SAM LIMA TO RECEIVE SPECIAL SOVEREIGN AWARD
The Jockey Club of Canada will present longtime HBPA director, horse owner and businessman SAM LIMA with a Special Sovereign Award during its ceremony for 2017 champions, April 19, 2018.
Sam is easily one of the most well known and passionate racing fans at Woodbine and over more than three decades, has transfered that passion into positive influence on the sport he loves.
A successful entrepreneur, Sam was an Etobicoke billiard hall owner in 1969 when a colt he owned with Murray Rosa, FIRE N DESIRE won the Plate Trial and finished 3rd in the Queen’s Plate. The colt, a son of Nearctic, later won the Manitoba Derby.
Sam’s white and pink silks have been seen frequently over the years and he has been intergral in the advancement of racing in Ontario through the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. He also runs the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club, originally founded by Bob Prentice,which has given plenty of racing experiences to fans for half a decade.
He has been a tireless worker for the HBPA and has welcomed any new ideas to the table in order to better and promote horse racing.
For his Racing Club, Sam is always keen to get the most current and interesting guests, take his fan club members to different tracks and farms for its annual field trips and at every meeting, Sam is equipped with questions and news about each guest.
Sam is also always with his horse racing-loving wide Frances and his daughter Carolyn helps out with the Racing Club.
Congratulations to Sam for this Special Sovereign Award.
MICHAEL EISEN to receive Sovereign for Handicapper, Alfredo Ramos for Groom of the Year
Former Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Michael Eisen will receive a Sovereign Award for Handicapper of the Year at the April 19 ceremony at Palais Royale in Toronto.
Eisen won the Player of the Year Award at Woodbine last year, given to the leading point-earner through 4 tournaments at the Toronto track. He had a pair of 3rd place finishes and wound up wuth the most points and the Sovereign Award. Read more here:
The second annual Sovereign for GROOM OF THE YEAR will be awarded to ALFREDO RAMOS, who has worked for trainer Roger Attfield for many years. Ramos grooms Ghostly Presence, a stakes winner in 2017 among other horses.
WOODBINE BACKSTRETCH NOW OPEN
Trainer-on-the rise Gattellaro ready to roll
Woodbine media file: TORONTO, February 27, 2018 – Woodbine was a blur of activity on Tuesday morning as trainers and horses returned to the backstretch to begin preparations for the 2018 season.
Nearly 200 trainers will put 2,000 stalls in use throughout the eight-month meet, which sees live racing burst from the gate on April 21.
Pink Lloyd, a perfect eight-for-eight in 2017, is one of the favourites for Horse of the Year honours and also one of the first to step foot on the backstretch for Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller.
“Pink Lloyd wintered fine. We’ll get him going and he’ll tell us when he’s ready,” said Tiller. “We’re interested in the same schedule as last year but we’ll take it one race at a time.”
Owned by Entourage Stable, the multiple graded stakes winning chestnut was a force to be reckoned with in 2017 winning eight stakes including the Grade 3 Vigil and Grade 2 Kennedy Road.
The majority of Tiller trainees enjoyed a winter not far from their Woodbine home.
“Most spent the winter at Paul Buttigieg’s farm in Egbert, Ontario,” said Tiller. “My horses have wintered there for 35 years. He has a huge indoor arena and can get them legged up indoors to get them going.”
Going into his third year at Woodbine, 32-year-old conditioner Tony Gattellaro was one of the first to arrive. The multiple stakes winning trainer won 10 races from 49 starts in 2017, including a score in the prestigious Princess Elizabeth Stakes with Clickity Clack.
Gattellaro will have 14 stalls to fill initially as he prepares for Opening Day on April 21.
Among his new clients is the successful Tucci Stables of Lou and Carlo Tucci.
“I’m fired up to come back again,” said Gattellaro. “Most of the horses have already been galloping at the various farms and come in with a decent base underneath them. Most of them will pick up and start galloping right away. Within two weeks, I’d like to start breezing and have the majority of the older horses ready for Opening Day. The younger horses, we’ll be real patient and take our time with.”
Nominated to both the Canadian Triple Crown and Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, Clickity Clack has blossomed over the offseason.
“Clickity Clack had a tremendous winter,” said Gattellaro. “She’s really filled out and matured. She’s coming into herself and I think she is going to have a big year.”
With business booming for the up-and-coming trainer, Gattellaro is determined to stick to the little details that has propelled early success.
“The biggest thing with taking on new clients is making sure that every horse gets the same treatment and not take anything away from what’s got me to this stage to attract new business,” noted Gattellaro. “I put aside a lot of time for owners and make sure I’m always there to answer the phone.”
With stable stars Absolution, Red Riot and Fresh Princess all returning to action, Gattellaro is looking forward to competing in the top flight throughout 2018.
“I’m looking forward to the Yearling Sales Stakes day again. I’ve had a lot of success purchasing horses out of the sale,” said Gattellaro, who has enjoyed great success with purchases from the Canadian Premier Yearling Sale. “I’m targeting that as a potentially bigger night for my stable this year. It’s good for marketing the business to show people what we can do on a limited budget and get the results we’ve been lucky to get.”
The dirt training track will open for business on February 28, while live Thoroughbred racing returns to Woodbine on April 21. The 159th edition of the Queen’s Plate, first jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown of Racing, is slated for Saturday, June 30.
WOODBINE will implement an increase in race participation bonus from $400 to $800 from April 21 to May 21.
In addition, a new policy states that any horse entered at Woodbine may not leave the grounds unless by written approval or due to medical emergency.
Construction on the new TURF COURSE inside of the Tapeta, begins on APRIL 10.
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