The sun will set on another Woodbine  season today – well, tonight, 13 races, sharpen those pencils!




Who is the valedictorian of 2010?

It is a unique race and one of the most fun to watch of the entire Woodbine season.

While races continually get shorter and shorter (even Woodbine’s card of races in the last couple of weeks have seemingly marked a curious number of short races) the 1 3/4 mile VALEDCICTORY is a fun way toend a racing season.

There is also a 1 7/8 mile race on the program.

The Valedictory Handicap was born in  1952 at the Dufferin Park Race Track, it was moved to the new Woodbine Racetrack for the 1956 running where it remained through 1960. From 1991 through 1993, the race was hosted by Greenwood Raceway; thereafter, the race returned to Woodine were it remains.

Always a longer distance race on dirt, over the years it has been contested at a variety of distances:

    * 1952 : 1 5/8 miles

    * 1954-1955 : 1 3/8 miles

    * 1956–present : 1 3/4 miles

There was no race run in 1953 and the regularly scheduled race on December 7, 2008 had to be cancelled due to extreme cold weather.

(notes from Wikipedia).

There have been some weird, weird winners of the race for sure. SUNSHINE JOURNEY, QUEENSGATE, TORQUAY to name a few claimers in the history of the race that won the big event.

Good horses have won it too, like MARSH SIDE AND CLOUDY’S KNIGHT.

What about the year at Greenwood when several jockeys went to whipping their horses one turn too soon, confusing the track announcer and photo finish operator? That was a funny one.

At Greenwood the race had to go around several turns since the track wa sonly 6 furlongs.

This year’s event is a decent field with POOL PLAY and EYE OF THE LEOPARD, the 1-2 from the prep, looking very smart. VILLAGE DRIVE, from the hot READE BAKER Stable deserves a mention also.


Donver filly wins Ont. Lassie stakes

They sold the best horse they ever owned this year but Vern and Donna Dubinsky are back with another gal – INGLORIOUS. Now 2 for 2 the daughter of Hennessy out of Noble Strike  crushed the Ontario Lassie Stakes field yesterday Woodbine, the penultimate card of racing at the track this year.

The $90,000 purchase from breed Arosa Farms through Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency won easily despite a loose horse running in front of her although the Beyer Figure was just a 71.

It was the 18th stakes wiin for jockey Chantal Sutherland.

The next to last card at Woodbine featured a lot of low priced winners. Form continues to hold well despite the large fields.

Other than INGLORIOUS’S resounding win, it was a big day for the READE BAKER stable as it sent out 5 runners in 4 races, won 3

of them to tie its best year ever at 71 winners. It has a chance to win more today with 3 starters.

BEAR’S CHILL took the first race by more than 8 lengths and ran a 79 Beyer Figure.

The son of ARTIE SCHILLER – SILVER NITHI by Numerous was odds-on for his 2nd career race and he put himself on the early short-list of QUEEN’S PLATE CONTENDERS.

The Bear Stables fellow is a gorgeous, sizy guy who was bred by Richard and Jo Ellen Shaw.

Apprentice CASSIE GARCEA hung p her tack for the year after she won her 4th race of her riding career aboard MY KNIGHT INDEED, who was taken over by Hank Gensler to trainer recently. The Ascot Knight gelding won his maiden at 9 furlongs for owner Leanne Hester.

It was more Baker action in race 3 when Mike and Vera Simpson’s WESTDALE, by Bold Executive, surged in the nick of time to win a maiden allowance for Ontario sired guys. The 2yo was making his 2nd start and was adding blinkers and Ms. Emma Jayne Wilson.

The colt is a homebred and he edged a pair of Mark Casse trainees.

Casse, who is still 3 away from tying the record of wins by a trainer in one Woodbine meeting, may come up short of that record with 1 racing card left.

In race 4, MOLLYMOOK edged the big favourite Exclusive Setting in a $20,000 claiming race for 2yo fillies; Uphill Stable owns the Consolidator filly and John Charalambous trains her.

Tino Attard saddled the 5th race winner – his owned leased filly SOVEREIGN GRACE, a Florida bred by Repent. The filly was a favourite in the $12,500 maiden claiming event.

Joe Baldasarra’s WILDCAT MARIE romped in race 6, an allowance optional claiming race and she has been a good claim for the owner and trainer Marty Drexler. She was claimed for $40,000 from trainer Brian Lynch and has won two allowance races.

Brereton Jones’  homebred FAST YANKEE (Yankee Gentleman) was up to beat OH CANADA in a 2yo allowance to get the 3rd win for the Reade Baker stable. He ran a 76 Beyer Figure in the win under Steve Bahen.

The Peter Berringer barn has ben on a roll in the last month of racing. Yesterday, Valeisha was a logical winner of an allowance race and the Include gal is a homebred for Oxbridge Stable.

The lone upsetter of the day was STARS IN MY EYES who for a $32,000 claiming race for Wayne Gillis and trainer Scott Fairlie in race 10. The filly had won her previous race for just $16K claiming.

The last race of the Saturday card fittingly went to jockey EURICO ROSA DA SILVA, who is not riding today but is the leading jock for the year. He guided favoured ZINN HOUSE DOLL to win for CEC Farms and Ralph Biamonte in the $20K claiming race,


It was a Canadian bettors dream when champion RAHY’S ATTORNEY came skimming around the last turn of the Caler grass looking like he was going to give 15 to 1 shot TWILIGHT METEOR, a run in the Tropical Park Turf Handicap, Grade 3.

The pair came to the wire in a fierce battle with the Meteor, a Canadian bred foaled by Kinghaven Farms, winning by a long neck over Rahy, bred by Elle Boje Farm here in Ontario.

Twilight Meteor was anounced as being retired to stud in New York this spring but obviously returned to the races and a new trainer, Marty Wolfson.

“That one race after being off 19 months obviously did him a lot of good,” Wolfson said. “The plan was for him to go to stud after his career with Todd (Pletcher), but the market just wasn’t there, particularly for a turf horse. When John Fort (Peachtree owner) offered me the chance to try and bring him back to the races, I was delighted. He’d beaten me in races so many times. It was kind of like Miesque’s Approval (second racing career when he won 2006 Eclipse Award). We’ll look for the right race at Gulfstream next.” (quote from


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