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2023 Woodbine Oaks Day


Sahin Civaci celebrates aboard Elysian Field after winning the Woodbine Oaks.

Date: 7/23/2023

Sunday at Woodbine, the two major local preps for the Queen's Plate Stakes, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, were contested over the Tapeta main track. The four stakes races were contested during rainshowers with a daytime high temperature of 25 C (77 F). The highlight race of the afternoon was the 68th running of the $500,000 Budweiser Woodbine Oaks, featuring top Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles, kicking off the Triple Tiara series. A full field of 14 faced the starter, with Ticker Tape Home sent off as the 2-1 favorite off her Fury Stakes win after disappointing in 7th in the Florida Oaks (G3). In to challenge her included 7-2 second choice Big Brass Bed off a fourth place finish in a Belmont Park allowance, and 11-2 third choice Elysian Field, second in the Fury last out.

Down the stretch with Elysian Field taking the lead in the center.

11-1 Fashionably Fab and 126-1 Friends for Life battled for the lead through fractions of 24.02, 46.96, and 1:11.29 while stalked by Ticker Tape Hope and 51-1 Fortyfiveseventy. Turning for home the pacesetters tired as Elysian Field, 7th early, came out 6 wide to sweep to the lead through 1 mile in 1:36.91. Kept to task by Sahin Civaci, Elysian Field drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths over late-running 6-1 Wickenheiser in 1:49.83. It was another 3/4 length back to Fortyfiveseventy third, while favorite Ticker Tape Home checked in fifth beaten 5 1/4 lengths.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place   Show
 3   Elysian Field      Civaci       13.60    6.00   4.60
10   Wickenheiser       Kimura                6.40   4.20 
 8   Fortyfiveseventy   Munger                      15.90

Winning Time:  1:49.78
 
$1 Exacta 3-10                   38.10
$0.20 Trifecta 3-10-8           120.29
$0.20 Superfecta 3-10-8-14    1,075.73
Results Chart

Left: Elysian Field in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mark Casse said, "Gary [Barber] owns a part and he's game. I want to talk to Barry Irwin from Team Valor, but she's a big, strong filly and I'm extremely happy how we get a month between the Oaks and The King's Plate, so that's important. Three weeks is tough, so now we get four weeks, and I don't see why she wouldn't."

Right: The trophy presentation for the Woodbine Oaks with trainer Mark Casse on the far right.

Left: Elysian Field gets her flower blanket. Winning jockey Sahin Civaci said, "Honestly, the horse was great. I just had a good trip overall, and she came running."

Right: Elysian Field heads back to the barn. Casse added, "We bought her a month or two after her first start at Saratoga and we had her here for about two days and she went into the clinic for about a week, almost a little touch and go, colic. I think it took its' toll and we brought her home and she's got bigger and stronger. She's beautiful."

Left: Second place finisher Wickenheiser races in 13th position first time by. The Kevin Attard trainee improved her record to 1 win, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 6 starts, earning $170,739 for owners Clay Scherer, Al and Bill Ulwelling, and Kevin Attard.

Right: Third place finisher Fortyfiveseventy races in second first time by. She improved her record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 11 starts, earning $145,349 for owner-trainer Barbara Minshall.

Left: Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Ticker Tape Home. The Mark Casse trainee has a record of 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 9 starts, earning $148,355 for owner Live Oak Plantation.

Right: The fillies break from the gate for the Woodbine Oaks.


An hour before the Oaks, a field of 12 Canadian-foaled three-year-old males also went 1 1/8 miles in the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes, the major local prep for the Queen's Plate to be run in 4 weeks time. Allowance winner Stanley House was sent off as the even money favorite. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Philip My Dear, third in the Coronation Futurity but 8th in the Queenston Stakes last out, and 19-2 third choice Tiburon off his maiden win at second asking.

