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2024 Highlander Stakes Day


Filo Di Arianna heads to the winner's circle after the Highlander Stakes.
Date: 6/29/2024

There were five graded stakes at Woodbine on Saturday, billed as the Canada Day Racing Festival, headlined by the $200,000 bet365 Highlander Stakes (G2) for older horses sprinting 6 furlongs on the main E.P. Taylor turf course. Rain fell early in the card but stopped well before the stakes races, which were conducted under partly cloudy skies and a high temperature of 27.1 C (80.8 F), with wind gusts of 38 km/h (24 MPH). The rain did downgrade the E.P. Taylor turf course to "good". Last year's runner-up Oceanic was sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 8 off an allowance win at Keeneland in April. In to challenge him included 2-1 second choice Filo Di Arianna, second in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill before disappointing 7th in the Jaipur (G1) at Saratoga, and 11-2 third choice Witty, second in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico.

Filo Di Arianna rallies down the center in the stretch.

Jockey Sahin Civaci sent 17-1 Step Forward to the lead through early fractions of 23.72 and 46.40 while pressed by Filo Di Arianna and stalked by Witty. Turning for home, Filo Di Arianna gained the lead through 5f in 47.65. Kept to task by Kazushi Kimura, Filo Di Arianna drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Witty in 1:09.75. It was another 1/2 length back to Step Forward third, and a neck more to favorite Oceanic fourth.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey              Win   Place  Show
 6   Filo Di Arianna    Kimura             6.30    3.50  2.80
 9   Witty              Hernandez                  5.20  3.70
 8   Step Forward       Civaci                           8.00
  	 
Winning Time:  1:09.75

$1 Exacta 6-9                14.80
$2 Trifecta 6-9-8           298.80
$2 Superfecta 6-9-8-3     1,145.00
Results chart

Left: Filo Di Arianna in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Kazushi Kimura said, "He's been fighting with really nice horses. Today I was more comfortable and confident. He's a quality horse."

Right: Filo Di Arianna heads back to the barn.

Left: Second place finisher Witty in the paddock before the race. The Elizabeth Merryman trainee improved his record to 8 wins, 9 seconds, and 0 thirds in 23 starts, earning $614,503 for owners Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel, and Elizabeth Merryman.

Right: Third place finisher Step Forward in the post parade. The Mark Casse trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 0 seconds, and 3 thirds in 10 starts, earning $133,695 for owner Gary Barber.


Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Oceanic heads out from the paddock. The Jordan Blair trainee has a record of 5 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 29 starts, earning $433,943 for owner Surfside Stables.



Essex Serpent wins the Marine Stakes (G3)
The $150,000 HPIbet Marine Stakes (G3) features three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta main track. This is considered a major prep for the King's Plate however as a graded stake it is not restricted to Canadian-breds. Grey Stakes (G2) and Coronation Futurity runner-up Piper's Factor was sent off as the 11-10 favorite in the field of 7 over 5-2 second choice Cameo Performance, 5th in the Audubon Stakes at Churchill, and 11-2 third choice Essex Serpent, runner-up in the Queenston Stakes.

13-1 Babbo was quickest away through an opening quarter of 23.45 before jockey Patrick Husbands moved Essex Serpent to the lead entering the backstretch through a half in 47.14 and 3/4 in 1:10.69 pressed by Babbo and stalked by 7-1 Native Land. Turning for home Essex Serpent opened up a 1 1/2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:36.00. Kept to task by Husbands, Essex Serpent easily held off late-running Cameo Performance to win by 1 length in 1:43.03. It was another length back to 13-1 Midnight Mascot third, while favorite Piper's Factor failed to rally from 4th early and finished 5th beaten 6 3/4 lengths.

Results chart

Left: Essex Serpent in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Patrick Husbands said, "I knew I was on the best horse and I rode him like he was the best horse. Sid (Attard's) horse (Babbo) is a speed horse and my horse comes with a sprint and I could see what (jockey Eswan Flores) was doing and then by the five-eighths pole I could see him easing back and I say 'Hey I'm driving a Jag, man.'"

Right: Essex Serpent gets hosed off by assistant trainer David Adams. Asked about his Plate chances, Husbands added, "Let the horse talk."

Left: Second place finisher Cameo Performance heads out from the paddock. The Brendan Walsh trainee improved his record to 1 win, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 4 starts, earning $89,471 for owners Fergus Galvin and Marc Detampel.

Right: Third place finisher Midnight Mascot returns after the race. The Mark Casse trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 8 starts, earning $173,873 for owners Manfred and Penny Conrad.

Left: Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Piper's Factor returns after the race. The Katerina Vassilieva trainee has a record of 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 8 starts, earning $144,942 for owner-breeder Chiefswood Stables.

Right: The horses break from the gate for the Marine Stakes.



Sabatini wins the Selene Stakes (G3)
Kicking off the Saturday stakes quintet was the $150,000 Selene Stakes (G3) featuring a field of 7 three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta. It is considered a major prep for the Woodbine Oaks but like the Marine, is not restricted to Canadian breds. Ruling Angel Stakes winner Witwatersrand was sent off as the 1-2 favorite over 9-2 second choice Sabatini, winner of the Star Shoot but second in the Ruling Angel, and 15-2 third choice Golden Ghost, 7th in the Soaring Softly (G3) at Aqueduct last out.

