here Comes Granny on March 6 at Turf Paradise. Mosqueira also recorded four runner-up finishes from 19 total starts during the week.
Kirk Johnson picked up a win and a third-place finish from six starts at Mahoning Valley last week, as Power Pop was victorious on March 5.
Sheena Ryan recorded a runner-up finish aboard Halfway Decent at Tampa Bay Downs on March 9.
Gary Boulanger rode Go Hippo Go to a fifth-place finish at Tampa Bay Downs on March 11.
Here’s a look at how the other Woodbine trainers fared last week, in alphabetical order, starting with Kevin Attard, who sent out a pair of runners at Gulfstream Park, including Sportscaster (sixth, Mar. 7) and Bee Quiet (ninth, Mar. 9).
Sid Attard hit the board with his only runner at Gulfstream Park last week, as Gold Lace finished third on March 11.
O’Kratos finished 11th in the Columbia Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 10 for Darwin Banach.
Ole Ole Ole finished eighth at Laurel Park on March 11 for Michael Blake.
Nick Caruso recorded a runner-up finish from two starters last week, as Arctic Mia finished second at Charles Town on March 9. Caruso’s other starter of the week, Bess’ Girl, finished sixth at Penn National on March 8.
He Started It finished fourth at Penn National on March 8 for Steven Chircop.
Nicholas Gonzalez sent out a trio of runners at Gulfstream Park last week, including Written (10th, Mar. 10), We Take Checks (fifth, Mar. 11) and Switchblade (fourth, Mar. 11).
Viva Forever finished fourth at Tampa Bay Downs on March 10 for Shane Learn.
Paula Loescher hit the board with her only starter last week, as Golden Pineapple finished second at Tampa Bay Downs on March 11.
Red Sails finished sixth at Gulfstream Park on March 11 for Michael McDonald.
Norm McKnight recorded a third-place finish from five starters at Oaklawn Park last week, as Villageofvibank finished third on March 9. McKnight’s other starters of the week included Money Talker (sixth, Mar. 8), Dan the Tin Man (seventh, Mar. 8), Supreme Commander (fourth, Mar. 9) and Prized Bourbon (fifth, Mar. 9).
Steve Owens sent out three runners at Gulfstream Park last week, including Leroids Mommie (seventh, Mar. 7), Head Hunter (fifth, Mar. 10), and Josie’s Riddle (seventh, Mar. 10).
Malcolm Pierce sent out Verboten to an eighth-place finish in the Columbia Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 10.
Ventina finished fifth at Gulfstream Park on March 11 for Daniel Vella.
Michael Wright sent out a pair of runners at Tampa Bay Downs last week, including Laser Focus (ninth, Mar. 10) and Nonno (sixth, Mar. 11).