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Woodbine Winter Watch: Barb Minshall and Declan Carroll

February 21, 2023

TORONTO, February 21, 2023 – Each week, in the lead-up to Opening Day (April 22) of the 2023 Woodbine Thoroughbred season, the Woodbine Communications department will spotlight Woodbine-based horses and horse people ahead of the new season.

From horses on the King’s Plate trail, to Woodbine trainers and jockeys sharing their views on 2022 and the upcoming campaign, to some of the stars to keep tabs on 2023, the Woodbine Winter Watch will cover key players, horses and horse people, at Canada’s Showplace of Racing.

In this week’s report, trainer Barbara Minshall speaks about her 2022 campaign and looks ahead to the upcoming 2023 Woodbine season.

Inside Track: Barb Minshall

  • Top horses include Mt. Sassafras, Kiridashi, Strut the Course, Stephanotis, Stacked Deck, Bold Ruritana, Raw Power, Admiralty Pier, British Royalty, Dreaming of Drew   
  • Finished sixth in the Woodbine standings in purse earnings ($975,915 at Woodbine). Minshall horses earned $1,084,060 overall in 2022. It was the second time in the past three years the champion conditioner reached the seven-figure mark in purse earnings. Dreaming of Drew won the Long Branch and Belle Mahone Stakes, was runner-up in the Grade 3 Trillium and third in the Grade 3 Whimsical. British Artillery finished second in both the Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup and Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes.
Barb Minshall trainees readying in the U.S. ahead of the upcoming 2023 Woodbine racing season
Barb Minshall trainees readying in the U.S. ahead of the upcoming 2023 Woodbine racing season

Barb Minshall trainees readying in the U.S. ahead of the upcoming 2023 Woodbine racing season

The 2022 season

“I thought we had a pretty good year, especially in the purse earnings number. Unfortunately, we had a few horses get hurt, including Botta Swing. That always hurts when you lose a nice filly early in the year, but she is doing really well and will be back as a 3-year-old. She’s training very well. Dreaming of Drew had a really good year as well and raced well throughout. I think, overall, we had a pretty good year. Money-wise, it was successful, but it typically never plays out as you hope.”

Looking ahead

“We have some young horses that we are hoping do well in 2023. We have nice Ontario-bred babies, a Hard Spun colt, a Speightster colt and an Exaggerator colt.  It’s obviously too early to speculate on how they will do, but I’m definitely looking forward to developing them, getting them ready for the races and going from there. I was at Travis Durr’s training centre [in South Carolina] and they are all looking good. I’m always on the look for the new, young horses to add to the stable, as well as focusing on moving the other ones along that we have.”

Moving forward

“I have some that are three now that we hope can do well. The young ones, it’s too early to say at this point who is standing out. We like what we are seeing, but there’s a lot that still has to happen before you get them to their first race. Fortyfiveseventy, a horse I also own, she raced well last year (1-2-2 from seven starts), so we’re looking forward to her. She should come back and have a good year. British Artillery got hurt in the Cup and Saucer, but nothing he couldn’t recover from. I gave him the rest of the year off and we’re hoping he can come back and do well too. Bringer of Rain will be back as a 4-year-old, and I expect him to move forward. There are some other horses that I think will come around as well, including for a new group of owners to Woodbine, Legion Bloodstock Group.”

Dreaming of Dew and jockey Kazushi Kimura winning the Belle Mahone Stakes on June 5, 2022 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Dreaming of Drew and jockey Kazushi Kimura winning the Belle Mahone Stakes on June 5, 2022 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Finish line

“After recently seeing some of the horses at Travis’, watching them train, you drive back pretty excited. I really enjoy working and developing the young horses. It’s very rewarding when you have those happy, healthy horses, and guide them along in their career.”

Jock Talk: Declan Carroll

Stat pack 

  • 180 career wins
  • 7 stakes victories
  • Top horses include 2022 Sovereign Award finalist Sir for Sure, Gran Spirited, Millie Girl, and Pyron
  • Won four stakes in 2022, including the Plate Trial and Breeders’ Stakes with Sir for Sure, and the Simcoe with Gran Spirited
Declan Carroll holding the Breeders' Stakes trophy in Woodbine's winner's circle on October 2, 2022 (Michael Burns Photo)
Declan Carroll holding the Breeders’ Stakes trophy in Woodbine’s winner’s circle on October 2, 2022 (Michael Burns Photo)

First impressions

“Last year, it was our first season at Woodbine. I went into the meet without any set expectations. When you’re coming in as a new rider, you’re just trying to break in, get your name out there and show that you can ride with everybody. [Jockey agent] Gary Kemplen started me off and helped me out. I’m very grateful for Gary to have taken my book at first and given me the opportunity as a new rider. I ended up switching agents to Jordan Miller, who also represents Kazushi Kimura and Sofia Vives. I was lucky enough to have some nice winners and to ride some very nice horses for big-name trainers, like Mr. [Mark] Casse. I was able to win the Plate Trial and Breeders’ Stakes with his Sir for Sure, which were both amazing moments, and the Simcoe Stakes with Gran Spirted, also trained by Mr. Casse. It’s nice when you are able to put those wins on your resume and I believe it can act as a big boost for this season.”

Top-notch colony

“There is a fantastic group of riders at Woodbine. I knew a few of the riders there, but not many, and there are some great people and riders at Woodbine. Emma-Jayne Wilson has done well in Florida, and Kazushi [Kimura] has been doing great in California, and Sahin [Civaci] is riding well in Texas. It just goes to show our riders at Woodbine can go other places in the winter and do very well. People might think you do well at Woodbine, but in the winter, it’s about waiting for the track to start up again. I think the talent level at Woodbine is really showing this winter. It’s great to see everyone do so well and doing it in new places. I think Woodbine should get more respect from other racetracks in North America.”

Sir for Sure and jockey Declan Carroll winning the Breeders' Stakes on October 2, 2022 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Sir for Sure and jockey Declan Carroll winning the Breeders’ Stakes on October 2, 2022 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

New goals

“Jordan and I speak every week and talk about the things we’d like to achieve and get done. Obviously, we have our goals that we talk about, but I don’t go into the year thinking, ‘I’ve got to hit this mark or that mark.’ I just go in with the mindset that I can outride anyone. You need the horsepower to do that, along with a little luck, but I think I have the right team behind me to do that. I’m hoping we can show that this season.”

Finish line

“My biggest thing is that I’m an avid runner. Aside from the working out part, I really enjoy getting out and running. It takes away from the stresses of the job, and you just get to enjoy being outdoors. Other times, you can take a little trip here and there, somewhere quiet. It’s a demanding sport, so anything quiet, where you can just shut things down for a while is good.”

Declan Carroll for Woodbine
Declan Carroll for Woodbine

2022 Race Rewind:

Watch Sir for Sure and Declan Carroll take the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes on October 2, 2022.

Click here ( to watch the race.

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms


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