Essence Hit Man – Norm Files photo



Pick 4 pays $50,000 at Woodbine


ESSENCE HIT MAN got back on the winning track and some very shrewd, and lucky, bettors won a pile of money just by selecting the most unlikely winners at Woodbine.


Oh, and Lost the Ring beat Ask the Bestman in the last race – chuckle chuckle. (thanks to Equidaily for the graphic from DRF):




The bizarre results continue at the Toronto track : just when you think you (okay, me) are starting off a nice early Pick 4 with an 11 to 1 winner (TWO OH ONE won his maiden in an allowance on the drop to Ontario sired), bigger longshots came in.

There did not seem to be any bias to the Polytrack surface yesterday  and the good news came when some trainers won their first races of the season.

FLOWER EXCHANGE won race 2 for trainer Tommy O’Keefe and the Tickled Pink Stable. The Exchange Rate filly was up in the late stages to win the $25,000 claiming event under Emma-Jayne Wilson.

TWO OH ONE was the first winner of the Woodbine meeting for trainer Tommy Bowden. The owners are Ultimate Racing Center.

Canada’s leading sire OLD FORESTER had yet another debut winner as the 2yo ESTELLA came darting up the inside in the stretch to win her maiden for owner/breeder Chris Fung and trainer Paul Fung. The filly is out of Hollywood Star, by Supremo.

The second leg of the Pick 4 was won by PEYTON, a 2yo who had 5 previous races amd modest results.
It was reported in some publications that the son of Tale of the Cat was a first time gelding but he was 20 to 1 anyway.
The first time gelding information available is far from reliable (OH CANADA was listed as a first time gelding earlier this year when he had been gelding more than a year before) so it was tough to know if it was true and what effect it would have on the Windhaven homebred. Mike Doyle trains and Justin Stein rode the 2yo who won the 1 1/16 mile race over Rocky Romano.

The final leg of the Pick 4 featured a number of speed horses but it was just one, longshot CREEPING BARRAGE, who came right back off the maiden win to win the allowance race for Ontario sired guys.
The $2000 yearling purchase is 2 for 4 for the Singing Springs Stable and Mike Cohen trains the Best of the Bests (Ire) gelding.

The fastest race of the day was won by JUNGLE WAVE, an old timer who rarely wins but he actually battled back to win the allowance race, the 8th, in 1:21 for 7 furlongs – a 95 Beyer Figure.
Tucci Stables owns and Sid Attard trains. Note that the gelding had not been ridden by Emma Jayne Wilson before and that likely made the difference.

As for the Grade 2 Kennedy Road Stakes, it turned out to be a showcase of speed as Essence Hit Man, the very fast Audre Cappuccitti homebred just about broke his own track record with his win. He is a two-time stakes winner this year now and could be voted the sprinter of the year.

The time of 1:08 3/5 was good for a 94 Beyer Figure.

Conditioner Audre Cappuccitti believes an equipment change following his last outing, a second-place effort on October 30, was significant in controlling her charge’s abundant early speed.

“I had Jesse come back and breeze him after the last race, and I changed the equipment, and said, ‘let’s see if this will help’,” said Cappuccitti. “He (Campbell) came back and said it really worked. He had a tiny bit more control. It’s not that he’s (Essence Hit Man) tough, he just wants to go and if you try to strangle him, it just doesn’t work.”

Campbell noted that the change of bit, and the reserved early fraction, made all the difference in the latter stages of the race.

“He really let me ride him today and at the end of the race it was a real big difference,” said Campbell. “When I hit the middle of the backside, I knew this was really setting up good for me. When he heard those horses coming going into the half, he just smoothed out and picked up a little bit. I knew I had a ton of horse at the five-sixteenths pole. I thought about really asking him to run, before I ended up asking him, to try and just open up, but I saved him for another sixteenth of a mile and he really responded when I asked him.”

With the victory, Essence Hit Man improves his record to seven wins, three seconds and three thirds from 17 lifetime starts and boosts his bankroll to $742,261.



Today’s Bessarabian Stakes honours a millionaire mare who won 17 races and a litany of stakes races for Eaton Hall Farm and trainer Mike Doyle. Bessarabian had four foals, the best of which was Dagda.

The 7 furlong race today features a 3-ack from trainer TODD PLETCHER including the multiple graded stakes winner EMBUR’S SONG. A Sovereign Award or two is on the line here.

As for today’s card of racing, out ace handicapper JAKE is back and he has scrutinized the card…