STACKED DECK and fellow brilliant sprinters are highlighting the first day of racing today at Woodbine. The season has 133 racing days with the QUEEN’S PLATE the focal point on July 2.
It has already been a busy morning for horsepeople who have been getting their training sets out and getting organized to prepare for the racing day.
And, if you have been watching the journey of APRIL THE GIRAFFE for the last 2 months, she began giving birth to her calf at 730 this morning…
A wide array of horsepeople will be in action today including jockey ISMAEL MOSQUEIRA, who was at Woodbine last fall after a season at Northlands Park and previous years at Hastings Park. He has won 326 races from about 3,000 mounts.  Edmonton Expo has a cool video of Ismael..


Also from Northlands is RAFAEL ZENTENO JR. whose father was a top jockey. Here is an interview with Rafael..



A lot of action in the US today as well with the last, major Kentucky Derby ‘prep race’ the ARKANSAS DERBY at 6:15 this evening from Oaklawn Park featuring last year’s Champion Two-Year-Old Colt CLASSIC EMPIRE, trained by Mark Casse for John Oxley..
At Keeneland, Ontario bred TIME TO TRAVEL, an impressive maiden winner at Gulfstream in his second career race, looks very solid in the LEXINGTON STAKES today at Keeneland. Garland Williamson owns, and bred, the son of Hard Spun and he was recently moved from trainer Rachel Halden to Michael Matz.
Canadian champions CATCH A GLIMPSE and CONQUEST ENFORCER are also among those in action today at Keeneland.

Selections for WOODBINE RACING appear, as usual on Thoroughblog..see the separate post..



Honouring the Champions of 2016

ROBERT MARZILLI, proud owner of CAREN, his wife Anna and children and trainer MIKE DEPAULO – TERENCE DULAY – horse-races.net photo










The 42nd SOVEREIGN AWARDS on Thursday night moved away from Woodbine racetrack for the first time in a few years and was held at the lovely Palais Royale on the lake in downtown Toronto. It was a great spot and the food was fantastic and the “candy” shop really got some action!

CAREN reigned supreme on the night with the HORSE OF THE YEAR title for owner Robert Marzilli and his wife Anna and family. Trainer Mike DePaulo was emotional in the acceptance speech as he conditioned this wonderful 3-year-old filly to an outstanding season that saw her also be named Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.

Caren, by Society’s Chairman out of Jo Zak, was bred by James and Janeane Everatt and Arike Everatt-Meeuse at Shannondoe Farm in St. Thomas, Ontario.

It was a big night for owner and breeder IVAN DALOS, whose colt AMIS GIZMO was named Champion Three-Year-Old Male and his mare GALLOPING AMI was named Outstanding Broodmare. Dalos also bred Champion Turf Male CONQUEST ENFORCER.

Strangely, Dalos lost the OUTSTANDING BREEDER award by 1 point to Adena Springs despite the remarkable season he had with the horses he bred through his Tall Oaks Farm. Dalos was seeking his first win in this category.

Another oddity was that BREAKING LUCKY, a finslist for Champion Older Male, was a finalist for HORSE OF THE YEAR even though he lost the Older Male award to ARE YOU KIDDING ME, who won for the second straight year. Breaking Lucky placed in Grade 1 events during the season and obviously was voted by many as a contender for Horse of the Year.

MARK CASSE won Outstanding Trainer once again and his daughter Camille accepted the award as well as those for LEXIE LOU (Turf Female) and KING AND HIS COURT (2yo colt) among others.

FRANK STRONACH and his family were in attendance as Mr. Stronach received the E.P. Taylor award of Merit.

The Candy table at the Sovereign awards! Terence Dulay photo











(Media) Outstanding Photograph – Cody Gregory
Morning Workout
Published kingsvictorymedia.com

(Media) Outstanding Writing – Beverley Smith
Laurie Silvera’s Woodbine Paradise
Published woodbineentertainment.com

(Media)Outstanding Digital Audio/Visual & Broadcast – Woodbine Entertainment Group
The Ricoh Woodbine Mile
Aired across Canada on the TSN2 television network Saturday, September 17th, 2016

