Event held at Woodbine tent

For the first time in three years, the Woodbine Oaks draw will be held back on home turf, the Woodbine trackside tent. The draw has been held at WEGZ stadium bar in recent years.
Trainer MARK CASSE is expected to be in attendance as he starts 3 of the 8 horses scheduled to be entered (WAITINGINTHEWINGS is, er, waitinginthewings and still could be entered).

Casse’s trio includes DIXIE STRIKE, the early Plate favourite, NORTHERN PASSION, both gals owned by John Oxley, and BLACK BIRD ROCK, owned by Eugene Melnyk.

The field is a contrast is breeding and purchase prices. There is AWESOME FIRE, bred locally by Dr. John Brown and bought privately for $10,000 by Hugh Sutherland (brother of jockey Chantal Sutherland) and then the $375,000 for IRISH MISSION, a giant, ganly filly owned by Robert Evans.

IRISH MISSION is an interesting twist of a story. The Giant’s Causeway gal is a daughter of Misty Mission, a Sam-Son Farms homebred who beat Catch the Ring in the Wonder Where Stakes in 2000, quashing that stablemate’s Triple Tiara sweep and a $250,000 bonus.

Meanwhile trainer Mark Frostad was recently let go from Sam-Son after so many years of successes and he sends out Irish Mission for Robert Evans, who bought the filly from Sam-Son.

Bill Graham’s WINDHAVEN, located in Caledon, will have HORSESHOE HILL in the field. Like Irish Mission, the gal just won her maiden. Graham and trainer Mike Doyle won the Oaks way back in 1989 with BLONDEINAMOTEL.

“This filly can get the distance,” said Doyle, of the horse who broke in the air in her first start on June 25, had to have a chip taken out of her ankle after that first race and then was scratched from a race over the winter in New York after grabbing her quarter. “She can definitely go long and she can go all day.

Horseshoe Hill, by Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense

M Burns photo



PROBABLE FIELD – with purchase price, breeding etc.

1 – AWESOME FIRE – $10,000 private purchase
ch.f.3 by Strong Contender(Maria’s Mon) – Awesome Lass(Awesome Again)  $10,000
Urban Fire Corp. Nicholas Gonzalez

*4th in Fury Stakes, likes longer distances

2 – BANTEE – $140,000 Kentucky yearling
b.f. Dixieland Band – Steph’s tee by Lil E Tee
Jim and Susan HIll Reade Baker

*Won maiden last time but was disqualified

3 – BLACK BIRD ROCK – homebred
dk b/.f.3 by Flower Alley(Distorted Humor) – Black Rock Road(Bertrando)
Melnyk Racing Stable Inc. Mark E. Casse

*Won maiden at 1 1/16 miles with very tough trip

4 – DIXIE STRIKE – $45,000 Canadian yearling
b.f.3 by Dixie Union(Dixieland Band) – Noble Strike(Smart Strike)
John C. Oxley Mark E. Casse

*Won Selene with 89 Beyer, explosive move

5 – HORSESHOE HILL – homebred
b.f.3 by Street Sense(Street Cry (IRE)) – Leaveminthedust(Danzig)
Windhaven Michael J. Doyle

*Won maiden last time at 1 1/16 miles

6 – IRISH MISSION – $375,000 Kentucky yearling
ch.f.3 by Giant’s Causeway(Storm Cat) – Misty Mission(Miswaki)
Robert S. Evans Mark R. Frostad

*won maiden at Keeneland, 1 3/16 miles, 73 Beyer

7 – NORTHERN PASSION – $220,000 Florida 2yo
ch.f.3 by First Samurai(Giant’s Causeway) – A Touch of Glory(Golden Gear)
John C. Oxley Mark E. Casse

*Won Fury., 83 Beyer

8 – ROSE AND SHINE – homebred
dk b/.f.3 by Mr. Sekiguchi(Storm Cat) – Yellowenglishrose(Colonial Affair)
James Sabiston Ralph J. Biamonte

