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The call to the post for the first race of 2009 at Woodbine.
Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto kicked off its 53rd season of Thoroughbred racing on Saturday April 4th with a 10-race card. Conditions were less than ideal for the 2009 opening, as horses and riders faced a stiff headwind through the homestretch of 39 with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, with temperatures in the high 30's.
Mullins Beach starts to draw off in the stretch over Sans Sousi and High Mist inthe La Voyageuse Stakes.
Soon after the start, 7-1 Mullins Beach and 6-1 Sans Souci went for the early lead and battled through the first 1/2 mile through fractions of 22.24 and 45.99. At the 3/16 pole, jockey Patrick Husbands urged Mullins Beach, who found another gear and pulled away through the final furling to win going away by 3 3/4 lengths in 58.59. Sans Souci held off late-running favorite High Mist for third place by a nose.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Mullins Beach Husbands 15.90 7.20 4.10 3 Sans Sousi Sutherland 7.00 3.80 2 High Mist McAleney 2.60 Winning Time: 0:58.59 $2 Exacta 5-3 81.90 $2 Trifecta 5-3-2 283.80Results chart
Left: Mullins Beach in the winner's circle with trainer Malcolm Pierce on the left. Sally Pierce, assistant to winning trainer Malcolm Pierce said, "When she broke from the gate in her last race the Mardi Gras at Fair Grounds), she was slow. That helped her get back into gear and remember what to do."
Right: Mullins Beach returns after the race. Winning jockey Patrick Husbands, who won 3 races on opening day, said, "I really didn't want to be where she was, but she broke so sharp. I left her alone. She ran a big race."
Left: Second place finisher Sans Souci in the post parade. Sans Souci pressed the pace to the inside of Mullins Beach early under new jockey Chantal Sutherland, but ran on to save second place money. The Mike Doyle trainee improved her record to 1 win, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 9 starts, earning $155,451 for owner-breeder Eaton Hall Farm and M.J. Doyle Racing Stables.
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite High Mist in the post parade. 7-5 favorite High Mist had early speed to press the pace under new jockey Jim McAleney, but backed off on the turn and came on again late to finish third. The Reade Baker trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 5 starts, earning $176,420 for owners N.C. Stables and Wendy Anderson.
The horses break from the gate for the 2009 season opener at Woodbine.
Retired jockey Robert King, national secretary-manager of the Jockeys' Benefit Association of Canada, expressed approval saying, "We want a quiet, heavy gate. The stalls are snug, so a horse has less a chance to misbehave and one that acts up in a stall in the aluminum models could cause chain reactions three and four stalls away. The gate is simply superior to other models out there. The horsemen and the jocks will love it."
In the season opener, a $10,000 claimer for older non-winners of two, 3-1 third choice Flashy N Classy, who stalked the pace set by 2-1 favorite Theboyscanwin through a wind-aided first quarter of 21.62, took over the lead at the 3/16 pole and won going away by 1 3/4 lengths over late-running 5-2 second choice Master Manipulator. The running time was 59.13 seconds for the 5 furlong sprint over the Polytrack.
Winning jockey Chantal Sutherland said, "It feels really cold and really windy. At 5 furlongs, I just try and get them out of the gate and get them in front. The wind was so strong down the stretch once I got the lead I was hoping they couldnít catch me."
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