The Jockey Club of Canada Award – the inaugural award was presented to Tyler Hehn at the School of Media Studies and Information Technology, Humber Institute of Advanced Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto in January 2017. This monetary award is presented to a student entering their final year of study, who has exemplified outstanding leadership inside and out of the classroom; who has showcased exceptional knowledge of sport and sport issues with special consideration given to those who have reported on issues relating to Canadian thoroughbred coverage. Tyler was unable to attend the Sovereign Awards; he will be given a plaque in recognition of receiving the award.
Outstanding Groom Award Dexter Brathwaite was honored at the 42nd Annual Sovereign Awards on April 13, 2017 with the Outstanding Groom Award for 2016, proudly sponsored by the OLG. Dexter Brathwaite has rubbed some of the great Woodbine horses of the past decade and tonight he will receive top honors with racing’s elite when he steps up to receive the inaugural Sovereign Award for Outstanding Groom, proudly sponsored by the OLG. Dexter Brathwaite, a native of Barbados, was nominated by his current employer Barbara Minshall for whom he has worked since 2004. Dexter was presented with a plaque in recognition of receiving this award.

Outstanding Broodmare – Galloping Ami
Dk.b.m. 2006, by Victory Gallop – Secret Ami by Secret Claim
Breeder/Owner: Tall Oaks Farm (Ivan Dalos)
Owner and breeder Ivan Dalos has two broodmares nominated for this category for 2016 and both are daughters of Victory Gallop, the Belmont Stakes winner of 1998 bred by Dalos’ Tall Oaks Farm. Galloping Ami, a great-granddaughter of one of Dalos’ foundation mares Sybelle Ami, never raced but she has more than made up for that in the breeding shed. The mare’s fifth foal is Ami’s Gizmo, one of Canada’s top 3-year-olds of 2016 who won the Grade 3 Ontario Derby and the Prince of Wales, the second jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown. Galloping Ami’s 4-year-old of 2016, Ami’s Flatter won the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland and from her previous three foals to race produced stakes winner Aragorn Ami.

Points Results: Galloping Ami (89), Song of the Lark (63), Keen Victory (39), Cruising Kris (22)

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey – Kayla Pizarro
Starts 279; Wins 40; 2nd 38; 3rd 50; earnings $311,915
A finalist for Outstanding Apprentice in 2015, Kayla Pizarro comes from a family of jockeys including father Jorge and brother Tyler. Kayla’s 40 wins led all Canadian apprentice riders and she won her first stakes race of her career when she partnered the Ontario bred filly About a Girl to victory in the Miss Royal Gold Stakes. The young rider had good earning power in 2016 as her purses were second only to Ontario-based Aimee Auger.

Point Results: Kayla Pizarro (121), Aimee Auger (88), Daniel Gopie (32), Jose Asencio (14)

Champion Older Male – Are You Kidding Me
B.H. 6, by Run Away and Hide – Sweet Awakening (Street Cry (Ire)
Breeders: John Bates, Ron Kirk, Greg McDonald, Riordan, Shaw and Sones (KY)
Owners: Ron Kirk, John Bates, Michael Riordan
Trainer: Roger Attfield
2016: 8 starts, 3 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds – $421,200
Winner: G2 Eclipse S., G3 Durham Cup, G2 Autumn S

Points Results: Are You Kidding Me (122), Breaking Lucky (75), Melmich (42), Killn Me Smalls (7)

Champion Older Female – Midnight Miley
B.F. 4, by Midnight Lute – Moneybru (Talk Is Money)
Breeder: Mark Secrest (KY)
Owner Little Red Feather Racing
Trainer: Julia Carey
2016: 6 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third – $205,000
Winner G3 Ontario Matron Stakes, G3 Seaway Stakes

Points Results: Midnight Miley (92), Ice Festival (56), Goodyearforroses (IRE) (44), Hot Kiss (36)

Outstanding Trainer – Mark Casse
Starts (Can.) 460; Wins 97; 2nd 70; 3rd 79; Earnings $5,613,457 Stakes wins 17The domination of the Mark Casse stable in Canada continued in 2016 as it collected its fifth straight Woodbine training title with its second highest number of winners, 97, at the Toronto track. Casse seeks his ninth Sovereign award for Outstanding Trainer and he is currently tied with Roger Attfield with eight previous honors. In 2016, Casse and his team sent out the winners of over $5.6 million, had a 21% win rate and saddled 17 stakes winners. The top Canadian runners for Casse include numerous Sovereign Award finalists for 2016: Lexie Lou won three stakes included two graded races, King and His Court won the Coronation Futurity and Display Stakes for 2-year-olds, Golden Hawk won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes, Victory to Victory won the Grade 1 Natalma and Conquest Vivi was an unbeaten juvenile. Casse earned his first Eclipse Award nomination for Outstanding Trainer for his 2016 season.