*won Princess ElIzabeth last year


PLATE TRIAL, final Plate prep

raw list of probables, Strait of Dover could go right into Plate, small field expected

dk b/.c.3 by Belong to Me(Danzig) – Carah Five(You and I)
Donver Stable Josie Carroll
dk b/.c.3 by Indian Charlie(In Excess (IRE)) – Major Idea(Cherokee Run)
Green Hills Farm Inc. Todd A. Pletcher
dk b/.c.3 by Grand Slam(Gone West) – Classic Stamp(Regal Classic)
William Sorokolit Darwin D. Banach
dk b/.c.3 by Seeking the Best (IRE)(Seeking the Gold) – Saint Parker(Saint Ballado)
Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc. & Josie Carroll Josie Carroll
b.c.3 by Repent(Louis Quatorze) – Primary Motive(Prime Timber)
Quintessential Racing Florida LLC, Horse’nAround Racing Stable & R. Lederman Mark E. Casse
dk b/.g.3 by Tale of the Cat(Storm Cat) – Emanating(Cox’s Ridge)
Windhaven Michael J. Doyle
dk b/.c.3 by English Channel(Smart Strike) – Bahrain Star(Danzig)
Canyon Farms Daniel J. Vella



It was tough sledding for most handicappers to pick winners on top but CLOCKER BRUCE, a guest handicapper for Woodbine, picked 6 of the 8 winners!

race 1 – SPORTS SELECT was ridden like a pro in race 1, a $25,000 claimer for older horses at 7 furlongs. The 5yo had never been the distance, and had been down on his luck lately. But off the claim by Gary McMaster and trainer Daryl Ezra, and with ear muffs ‘on’, the gelding got away with a soft half mile, was well off the rail path under Gerry Olguin, and he powered home to win. He is now 6 for 15 in his career and he is a Kentucky bred by Petionville.

race 2- the Oaks week started off nicely for Bill Graham’s Windhaven and trainer Mike Doyle. HENNY’S HEART won a maiden allowance in race 2 under Emma-Jayne Wilson, running down 9 to 5 firster Little River in the last few strides. The Henny Hughes filly was making her 8th career start and was cutting back to 5 furlongs.
Graham and Doyle have Horseshoe Hill in the Oaks.

race 3- the first of 2 grass races on the night went to front runner MR. ROD, a graded stakes winner as a 2yo who was recently claimed for $6,250. This fellow has won twice for new owner Ace Racing and trainer Scott Fairlie, for $8K and $10K, and then won for $37,500, on the lead all the way with Michele Rainford on board.

race 4 – three-year-old BUONGIORNO JOHNNY battled on the pace and won the $40,000 claiming sprint at 3 to 1. Trained by Sid Attard, the stakes winner was making his 3rd start off the layoff and dropping from allowance to claiming. He was making his turf debut and is by Mr. Greeley.

race 5 – it was a smashing maiden win for SMASHING PROMISE, who dusted a maiden field at 1 1/16 miles, leading by some 9 lengths at one point and finally winning by about 5 for Jim and Susan Hill. The Broken Vow fellow was dropping from $50,000 claiming to $16,000. Reade Baker trains and Jim McAleney rode.

race 6 – The 6yo gelding EDGE got the edge for his 2nd straight win, taking the 6th as one of the favourites, The gelding won for $9,500 last time and won for the same price. This is a wonderful guy who has been traded about lately -he currently is owned and trained by Nick Mileni Jr. By The Cliff’s Edge, Edge almost always picks up at least a 5th place purse share and he is now 5 for 42 in his career.

race 7 – a maiden allowance for Ontario sired guys went to THATBOATHASSAILED, a homebred for Osprey Stable (Moira Gunn). The son of Where’s the Ring rallied up the rail to win in a blanket finish under Justin Stein and beat a nice firster called Rocket Warning, who broke badly, rushed, dueled and just missed for Ramon Dominguez. The winner is by Where’s the Ring out of River Nymph.

race 8  – NIIGON’S HONOUR ran off like a wild horse early in the Ontario sired allowance event and won by 1 1/2 lengths for Chiefswood Stable and trainer Dan Vella. The Niigon – Piper’s Honour filly was the 6th winner for the owners at the meeting from its 16th starter.