Jockey Patrick Husbands sent 12-1 Paramount Prince to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 23.83, 48.58, and 1:12.93 while pressed by 80-1 Forest Buzz and stalked by 45-1 Velocitor and 85-1 Gran Spirited. Into the stretch Paramount Prince continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:37.40. Kept to task by Husbands, Paramount Prince drew off to win by 5 lengths over late-running 19-1 Cool Kiss in 1:49.99. It was a head back to 16-1 Twin City third, while favorite Stanley House was slowest away and failed to rally finishing 6th beaten 7 1/4 lengths.
Results Chart

Left: Paramount Prince in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Patrick Husbands said, "Looking at the [Daily] Racing Form, it was fun for me. Looking at the race, seeing how it would unfold, all the trainers are going to say, 'Take back' and I can get everything my way. And the race unfolded that way."

Right: Paramount Prince a drink of water after the race. Winning breeder Ericka Rusnak said, "A dream come true, an absolute dream come true. I was just hoping he would hold on and he kept pulling away. Just having a horse being talked about in the same sentence as the King's Plate, this is a dream come true." Trainer Mark Casse added, "I think maybe we got to see what he wants to do and that's he wants to get into stride, and then he'll run all day."

Left: Second place finisher Cool Kiss races in 11th first time by. The Mike DePaulo trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 8 starts, earning $124,454 for owners Newtop Stables, John Russell, and Joseph DePaulo.

Right: Third place finisher Twin City returns after the race. The Stuart Simon trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 4 seconds, and 1 third in 8 starts, earning $209,914 for owners Brent, Russell, and Roy McLellan.

Left: Sixth place finisher and beaten favorite Stanley House in the post parade. The Mike DePaulo trainee has a record of 2 wins, 3 seconds, and 0 thirds in 7 starts, earning $128,009 for owners John and Diana Russell.

Right: The horses break from the gate for the Plate Trial.


The $175,000 Bulleit Bourbon Connaught Cup (G2) featured a field of 9 older horses sprinting 7 furlongs on the E.P. Taylor turf course in an early prep for the Woodbine Mile. Churchtown was sent off as the 2-1 favorite off second place finishes in the Appleton at Gulfstream and Opening Verse at Churchill Downs. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Lucky Score, winner of the Highlander (G2), and 9-2 third choice Bound for Nowhere off a 4th place finish in a Churchill Downs allowance in May.

Jockey Declan Carroll sent 40-1 longest shot Roaring Forties to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 22.92 and 45.23 while pressed by 10-1 Dream Shake and stalked by Bound for Nowhere. Turning for home, Roaring Forties tired allowing Dream Shake to inherit the lead through 3/4 in 1:08.33. Kept to task by Rafael Hernandez, Dream Shake held off late-running 13-1 War Bomber to win by a length in 1:20.33. It was a head back to Lucky Score third, and a nose more to favorite Churchtown fourth. Kazushi Kimura aboard 6th place finisher Old Chestnut claimed foul against Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard Churchtown but the claim was disallowed.
Results Chart

Left: Dream Shake in the winner's circle. The Mike Stidham trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 12 starts, earning $469,265 for owners Exline-Border Racing, Peter Eurton, Richard Hausman, and Stonestreet Stables.

Right: Dream Shake heads back to the barn after the race.

Left: Second place finisher War Bomber returns after the race. The Norm McKnight trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 18 starts, earning $307,688 for owner Bruno Schickedanz.

Right: Third place finisher Lucky Score at the finish. The Mark Casse trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 16 starts, earning $445,958 for owners Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Gary Barber.


Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Churchtown in the post parade. The Roger Attfield trainee has a record of 4 wins, 4 seconds, and 0 thirds in 12 starts, earning $304,989 for owner-breeders William Harrigan and Mike Pietrangelo.


Kicking off the stakes action, the $150,000 Stella Artois Trillium Stakes (G3) featured a field of 8 older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta. Belle Mahone (G3) winner Souper Hoity Toity was sent off as the 3-2 favorite over 3-1 second choice Kate's Kingdom, 5th in the Mint Julep (G3) at Churchill, and 4-1 third choice Angelou off an allowance win.