Points Results: Mark Casse (137), Michael De Paulo (58), Roger Attfield (21), Greg Tracy (21)

Champion Turf Male – Conquest Enforcer
B.C. 3, by Into Mischief – Keen Victory (Victory Gallop)
Breeder: Tall Oaks Farm (ON)
Owners: Loooch Racing Stables Inc, Imaginary Stables and Raquel Ritchie
Trainer: Philip D’Amato
2016: 6 starts, 4 wins – 0 seconds – 2 thirds – $408,900
Winner: G2 Mathis Brothers’ Mile, Charlie Barley S., Allied Forces S, Queenston S.

Points Results: Conquest Enforcer (112), Calgary Cat (39), Glenville Gardens (33), Dimension (GB) (31)

Champion Turf Female – Lexie Lou
B.M. 5, by Sligo Bay (Ire) – Oneexcessivenite (In Excess (Ire))
Breeder: Paradox Farm (ON)
Owner: Gary Barber
Trainer: Mark Casse
2016: 7 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 2 thirds – $379,456
Winner: G2 Nassau S., G2 Dance Smartly S., Victoriana S.

Points Results: Lexie Lou (138), Caren (88), Goodyearforroses (IRE) (12), Internal Bourbon (10)

Outstanding Breeder – Adena Springs
Starters 82; Winners 47; Earnings $ 3,567,616 ; Sts 492; 1st 81; 2nd 62; 3rd 70A 10-time winner in this category including 2015, Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Canadian-bred runners were a force once again, not only on home turf but throughout North America. The farm’s 47 individual winners included Stronach’s own star, Shaman Ghost, who won the prestigious Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational at Belmont Park. The son of Adena Springs stallion Ghostzapper was also third in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap. Adena Springs was also the breeder of Dan Gale and Richard Hogan’s impressive 3-year-old Shakhimat who won the Grade 2 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland and was second in the Plate Trial at Woodbine. Ice Festival, raced by Stronach Stables, won the Grade 3 Maple Leaf Stakes in the fall of 2016 and its Charming Delilah won the Sweet Briar Too Stakes. The farm also bred graded stakes placed runners Romeo O Romeo and Scholar Athlete.

Points Results: Adena Springs (93), Tall Oaks Farm (92), Sam-Son Farm (41), Eugene Melnyk (8)

E.P. Taylor Award of Merit – Frank Stronach
Frank Stronach will be presented with the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit for his longtime involvement and commitment to Thoroughbred Racing in Canada. The recipient of the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit is decided by The Jockey Club of Canada Board of Stewards and is not necessarily awarded annually. Previously called the Man of the Year Award, The E.P. Taylor Award of Merit is earned by those who have positively impacted or contributed to the Thoroughbred Industry in Canada

Champion Three-Year-Old Male – Amis Gizmo
CH.C. 3, by Giant Gizmo – Galloping Ami (Victory Gallop)
Breeder/Owner: Ivan Dalos (Tall Oaks Farm) (ON)
Trainer: Josie Carroll
2016: 6 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds – $705,400
Winner: G3 Ontario Derby, Prince of Wales S. Plate Trial

Points Results: Amis Gizmo (103), Conquest Enforcer (86), Sir Dudley Digges (53), Ready Intaglio (5)

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly – Caren
B.F. 3, by Society’s Chairman – Jo Zak (Vilzak)
Breeders; James and Janeane Everatt and Arika Everatt-Meeuse (ON)
Owner: Robert Marzilli
Trainer: Michael De Paulo
2016: 9 starts – 4 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third – $613,550
Winner: G3 Ontario Colleen S., Carotene S., Wonder Where S., Bison City S.

