Many of the finest Canadian Premier Yearling Sale graduates will be in the spotlight on Wednesday evening (August 29) as Woodbine hosts six yearling sales stakes with $750,000 in purses up for grabs.
Sponsored by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. (OLG), the Canadian Millions Sales Stakes annually showcase past Canadian-bred sale graduates on the eve of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s yearling sale, which will be held on Thursday, August 30 at 12 noon in the Woodbine Sales Pavilion.
One of last year’s sale toppers, the Stuart Simon-trained Seguimi is among a field of 11 two-year-old colts and geldings set to face off in the $175,000 OLG Simcoe Stakes presented by Samuel, Son & Co. Limited over 6-1/2 furlongs. Bred by Phoenix Rising Farms and owned by Anne & William Scott, the Victor’s Cry-Vulcan Rose colt is a half-brother to multiple-graded stakes winner Flameaway and was one of three yearlings that sold for $85,000. Souper Hot and Stolen Identity are the only two race winners in the Simcoe field. Both won their career debuts in July then Souper Hot went on to finish fourth in the Clarendon Stakes.
The 14-filly field for the $175,000 OLG Muskoka Stakes presented by Ballycroy Training Centre includes winners Deed’s Legacy, Georgian Dancer, Speedy Soul, Sailing By and Moksgmol. The latter two fillies enter the 6-1/2 furlong sprint after competing in the Shady Well Stakes on August 4. Gary Barber’s Sailing By, who hails from the family of Queen’s Plate champion Lexie Lou, broke her maiden in her second start on June 30 for trainer Mark Casse and subsequently finished fourth in the Shady Well ahead of Moksgmol. Goldmart Farms owns both Deed’s Legacy and Georgian Dancer, a Souper Speedy-Rivermaid Dancing filly who is a half-sister to the graded stakes winner River Maid, trained by Robert Tiller.
While the two-year-old divisions will showcase some of the sport’s rising stars, many returning champions will be back in action in the older divisions.
Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year Pink Lloyd will be aiming to defend his title in the $100,000 OLG Kenora Stakes presented by the HBPA of Ontario. Owned by Entourage Stable and trained by Tiller, the millionaire son of Old Forester won last year’s six-furlong sprint amidst an 11-race win streak over returning 2016 Kenora champion Jacks Escarpment. While that streak ended with a third-place finish in last month’s Shepperton Stakes, Pink Lloyd was back on top of his game on July 29, winning the Grade 3 Vigil at Woodbine. His stablemate Circle of Friends and The Young Lord complete the compact field of four.
Melmich will be seeking his fourth straight OLG Elgin Stakes title in the 1-1/16 mile event presented by Ontario Racing/Thoroughbred Improvement Program. The millionaire Wilko gelding will look to end his current five-race, runner-up streak and return to his winnings ways from a year ago for trainer Kevin Attard and owners Stephen Chesney and Cory S. Hoffman. Other contenders vying for the lion’s share of the $100,000 purse include Shepperton upsetter Kingsport and past Sovereign Award winner King and His Court, who is cross-entered in the Halton Stakes.
Johnny Bear will try for a repeat win in the $100,000 OLG Halton Stakes presented by Tipperary Equestrian for trainer Ashlee Brnjas and owners Colebrook Farms and Bear Stables Ltd. After defeating returning rivals English Illusion, Eminent Force and Ethical Funds in last year’s 1-1/2 mile turf test, Johnny Bear went on to earn Grade 1 stakes-winning status upsetting Hawkbill in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes. The seven-year-old son of English Channel enters the Halton off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Nijinsky on July 22 over the same course and distance.
Last year’s OLG Algoma Stakes runner-up Sparkles’ Girl is one of five fillies and mares returning for a rematch in the $100,000 event presented by Woodbine Entertainment. The five-year-old Society’s Chairman mare stretches back out to the 1-1/16 mile distance she has subsequently conquered in the Classy N Smart Stakes for trainer John Charlambous and C.E.C Farms. Other returning contenders include Trini Brewnette, who hit the board in her 2016 Algoma run and was fourth in the 2017 edition, Spring Tempest, a former Muskoka Stakes champion who will make her first start since finishing fifth in this event last year, as well as Miss Sea and Crumlin Queen.
First race post time for Wednesday evening’s eight-race card is scheduled for 6:45 p.m.