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WINTER TRAINING ONTARIO STYLE! Trainer SAUL MCHUGH and AMANDA MCLEOD were taking McHugh’s trainees for some super gallops at Robyn Broham’s new farm in Hagersville, ON this winter. McHugh, who trains for Maureen Hewitt-Topp and Brohman as well as for himself and Kevin Ward, has now shipped his horses into Woodbine. Photo courtesy Maureen Hewitt Topp
















Woodbine Entertainment will introduce a pair of six-furlong turf sprints for two-year-olds to its Thoroughbred stakes program along with various other racing opportunities during the 2018 meet, which gets underway next month.

The $100,000 Catch a Glimpse Stakes for juvenile fillies is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25 at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack, home of the famed E.P. Taylor Turf Course, followed by the companion Soaring Free Stakes for colts on Sunday, Aug. 26.

The new stakes, included in the recently released 2018 Thoroughbred Stakes Schedule, provides a turf opportunity for young horses at Woodbine leading up to the Grade 1 Natalma and Summer Stakes, both Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series events set for September 16. The $225,000 Cup & Saucer, a 1-1/16 mile stakes restricted to Canadian-foaled two-year-olds on October 7, is currently the only other juvenile turf stakes on the Woodbine schedule.

“With a second turf course coming to Woodbine in 2019, we are looking for more opportunities in our racing schedule to enhance our turf program,” said Jonathan Zammit, vice president of Thoroughbred racing operations. “Woodbine is one of the few tracks in North America that hosts turf stakes for two-year-olds and the addition of the Catch a Glimpse and Soaring Free Stakes provides juveniles with a local prep for a pair of key Grade 1 events.”

The Catch a Glimpse is named for Canada’s 2015 Horse of the Year, who won the Natalma at Woodbine before capturing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and five other graded turf stakes. The City Zip filly earned a total of $1.85 million in purses during her career for trainer Mark Casse and owners Gary Barber, Michael James Ambler and Windways Farm.
The Soaring Free honors the Sam-Son Farm homebred who was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2013. The son of Smart Strike won Woodbine’s $1 million Atto Mile Stakes (Grade 1) during his 2004 Horse of the Year campaign. Trained by Mark Frostad, the double millionaire was also victorious at Woodbine in the Nearctic (Grade 2) and two editions each of the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes and graded Play the King Handicap and Scotts Highlander Handicap. Soaring Free holds the Woodbine turf record for seven furlongs of 1:19.38 that he set in winning his second edition of the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes.

Woodbine will also be offering additional racing competitions during the 2018 season with the return of the Turf Endurance Series, which runs from July to October with four $50,000 legs increasing in distance from 1 mile and 3 furlongs to 2 1/4 miles. The winner of the point-based claiming series will be awarded a bonus, which increases this year from $15,000 to $40,000. Tesseron was crowned the inaugural champion after winning two legs of the 2017 series and accumulating 32 points to lead all rivals in rein to Emma-Jayne Wilson for trainer Harold Ladouceur and owner Kirk Sutherland.

Woodbine will also offer a $25,000 bonus to the winning connections of the newly formed Turf Sprint Series, which will be composed of the upgraded $250,000 Highlander Stakes, a Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup ‘Win And You’re In’ six-furlong sprint set for June 30, as well as the $175,000 Play the King Stakes (Grade 2, seven furlongs, August 25) and $250,000 Nearctic Stakes (Grade 2, six furlongs, October 13). The stakes series bonus will be awarded to the winner also determined by a point system, which will be based on finishing position in all three legs.

The one-mile Grey Handicap featuring only grey and roan-colored horses will return in 2018 to the E.P. Taylor Turf Course with a purse of $50,000 up for grabs on October 21. New this year, Woodbine will introduce a $50,000 handicap for chestnut fillies called the Lady in Red. The seven-furlong sprint will be contested over the Tapeta track and is tentatively scheduled for late September. Aiming for a date in August, Woodbine will also host a Fillies and Mares Night featuring various racing opportunities for distaffers.

Opening day is April 21 for Woodbine’s 133-day Thoroughbred meet. For more information, visit WoodbineRacetrack.com.



Pretty Bird’s first foal is a Silent Name filly owned by Saul McHugh – courtesy Maureen Hewitt Topp




A Gio Ponti filly from Jingleberry owned by Saul McHugh and Kevin Ward – photo courtesy Maureen Hewitt Topp











Gary Barber’s WONDER GADOT, in line for Champion 2-year-old filly in Canada at the upcoming Sovereign Awards on April 19, will try to work her way into the Kentucky Oaks field in May with a good run in the Fair Grounds Oaks on Saturday. The Medaglia D’Oro filly, bred by Anderson Farms, was 3rd in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes in her latest outing and posted a new high Beyer Figure of 85.

She has post 8 in the 9 horse field and is the 3 to 1 second choice to Classy Act, who was 2nd in the Rachel Alexandra.

The Fair Grounds Oaks is part of a big card of racing at Fair Grounds which includes the LOUISIANA DERBY, a major Kentucky Derby stepping stone race.

More analysis on tomorrow’s ‘Blog.






















John C. Oxley’s Flameaway, the winner of Tampa Bay Downs’ Sam F. Davis (Grade III), leads a group of 10 3-year-old Thoroughbreds that were made eligible to compete in the 2018 Triple Crown with a late $6,000 payment that was due Monday.

