Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Woodbine opener just days away

TORONTO, April 1 - The jockeys are ready to get a leg up and the trainers are set to saddle their horses, as the start of the 2009 Thoroughbred season at Woodbine draws ever closer.

The first step toward track announcer Dan Loiselle's first call of the campaign came on Wednesday when the track's Opening Day card, Saturday, April 4, was assembled with 88 horses scheduled to compete in 10 races.

The first horse entered for 2009 was High Mist, trained by Reade Baker. The three-year-old daughter of Olmodavor, who launched her career with three consecutive wins, including last year’s Fanfreluche Stakes, was entered in the day's sixth and featured race, the five-furlong La Voyageuse Stakes, with Jim McAleney in the irons.

Conditioner Malcolm Pierce has two entered for the La Voyageuse, Mullins Beach and last year’s South Ocean Stakes winner, Double Malt. Pretty Katherine, Sans Sousi, Forcefully and How Far Is Heaven round out the field.

“I’m really happy to get things going,” said Scott Fairlie, who recorded 47 wins at Woodbine in 2008, to rank fourth in the standings. “We have 39 horses in the barn and hopefully we can have a strong season.”

One of those horses is Cawaja Beach, a 2008 Sovereign Award finalist for Canada’s top two-year-old filly honours.

Owned by Hard Eight Stables and Ace Racing, Cawaja Beach completed her juvenile campaign with a spotless record. Three of her four scores came against restricted stakes company. Under jockey Daniel David, the Ontario-sired, Ontario-bred daughter of Where’s the Ring deployed a strong late kick to win at distances ranging from 4 ½ to six furlongs.

“She’s doing great,” said Fairlie. “She has a clean bill of health and she’s in light training right now.”

First-race post time is 1:00 p.m.

High Mist makes her 2009 debut

TORONTO, April 1 – High Mist heads a group of seven fillies that will attempt to kick off the Woodbine meet with a stakes win in the $100,000 La Voyageuse.

The five-furlong contest is for three-year-old fillies, foaled in Ontario.

The Reade Baker-trained High Mist made an immediate impact when she arrived at the races last summer. The bay reeled off three consecutive scores, including a 2 ½-length win in the six-furlong Fanfreluche Stakes.

High Mist spent the winter in South Florida, shipping to Woodbine on March 25. She worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5, handily, on March 30.

“She trained at Palm Meadows and just went up to Canada. She’s trained extremely well all winter,” said Baker. “She’s in great shape. I expect her to run well. She should give an excellent account of herself.”

The bay daughter of Olmodavor has worn blinkers over her entire four-race career. But after the filly’s fifth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in the Princess Elizabeth, Baker has opted for new tactics.

“I’ve taken the blinkers off. She was obviously too speedy for that route race last year,” said Baker. “We’re dreaming of getting her to go a little farther.”

Baker said the filly was wound up in post parade before the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth, left the starting gate too keen and wound up in a ‘suicidal speed duel’ with one of her rivals.

With the blinkers off, Baker believes the filly should be able to relax better, as she showed in the Fanfreluche, in which she closed from just off the pace.

High Mist ran in the colors of N. C. Stables and Wendy Anderson. Beginning on Saturday, the filly with have three additional owners. Bradley Weisbord and Jerry Frankel and Robert Masterson have acquired an interest in the three-year-old Ontario-bred.

The La Voyageuse, which is named for a multiple Sovereign Award winning mare, is slated for race six on Saturday’s programme.


Post – Horse – Jockey - Trainer

1 – Pretty Katherine – Dave Clark – Jerry Hollendorfer
2 – High Mist – Jim McAleney – Reade Baker
3 – Sans Sousi – Chantal Sutherland – Mike Doyle
4 – Forcefully – Corey Fraser – Ian Black
5 – Mullins Beach – Patrick Husbands – Malcolm Pierce
6 – How Far Is Heaven – Robert Landry – Mark Casse
7 – Double Malt – Eurico Rosa da Silva – Malcolm Pierce

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