PASSION FOR ACTION enjoying a banana on Sunday morning after his turf workout getting ready for Saturday’s WOODBINE MILE




Barb Minshall calls him a difficult horse and anyone who follows racing at Woodbine knows that STACKED DECK is a bit of a quirky fellow.

But he was also last year’s champion male sprinter in Canada and the almost jet-black 5-year-old is back on track as he won Sunday’s ONTARIO JOCKEY CLUB STAKES worth $100,000 in his first race since June. With Bruce Lunsford proudly leading his First Samurai homebred into the winner’s circle, Stacked Deck was one of 4 straight winners on the 10 race Woodbine card for jockey Rafael Hernandez and one of two stakes winners for the rider who came to Woodbine in July.

Stacked Deck, a winner of 4 of 9 last year, had terrible trouble in his seaosn debut when 2nd in the Vigil to Passion for Actiom. He them bolted in the Connaught Cup on turf in June and had been away since then.

Pressing and dueling Puntrooskie all the way through quick fractions and then busted clear to win in 1:08.79, just missing the track record of 1:08.16.

The OJC stake win was his 8th win in 20 races and he is almost $ 500,000 in earnings.


Later, SIGNATURE SPRING won the Colin Stakes, an open 2-year-old stakes and he is an Ontario-bred and bred bay colt, now 2 for 2 in his career for Howard Walton and trainer Sid Attard. This colt is a half brother to 2-time stakes winner of this year Generous Touch and he is the first winner for his sire, who is at Colebrook Farms. Signature Red is by Bernstein, sire of none other than Tepin. Signature Spring earned $90,000 with bonuses for the stake win.



NOTHING BUT AIR – STACKED DECK roars to victory in the Ontario Jockey Club over Puntrooskie – Michael Burns photo

Other big winners on Sunday –

Bruce Lunsford and Barb Minshall were in the winner’s circle again in race 9 when their yearling purchase from the CTHS ONtario sale MOZART MELODY won a maiden race at 1 1/16 miles on turf with an 80 Beyer Figure. The son of Rebellion – Smart Catomine was bred by Bernard and Karen McCormack and he was bought for about $42,000.

Race 1 and 7 both were 84 Beyer Figures – LIONS BAY winning a $32K claiming race at 1 1/16 miles, his 2nd straight win, for Martin, Victoria, Jonathan and Nicolas Earle and trainer Jamie Attard. Race 7 went to Ontario bred and sired THOR’S ROCKET, a winner on this 6 1/2 furlong race on turf for his 3rd win in 5 races. This is an ultra game Old Forester fellow out of Glory Royale by Tethra, bred and co-owned by Paul Buttigieg. Gus Vlahos also owns the 3yo chestnut.

Race 3 went to FIRST GIRL, leading all the way on the grass for Tucci Stables and trainer Sid Attard. She poted an 82 Beyer Figure for her win over 3 rivals. She is 4 for 11 this year.



TEPIN’S FINAL WORKOUT for the Mile is Monday morning as weather delayed the prep from Sunday. She will likely arrive in Canada by Wednesday to get ready for her Woodbine debut.

Three locals make up the prospective field 8 – GLENVILLE GARDENS, TOWER OF TEXAS and PASSION FOR ACTION – a stalker and two closers who ran in the Play the King Stakes recently with ‘Gardens getting a great trip just off a soft pace.

Glenville Gardens just posted a career best Beyer Figure of 98.

Tower of Texas has been second in 2 straight races to Glenville – he has posted a 101 in the past and will love the distance. PASSION FOR ACTION looked great in the late spring when half a length away from winning 4 straight stakes. The distance should be okay for him and he can post a 100-103 Beyer if things set up well for him.

AROD – Group 2 winner at Ascot in 2015 and 2nd to SOLOW in Group 1 Sussex in July 2015 but went off form after trip to Australia. Recently led late and then  landed 3rd in the Group 2 Celebration Mile.

FULL MAST – highly regarded Group 1 winner (in 2014) won his North American debut at Belmont with 102 Beyer – 4th with traffic at Woodbine in the King Edward then 3rd at Saratoga in Lure with 103 Beyer

MR OWEN – 6th in this race last year at 8 to 1, soft turf. He was 2nd in a Group 3 recently in France, one of 2 in the race for Qatar Racing.

MUTAKKAYEF – 3rd in Juddmonte INternational Group 1 last time and had 2 wins before that. 13 in the top 3 in 13 races.

Turns back to 1 mile, loves distance and almost beat Mondialiste last year in race before the latter won Mile.



It was a $7 million dollar weekend at Woodbine – wagering totaling just about that for the 2 days. As we head into  a huge weekend at the greatest track in the world, here are some neat images taken by Julie Wright who was kind enough to share for Thoroughblog..


You think he was smiling then? Jim McAleney was really smiling after he rode JUST BE KIND to victory in the Ontario Debutante Stakes on Saturday for Rick Mah, Roger Fortier and Reade Baker.





Entering the gorgeous Woodbine walking ring












The remarkable champion CALGARY CAT





If you want to know where many of the Woodbine horsepeople are this week and next they will be shopping at the massive Keeneland September yearling sale, armed with a box of the catalogues and plenty of notes.

4, 479 yearlings are catalogued with 83 Ontario-breds in the 6 Books (13 sessions)



33 c. by Bernardini – Smart Believer by Smart Strike – Anderson Farms, agent
96 c. Redoute’s Choice – Thislillighotofmine by Kingmambo Four Star Sales, agent
311 c. More Than ready – Down, by Mr. Greeley Taylor Made Sales
327 f. Ghostzapper – Emanating by Cox’s Rdige – Eaton sales for William Graham
328 f. Distorted Humpr – England Swings by Kitten’s Joy – Eaton Sales for William Graham
348 c. City Zip – Forest Gamble by Forest Wildcat – Warendale Sales for Tall Oaks
355 c. Scat Daddy – Gauze by Saint Ballado Anderson Farms, agent
526 c. Tale of the Cat – My Sister Sandy by Montbrook Taylor Made Sales
531 f. Malibu Moon – Nadishiko by Honour and GLory Anderson Farms, agent