Jockey Luis Contreras sent Angelou to the lead first time by through fractions of 25.62, 50.06, and 1:13.50 while pressed by Kate's Kingdom and stalked by Souper Hoity Toity. Turning for home Angelou continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:37.64 but 8-1 Il Malocchio, 4th early under Sahin Civaci, came out 5 wide at the top of the lane and rallied to win by a head in 1:44.14. It was another neck back to favorite Souper Hoity Toity third. After a stewards' inquiry into the stretch run, Angelou was disqualified from second and placed third behind Souper Hoity Toity for interference at the 70 yard pole.
Results Chart

Left: Il Malocchio in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Martin Drexler said, "We had her down in the U.S. (Palm Meadows) for the winter to get her started. We started her in Kentucky (Turfway Park on March 25). Off Lasix, it wasn't the best for her, and she was a little bit flat that day and then we came back here. Last time (Grade 3 Belle Mahone, on June 3), she caught in a pace [battle] on the front and she doesn't like that, so this is much better."

Right: Il Malocchio gets hosed off after the race.

Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Souper Hoity Toity returns after the race. The Mark Casse trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 11 starts, earning $378,642 for owner Live Oak Plantation.

Right: Third place finisher Angelou (disqualified from second) returns after the race. The Kevin Attard trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 11 starts, earning $180,819 for owner-breeder Blue Heaven Farm.


A tradition on Woodbine Oaks day is the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award ceremony. It is a lifetime achievement award given to a Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, or regular rider in Canada for 5 years, who has made significant contributions to the sport, with the winner receiving a replica of the life-size statue that overlooks the walking ring. The Cuban-born Gomez died of complications after a 3-horse spill during the 1980 Canadian Oaks, and the award named in his honour is Canada's equivalent to the George Woolf Memorial Award in California and the Mike Venezia Memorial Award in New York.

This year's recipient is Russell Baze, a native of Vancouver who dominated Northern California racing for most of his career before retiring in 2016 as racing's all-time leading rider with 12,842 victories, 270 in stakes. Led by Eclipse Award winners Lost in the Fog and Shared Belief, Baze teamed up with several stars over the course of his storied career. Other notable names included Hawkster, Summer Hill, Smiling Tiger, Lexicon, Cause to Believe, Tricky Trevor, Bold Chieftain, Chocolate Candy, Lite Light, and Both Ends Burning. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.

Baze was unable to attend his induction ceremony, but said in advance, "It's always nice to be recognized by people in the industry that you're involved in. This is the kind of award that everybody should be very honoured to receive. Avelino set a legacy of excellence. His win percentage was excellent, he won all the big races. What else can you say? He was just a great all-around rider. When I started out, I was just a kid who enjoyed riding, and I wasn't very good at it either, but as I went along and became a more competent rider, all the accolades that have come my way were something I never even dreamed of. All I wanted to do was go out there and win as many races as I could and do the best job I could, not only for the owners and trainers, but also the fans."

Callaghan joins Ron Turcotte, Johnny Longden, Sandy Hawley, Don MacBeth, Chris Rogers, Jeff Fell, Lloyd Duffy, Hugo Dittfach, Robin Platts, Larry Attard, Don Seymour, David Gall, Richard Grubb, Irwin Driedger, David Clark, Jim McKnight, Chris Loseth, Richard Dos Ramos, Robert Landry, Francine Villeneuve, Sam Krasner, John LeBlanc Sr., George Ho Sang, Jack Lauzon, Robert King Jr., Stewart Elliott, Emile Ramsammy, Steve Bahen, Mickey Walls, Patrick Husbands, Quincy Welch, Gary Stahlbaum, Gary Boulanger, Emma-Jayne Wilson, Frank Barroby, Eurico Rosa da Silva, and last year's recipient Slade Callaghan as Gomez recipients.

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