Points Results: Caren (136), Snuggles (31), Neshama (30), Gamble’s Ghost (16)

Outstanding Jockey – Eurico Rosa Da Silva
Starts 796; Wins 202; Seconds 143, Thirds 123 Earnings $7,740,794; Stakes wins 21
The reigning Sovereign Award winning jockey seeks his third overall Outstanding Jockey award and Eurico da Silva set more personal records in 2016. His 202 Canadian wins from 796 mounts topped last year’s mark of 201 wins. Da Silva also rode the winners of 21 stakes races, the most added-money events he has won since he came to Woodbine in 2004. With a winning rate of 25% Da Silva won the Woodbine Oaks in 2016 aboard Neshama for trainer Catherine Day Phillips and six graded events at Woodbine including the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes aboard Melmich, the Grade 3 Mazarine on the Mark Casse-trainee Gale Force and the Grade 2 Highlander aboard Passion for Action.

Points Results: Eurico Rosa Da Silva (148), Luis Contreras (57), Rafael Hernandez (20), Patrick Husbands (20)

Champion Male Sprinter – Noholdingback Bear
B.C. 3, by Put It Back – Pleasant Quality (Elusive Quality)
Breeder: Jerry Jamgotchian (KY)
Owner: Bear Stables Ltd.
Trainer: Michael De Paulo
2016: 10 starts – 4 wins – 3 seconds – 1 thirds – $508,600
Winner: G3 Gallant Bob S., Tom Ridge S., Woodstock S., ALWNC

Points Results: Noholdingback Bear (113), Calgary Cat (44), Conquest Enforcer (30), Passion for Action (28)

Champion Female Sprinter – River Maid
DK.B./BR.F. 4, by Where’s the Ring – Rivermaid Dancing (Seeking the Gold)
Breeder: Jay Cochlin (ON)
Owner: The Very Dry Stable
Trainer: Robert Tiller
2016: 7 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 1 third – $376,240
Winner: G2 Bessarabian S., Ballade S.

Points Results: River Maid (126), Midnight Miley (41), Southern Ring (30), Cactus Kris (16)

Outstanding Owner – Conquest Stables, LLC
Starts 119; Wins 28; 2nd 23; 3rd 26; Earnings $1,962,352; Stakes wins 5
Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell’s Conquest Stables burst on to the Canadian racing scene in 2014 with Sovereign Award-winning juveniles Conquest Harlanate and Conquest Typhoon. The stable was a finalist for Outstanding Owner in 2015 and in 2016, led all owners at Woodbine by purse earnings. The stable won an impressive 28 races in Canada and close to $2 million in purses. The top runners for Semersky and Newell were Conquest Enforcer, winner of two stakes at Woodbine, the Queenston and Charlie Barley, and a finalist for three Sovereign Awards this year. Conquest Stables also raced the undefeated 2-year-old Ontario sired filly Conquest Vivi, a half-sister to Conquest Enforcer, who won the Nandi and Victorian Queen Stakes. This is a bittersweet nomination for Conquest Stables as it dispersed its horses in the fall of 2016.

Points Results: Conquest Stables, LLC (82), Ivan Dalos (37), Sam-Son Farm (25), Gary Barber (22)

Champion Two-Year-Old Male – King and His Court
DK.B./BR.G. 2, by Court Vision – Pennywhistle (Grand Reward)
Breeder: Patricia and Robert Weber (ON)
Owners: Gary Barber and Watchel Stable
Trainer: Mark Casse
2016: 9 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 4 thirds – $324,412
Winner: Coronation Futurity, Display S., MSW

Points Results: King and His Court (93), Golden Hawk (67), Tiz a Slam (58), Channel Maker (17)

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly – Victory to Victory
CH.F. 2, Exchange Rate – Points of Grace (Point Given)
Breeder/Owner: Live Oak Plantation (FLA)
Trainer: Mark Casse
2016: 3 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 0 thirds – $167,390
Winner G1 Natalma S.

Points Results: Victory to Victory (113), Let It Ride Mom (64), Conquest Vivi (54), Ghostly Presence (17)

Horse of the Year Finalists:
Noholdingback Bear
Breaking Lucky
Amis Gizmo

2016 Horse of the Year – Caren
B.F. 3, by Society’s Chairman – Jo Zak (Vilzak)
Breeders; James and Janeane Everatt and Arika Everatt-Meeuse (ON)
Owner: Robert Marzilli
Trainer: Michael De Paulo
2016: 9 starts – 4 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third – $613,550
Winner: G3 Ontario Colleen S., Carotene S., Wonder Where S., Bison City S.

2016 Horse of the Year Points Results:
Caren (59), Noholdingback Bear (40), Breaking Lucky (32), Amis Gizmo (30)