TORONTO, June 2, 2021 – Each week, in the lead-up to Opening Day of the 2021 Woodbine Thoroughbred season, we’ll follow some of the top storylines of key horses and horsepeople, and also share other important news, notes and highlights.
From horses on the Queen’s Plate trail, to horses to keep tabs on ahead of the upcoming Woodbine season, to catching up with Woodbine jockeys and trainers, the weekly report keeps racing fans and the racing community in the loop.
In this week’s report, David Moran looks to continue his winning ways in 2021, Lucky Currency is money for trainer Don MacRae, Ones To Watch, and revisiting a Chart-busting effort in the 2020 Ontario Colleen Stakes.
My First Woodbine Win:
Date: August 26, 1998
Horse: Lucky Currency
Race: 6 ½ furlongs on the main track
Margin of victory: 2 lengths
$2 Win payout: $19.50
Owner: Don MacRae and Robert Saviola
Breeder: P.E.L. Racing Stable
Road trip: “We were training down at Fort Erie and I had bought her privately the fall before. Someone called me and let me know she was for sale. So, we ended buying her and gave her the winter off. We shipped up from Fort Erie and it was always a big thing to go to Woodbine.”
Say it loud: “I remember her coming off the turn and kicking on. She won by a couple lengths that day. When you get that first win, it doesn’t matter if they’re five in front or they’re head-bobbing… you’re still screaming like a fool. It’s a good feeling. It’s one of those feelings you never forget. You get stars in your eyes and you cherish those moments forever.”
‘Lucky’ charms: “She was a gem to be around. I think we ended up winning four or five races her. She ended up getting claimed from us. She was just a kind filly. My buddy Des McMahon, who now works for [Woodbine trainer] Josie Carroll, he used to get on her every day. I had a small stable then, so we were able to spend a lot of time with each horse, and get the best out of each one.”
Every win counts: “As a trainer, you can go 0-for-5 or 0-for-7 on the weekend, but if you win the last one on Sunday that’s what stays with you when you wake up the next morning. We’re in an industry where we lose a lot more than we’ll win, so as trainers, I think we really do appreciate when that win comes along.”
Jock Talk: David Moran
Riding the wave: “Last year was a shorter year, but it was a good year, and I was still fortunate enough to ride plenty of winners. I rode some very nice horses for a lot of trainers, including Barb Minshall, Mike Keogh, Mike Doyle and Mike De Paulo, horses that can hopefully step up again this year. I’m looking forward to riding City Boy for Mike Keogh and some good ones that other trainers have.”
Quick out of the gate: “For all the riders, the goal is to find the good horses and try to win stakes. My goal is to ride as many winners as I can. The key is to hopefully get off to a good start and keep the ball rolling. If you can get into a good rhythm early, owners and trainers take notice, and you can keep things rolling throughout the season. One good horse finds another good horse. For some reason, it seems to fall that way. If you’re on a good run then horses will follow.”
Last and one and first one?: “I can’t wait to race again. I won the last race at Woodbine in 2020, so at least I can say that my last ride was a winner. Everyone here at Woodbine is itching to go. It’s been tough that it’s been postponed a few times, but you look forward to that first race, to get back into the swing of things.”
Family matters: “We do a lot together as a family. Over the winter, we cleaned off the pond on the property, and after school the kids went out and played hockey and skated for hours every day. My boys, they ride ponies, so they are over at April LeBlanc’s farm [Shadowy Hills] most days of the week. We were lucky in that we were able to do those kinds of things, to be able to spend some quality time as a family. The kids keep one another pretty entertained.”
Ones to Watch:
From Canadian Thoroughbred’s Jennifer Morrison…
Woodbine racing fans will get their first look at the stars of the future when two-year-old racing begins opening weekend of the 2021 season.
One trainer whose juveniles have been lighting up the work tab in recent weeks is Ralph Biamonte, traditionally an excellent hand with young horses. In 2020, Biamonte, who has won over 1,100 races, prepared the filly Dirty Dangle to win her career debut and then the Woodbine Cares Stakes, before selling the filly to Gary Barber and Eclipse Thoroughbreds.
Keep an eye out for the grey filly Baksheesh. The Ontario-bred by Summer Front was purchased by Mary Ellen Biamonte at the 2020 CTHS Ontario sale for $18,000 and has had a number of good workout times including a four-furlong prep May 30 on the Tapeta in 47 3/5 with another Biamonte juvenile, Mizz Gemma.
The colt Heat Merchant may be worth a bet too when he makes his first start. This guy is from the first crop of foals for the very fast millionaire Kobe’s Back, and Heat Merchant also worked a quick four furlongs on May 30, in 47 2/5.
2020 Race Rewind:
Watch as Chart tops the chart in thrilling fashion in the Grade 3 $125,000 Ontario Colleen Stakes, on August 29, 2020.
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