Jockey Rafael Hernandez sent 17-2 fourth choice Waves of Mischief to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.98 and 47.62 while pressed by 26-1 Red Samurai and stalked by Sabatini. On the far turn Waves of Mischief tired allowing Red Samurai to inherit the lead through 3/4 in 1:11.65 before also tiring. Sabatini, confidently ridden by Sofia Vives, swept to the lead at the top of the stretch and drew off to win by 2 lengths over late-running 11-1 Crevalle d'Oro in 1:43.02. It was another 3 3/4 lengths back to favorite Witwatersrand third.

Results chart

Left: Sabatini in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Sofia Vives said, "It's such a good feeling to have such an honest, trying filly and a good barn backing us and great owners. Hopefully, we can get many more together. I had a lot of confidence in this horse. I have a lot of confidence in the barn. And they always bring the horses over at 110 per cent."

Right: Sabatini gets hosed off after the race. Winning trainer Josie Carroll said, "First couple of works, she wowed us from the start. You know, just if you look at her physically, she's outstanding looking, and her turn of foot was unbelievable. Great demeanor, great mind. She's just got all the parts. Her pedigree said she would (stretch out). I thought the only way you're going to find out is to come on over and we'll find out."

Left: Second place finisher Crevalle d'Oro returns after the race. The Mark Casse trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 8 starts, earning $130,100 for owners Blue Crevalle Racing and Quintessential Racing Florida.

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Witwatersrand heads out from the paddock. The Mark Casse trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 0 seconds, and 2 thirds in 7 starts, earning $164,422 for owner Gary Barber.


The horses break from the gate for the Selene Stakes.



Paramount Prince wins the Dominion Day Stakes (G3)
The $150,000 Dominion Day Stakes (G3), traditionally run on Canada Day, featured a field of 9 older horses going 1 1/8 miles on the Tapeta. Last year's winner Tyson was sent off as the 9-5 favorite off his second place finish in the Eclipse Stakes (G2). In to challenge him included 9-4 second choice Paramount Prince, last year's King's Plate winner and off a 3rd place finish in the Eclipse, and 7-2 third choice Palazzi, winner of the Eclipse.

Jockey Patrick Husbands sent Paramount Prince to the lead first time by and he set easy fractions of 24.83, 49.47, and 1:12.93 while pressed by 10-1 Stanley House and stalked by Tyson. Turning for home Paramount Prince left the field behind, opening up a 4 1/2 length advantage through 1 mile in 1:36.27, and finishing 3 3/4 lengths in front of Stanley House in 1:49.35. It was another 1/2 length back to late-running 24-1 Wicked Django third, while favorite Tyson tired late to finish 6th beaten 6 1/2 lengths.

Results chart

Left: Paramount Prince in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Patrick Husbands said, "He's all speed, you know? And he has a very high cruising speed. As long as you don't play with him, he will give you everything. Even in the morning, he has so much fun. He's very keen and happy."

Right: Paramount Prince gets hosed off by assistant trainer David Adams. Husbands added, "He's just getting better and better."

Left: Second place finisher favorite Stanley House in the post parade. The Mike DePaulo trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 4 seconds, and 1 third in 12 starts, earning $269,743 for owners John and Diana Russell.

Right: Third place finisher Wicked Django returns after the race. The Krista Cole trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 7 starts, earning $115,338 for owner Ryan Brewster.

Left: Sixth place finisher and beaten favorite Tyson heads out from the paddock. The Josie Carroll trainee has a record of 4 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 10 starts, earning $378,548 for owner-breeders Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Stretch Run Ventures.

Right: The start of the Dominion Day Stakes.



Implicated wins the Nassau Stakes (G2)
Closing out the stakes quintet, the $175,000 Nassau Stakes (G2) featured a field of 10 older fillies and mares going 1 mile around one turn of the E.P. Taylor turf course. 2023 Canadian Horse of the Year Fev Rover was sent off as the 9-10 favorite off a disappointing 6th place finish in the New York Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. In to challenge her included 11-2 second choice Implicated off an allowance win at Churchill after finishing 4th in the Endeavour at Tampa Bay, and 10-1 third choice Millie Girl, 5th in teh Belle Mahone (G3).

Jockey Rafael Hernandez sent 10-1 Full Count Felicia to the lead through fractions of 24.38, 47.13, and 1:10.52 while pressed by 25-01 Safeen and stalked by 13-1 Fast as Flight. Into the stretch Full Count Felicia continued to lead through 7f in 1:22.70 before tiring. Implicated, 5th early under Declan Cannon came out 4 wide to take over inside the 1/8 pole and drew off to win buy 1 3/4 lengths over late-running favorite Fev Rover in 1:35.50. It was a head back to 19-2 Millie Girl third.

Results chart

Left: Implicated in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Declan Cannon said, "Everything panned out great today. Brendan (Walsh, trainer) and his team did a fabulous job. Had this race picked out for a while, and it all worked out today."

Right: Implicated heads back to the barn. Cannon added, "With this being such a long stretch, I just wanted to ride her with confidence, like she was the best horse in the race. And when I really asked her at the eighth pole, just took her a little while to get organized, but I think that was just because of the ground as well, and I didn't want to rush her and get her unorganized, and she came home strong."

Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Fev Rover heads out from the paddock. The Mark Casse trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 5 seconds, and 3 thirds in 22 starts, earning $1,315,234 for owner Tracy Farmer.

Right: Third place finisher Millie Girl returns after the race. The Catherine Day-Phillips trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 4 thirds in 13 starts, earning $380,625 for owners Kingfield Racing Stable, Braconcrest Inc., and Apricot Valley Thoroughbreds.

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