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Trainer Carolyn Costigan leads Roan Inish to the winner's circle after the Woodbine Oaks
The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser is the most important race for 3-year-old fillies foaled in Canada. A field of 8 went 1 1/8 miles over the Polytrack on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, under overcast skies and temperatures in the low 70's. Todd Pletcher trainee Embur's Song, undefeated in 2 starts, a maiden at Keeneland followed by an allowance at Woodbine, was sent off as the 2-5 favorite. In to challenge her included 5-1 second choice Resentless, winner of two consecutive races, the Ontario Lassie in November followed by the Fury Stakes in May, and 6-1 third choice Ernfold, second in the La Lorgnette last time out.
Embur's Song (rail), Roan Inish, and Moment of Majesty (outside) battle in the stretch.
When the gate opened, jockey Garrett Gomez sent Embur's Song to the lead and she opened up a 1 1/2 length advantage on the field, through fractions of 23.93, 47.92, and 1:12.26. Resentless and jockey Chantal Sutherland stalked the favorite in second just to her outside for the first 3/4 mile. Entering the stretch, Embur's Song again opened up on the field, drawing away to a 2 1/2 length advantage at the 1/8 pole through 1 mile in 1:37.48. 12-1 Roan Inish in the center and 24-1 Moment of Majesty rallied from 6th and 7th respectively, passing Embur's Song inside the 70 yard pole. Roan Inish held off Moment of Majesty by a head in 1:50.53. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to pacesetter and favorite Embur's Song third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Roan Inish Moran 25.80 7.80 4.00 7 Moment of Majesty Landry 14.50 5.30 6 Embur's Song Gomez 2.10 Winning Time: 1:50.53 $2 Exacta 3-7 339.00 $2 Trifecta 3-7-6 968.70 $1 Superfecta 3-7-6-5 4,116.40
Left: Roan Inish in the winner's circle with trainer Carolyn Costigan at his hip and owner Robert Costigan on the far left. Her trainer Carolyn Costigan said, "As soon as she sees something in front of her, it's the same as her mother (Inish Glora), her mother actually idled when she got in front. It's those horses that you're looking for. You can't buy heart. They're the types you try to breed to. You know those horses aren't going to have an off-day, they're not going to be moody or bothered about the weather. They know what it is to race. They want to put their nose in front. That's what she does.
Right: Roan Inish gets hosed off before heading to the barn.
Left: Jockey Davy Moran poses with the Woodbine Oaks trophy. Moran said, "She ran really tough. Queen's Plate here we go! The farther we go, the better. She is as genuine as you can get. She has a big engine. She's very sweet and genuine and very easy to ride. She fights you a little bit before, and hits a flat spot. When she gets straightened up and you can get a couple of backhanders into her, she takes off."
Right: Roan Inish in the paddock before the race.
Left: Roan Inish in the post parade. Trainer Carolyn Costigan said, "It'll be a year since my first start, in October. It's exciting. I've met the right people. I've learned from the right people. I'm very lucky the people who I've met have taken an interest in teaching, from Jim Bolger to Sheikh Mohammed's program (Darley Flying Start). I'm very thankful." Asked if Roan Inish would take on males in the Queen's Plate, she added, "We'll go back to the barn and see how she is. She's a horse that loves a dog-fight. I'm betting she's probably feeling very good about herself. If it's right for her, we'll look at taking on the boys. It all goes back to the horse."
Right: Roan Inish gets her blanket of flowers after the race.
Left: Second place finisher Moment of Majesty in the post parade. Her jockey Robert Landry said, "She ran a tremendous race. She absolutely ran her heart out today. I had a perfect trip. I thought we were going to get there, but Roan Inish dug in, too. I was so impressed with my horse, just very proud of her. I would have loved to have won this race for Sue (Leslie, trainer and co-owner), Don (Meehan, co-owner) and Curtis Joseph (breeder and co-owner)."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Embur's Song leads first time by. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "It took Garrett (Gomez) about a 1/4 mile, 3/8 mile to get her to settle. As soon as he got her to relax, she got some pressure on the backside. I thought she might be able to shake it off, but she just got a little tired the last 1/16 mile. She was a little tired from being too eager early on. If we could have got her to relax just a touch, it could have been the difference. But it wasn't a bad effort from her. She came back well. She seems to like the track here at Woodbine. If we can work on getting her to relax a little bit, it's worth taking a shot (at the Queen's Plate)."
Left: Big Red Mike in the winner's circle. His trainer Nick Gonzalez said, "It looked like it was a race without a lot of speed in it. Even though we tried to get him to relax in the morning, it didn't look like it was time to do that today, so we tried to let him run his own race, and he did it."
Right: Big Red Mike tossed jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva in the post parade. Da Silva said, "He was walking so relaxed outside, but once he came inside the track, he turned to, 'I'm the Man.' I really loved that. He is just a great horse. He is very comfortable. We did just a nice pace. The horse that came beside me (Mobilizer), he is a very, very, nice horse, but this horse fought so hard. I am very proud of him."
Kicking off the stakes action on Woodbine Oaks day was the $100,000 Alywow Stakes for 3-year-old fillies sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Jockey Garrett Gomez sent 4-1 Platinum Exchange to the front soon after the start and she set quick fractions of 22.90 and 45.63 with 15-1 Sharp Secretary stalking her in second. In the stretch, Sharp Secretary poked her head in front but the fast pace set the race up for a closer. 12-1 Somme, 9th early, came through between horses at the 1/16 pole to get up by 1/2 a length over Platinum Exchange in 1:15.42 over the firm course. It was just a nose back to favorite 2-1 No Explaining third.
Her trainer Josie Carroll said, "We thought she'd certainly improve on the turf, but this is just a wonderful family that the Saparas have bred. Three generations of stakes winners. They're just all heart, all courage, so wherever you put them, they're going to try. I said to Patrick (Husbands) in the paddock that this race was going to be all about timing. There was some speed in front of him, but I knew she had the kind of finish she needed."
Full results chart from DRF
The trophy was presented to King by Jacqui Gomez, daughter of Avelino Gomez. Accepting the trophy, he said, "When I received the phone call telling me I had won the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, I was truly humbled. To have my name associated with one of the most talented riders and colorful characters the sport has ever seen, is a wonderful feeling. Almost one year ago, I was here at Woodbine, one of the top racetracks in North America, to win the Woodbine Oaks with Milwaukee Appeal, a huge highlight for me. And now I'm back to accept this great honor. When I look at the list of riders who have won this award, it truly puts it all into perspective."
Left is Jacqui Gomez presenting the trophy to Stewart Elliott. To the right, Stewart poses with his agent Robbie Martel and parents Dennis and Myhill.
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