With 10 late nominees during the Jan. 21-March 19 late nomination phase (pending late mail), there are now 370 horses eligible to participate in the Triple Crown’s three race series: the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I), the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (GI), and the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI). The early nomination total was 360 at $600 per horse.

The late Triple Crown nominees (with trainer) are Kaleem Shah Inc.’s All Out Blitz (Simon Callaghan); Steve Keh, CTR Stable LLC, R 3 Racing and Calara Farms’ Arawak (Doug O’Neill); Say Jay Racing and Greg Hall’s Blended Citizen (O’Neill); Oxley’s Determinant (Mark Casse); Oxley’s Flameaway (Casse); Godolphin’s Gold Town (GB) (Charlie Appleby); Ronald M. Lamarque and Louie Roussel III’s Making a Marc (Roussel); Daniel McConnell’s Prince Lucky (Todd Pletcher); Joe R. Peacock’s Runaway Ghost (Todd Fincher); and Miss Avni Kapoor, Mr. Charnesh Kapoor and Mr. Nirav Kapoor’s Yulong Warrior (Satish Seemar).

Flameaway, who began the week at No. 10 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard that will determine the preference list for America’s greatest race, is versatile with victories on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces. He most recently finished second behind Quip in the March 10 Tampa Bay Derby (GII) and is targeting the April 7 Blue Grass (GII) at Keeneland.

Gold Town (GB), who romped by 10 ½ lengths in the Feb. 15 UAE Guineas, and Yulong Warrior, an 11 ½-length victor in the March 10 Al Bastakiya, are expected to meet in the $2 million UAE Derby (GII) at Meydan Racecourse on March 31.

Blended Citizen and Arawak finished first and third, respectively in Saturday’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) at Turfway Park and the latter was relocated to O’Neill’s barn after the race after previously being trained by Wesley Ward.

Runaway Ghost, runner-up in the Feb. 25 Mine That Bird, is expected to enter Sunday’s Sunland Derby (GIII) along with Pennsylvania-bred Prince Lucky, who was recently transferred from trainer Larry Jones to Todd Pletcher.

All Out Blitz, the runner-up finisher in the Jan. 6 Sham (GIII) and third-place finisher in the Feb. 10 San Vicente (GII), is in training at Santa Anita.

Determinant broke his maiden March 10 with a 1 ¾-length triumph over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.

Making a Marc is entered in a two-turn maiden special weight at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

The 2018 Triple Crown series opens Saturday, May 5 with the 144th running of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 143rd Preakness, the 1 3/16-mile second jewel, is set for Saturday, May 19 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, its 1 ½-mile final leg, is scheduled for Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

1. Bolt d’Oro 64 Ruis Racing (Mick Ruis) Mick Ruis $780,000
2. Enticed 63 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al) Kiaran McLaughlin $360,880
3. Bravazo 54 Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) D. Wayne Lukas $349,913
4. Promises Fulfilled 52 Robert J. Baron Dale Romans $256,480
5. Magnum Moon 50 Lawana L. & Robert E. Low Todd Pletcher $540,000

6. Quip 50 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club International Ltd. (Ah Khing Teo) & SF Racing LLC (Gavin Murphy) Rodolphe Brisset $212,000
7. McKinzie 40 Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman Bob Baffert $320,000
8. Good Magic 34 e Five Racing Thoroughbreds) & Stonestreet Stables LLC (Barbara Banke) Chad Brown $1,238,400
9. Solomini 34 Zayat Stables LLC (Ahmed Zayat), Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor & Derrick Smith Bob Baffert $616,000
10. $-Flameaway 30 John C. Oxley Mark Casse $472,260

11. Firenze Fire 29 Mr. Amore Stable (Ron Lombardi) Jason Servis $582,500
12. Free Drop Billy 24 Albaugh Family Stables LLC (Dennis Albaugh & Jason Loustch) Dale Romans $497,200
13. Combatant 22 Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (Ron Winchell) & Willis Horton Racing LLC Steve Asmussen $300,000
14. Snapper Sinclair 22 Bloom Racing Stable (Jeffrey Bloom) Steve Asmussen $301,810
— +Blended Citizen 22 Greg Hall & Sayjay Racing LLC Doug O’Neill $129,644
15. Strike Power 20 Courtlandt Farms (Donald & Donna Adam) Mark Hennig $199,560

16. Old Time Revival 20 Fred J. Brei Kenneth Decker $80,000
17. Instilled Regard 19 Oxo Equine LLC (Lawrence Best) Jerry Hollendorfer $196,000
18. Catholic Boy 14 Robert V. LaPenta & Madaket Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) Jonathan Thomas $330,000
19. Avery Island 14 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al) Kiaran McLaughlin $320,000
20. My Boy Jack 12 Don’t Tell My Wife Stables (Kirk Godbey & Rob Slack) & Monomoy Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) Keith Desormeaux $402,000

21. Greyvitos 10 Triple B Farms (Michelle Boghossian) Adam Kitchingman $300,000
22. Audible 10 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club International Ltd, SF Racing LLC (Gavin Murphy) & Starlight Racing
Todd Pletcher $208,320
— +The Tabulator 10 Carolyn Wilson Larry Rivelli $186,750
23. Kanthaka 10 West Point Thoroughbreds LLC (Terry Finley) Jerry Hollendorfer $168,000
24. World of Trouble 10 Michael Dubb & Bethlehem Stables LLC Jason Servis $145,000
25. Lombo 10 Michael V. Lombardi Mike Pender $90,345