TORONTO, July 20, 2023 – Kevin Attard will have four chances to win his third straight $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, one of four stakes on Sunday’s 11-race card at Woodbine.
Inaugurated in 1956, the filly classic, which has attracted 14 Canadian-foaled 3-year-old fillies carrying 121 pounds over one mile and one-eighth on the Tapeta, will go postward as race 10 at 6:00 p.m. ET. The winning connections will receive $300,000.
Sunday’s card also features the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes, a key race ahead of the King’s Plate (August 20), the $175,000 Connaught Cup Stakes Presented by Bulleit Bourbon (G2T), and $150,000 Trillium Stakes Presented by Stella Artois (G3).
After winning the 2021 Oaks with eventual Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Munnyfor Ro, and the 2022 edition with Queen’s Plate (now King’s Plate) winner and Canada’s reigning horse of the year Moira, trainer Kevin Attard will look to duplicate that success with the quartet of Courtly Ro, Delphia, Fashionably Fab, and Wickenheiser.
“To win one Oaks is a big accomplishment and something all of us at the barn are really proud of. And to win two straight was beyond incredible. This is the type of race you dream about winning and hopefully that dream isn’t over yet. It takes a lot to get a horse to this kind of race. It takes a team effort and I’m lucky to be part of a great one.”
Owned by Raroma Stable Inc., Courtly Ro, a daughter of Cairo Prince-Victoire, bred by Sam-Son Farm, brings a mark of 1-0-1 from six starts into the Oaks.
After a third on the E.P. Taylor turf to launch her career last July, the roan broke her maiden next time out in a seven-furlong race over the same ground. She closed out her 2-year-old campaign with a seventh in the Natalma Stakes (G1T) and a fifth in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes.
In two starts this year, Courtly Ro finished ninth in the Fury Stakes Presented by Stella Artois and seventh in a one-mile turf race on July 1.
Attard is hopeful the filly can turn things around with a big effort on Sunday.
“Obviously, Courtly Ro’s past two races have been disappointing. That said, we know she has the talent and ability to turn things around. She’s been working well, so hopefully, she can bounce back with a big effort on Sunday.”
Delphia made an impressive first impression on her connections courtesy of a dazzling debut on June 15.
The daughter of Mucho Macho Man-Quality Diamond rallied to win the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta race by three lengths for owners X-Men Racing 2 LLC and SF Racing LLC.
“The connections and everyone at the barn were looking forward to Delphia’s first race and she certainly didn’t disappoint. It was a professional performance from start to finish. To go two turns in your first start and do it that well was very impressive.”
Bred by Adena Springs, the bay filly caught the attention of Attard well before her career bow.
The lifetime winner of 699 races believes his young charge will be able to handle the step up to the stakes ranks.
“She’ll have to be even better on Sunday, but from day one, she’s been a willing filly, handling everything that comes her way like a savvy veteran.”
Fashionably Fab won three straight races as a rookie after a third in her debut last September.
Bred and owned by Terra Racing Stable, the daughter of Silent Name (JPN)-Flashy’s Legacy arrives at the Oaks off a fifth in the Fury Stakes Presented by Stella Artois, her first 3-year-old start.
The dark bay has had a steady work tab since the Fury, including a five-furlong breeze in :59.40 over the Woodbine main track on July 16.
“Fashionably Fab’s first race back was okay. She’s a very talented horse and I believe she’ll be much better in her second start. She had a great rookie year, including her maiden win by nearly 12 lengths. She likes to be forwardly placed, but she’s handy enough to adapt to however the race plays out. She’s also worked well since the Fury and is coming into the race in good order.”
Attard’s other starter comes in the form of Wickenheiser, named after Canadian hockey great Hayley Wickenheiser.
Bred by Sean Fitzhenry, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid-Frame (FR) is owned by Attard, Clay Scherer, and Al and Bill Ulwelling.
The bay won first time out last July at Woodbine and was fourth in the Johnnie Walker Natalma Stakes (G1T) in September. She was second in a 1 1/16-mile Tapeta race on June 4 and brings a mark of 1-1-0 from five career starts into the Oaks.
“I thought Wickenheiser’s last effort was very impressive. She came running and was really rolling late. She’s a very versatile filly and is always up for the challenge. It would be great to see her build off her last race and go one better on Sunday. We know she will definitely appreciate the distance.”
Big Brass Bed, a daughter of Nyquist-Precision Farming, will make her first start outside of the U.S. for trainer Chad Brown and owner Peter Brant. Bred by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc., the chestnut filly, unraced at two, finished third on the Gulfstream Park turf in her April debut, before breaking her maiden at 1 1/16 miles over the Monmouth grass in May. She heads into the Oaks off a fourth at Belmont in a 1 1/16-mile run on the inner turf on June 22.
Collect Dattt, a daughter of Collected-Dattt Echo, is owned by Bruno Schickedanz, who supplemented her to the Oaks. Bred by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc., the bay has compiled a record of 2-1-0 from seven starts. Last time out, on July 2, Collect Dattt struck front in mid-stretch and posted a two-length score in a six-furlong Tapeta race. The horse was claimed for $40,000 and is now in the barn of Martin Hinckson.
Elysian Field, trained by dual hall of famer and three-time Oaks winner Mark Casse, heads into the Oaks off a strong second in the Fury. Sporting a 1-2-0 mark from five starts, the chestnut daughter of Hard Spun-Elysian is owned by Team Valor International and Gary Barber, and was bred by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc.
“I thought she ran really well in the Fury,” said Casse. “She’s training very well heading into this. I expect her to run a big race.”
A dark bay daughter of Midnight Lute-Sinful, Flysofreeashleeb is winless from seven starts for owner Colebrook Farms. Trained by Patrick Dixon, the dark bay was third in her most recent performance, a 1 1/16-mile trek over the Tapeta on June 15. She was bred by Janeane Everatt, James Everatt and Arika Everatt-Meeuse.
Fashioning a mark of 2-2-2 from 10 career starts, Fortyfiveseventy has the most races of any Oaks entrant under her saddle. Bred by Charles Fipke, the daughter of Perfect Timber-Avall Tale has finished in the top four eight times to date. She debuted last July and broke her maiden in her sixth start, the penultimate race of her 2-year-old campaign. Trained and owned by Barbara Minshall, she comes into the Oaks off a fourth in the Selene Stakes (G3).
Bred by Adena Springs, Friends for Life is 1-1-1 from four starts. The daughter of Silent Name (JPN)-Ginger Brew recorded a 2 ¼-length score in her career bow last August over six furlongs on the Woodbine Tapeta. Third, placed second in the turf Victorian Queen Stakes, the bay was tenth in her final 2-year-old start on October 16. She launched her 3-year-old campaign with a third at seven furlongs on the Tapeta in late May. Stuart Simon trains and co-owns with Brent, Russell, and Roy McLellan.
Great Kate heads into the Oaks in winning form after breaking her maiden courtesy of a sharp score at 1 1/16 miles over the Tapeta on June 22. Trained by John Mattine for RCC Racing Stable Ltd., the daughter of Souper Speedy-Queenie’s Gold rallied to finish fourth in her debut last November. She completed her 2-year-old season with a sixth, 3 ½ lengths behind the winner, in a one mile and a 70-yard Tapeta race. The dark bay was bred by Paradox Farm Inc.
Me and My Shadow, under the tutelage of Mark Casse, has never finished lower than fourth in her six starts, which has yielded a 1-2-1 mark. Owned by D.J. Racing Stable LLC, the daughter of Violence-Silhouette has contested four stakes races, including runner-up performances in last year’s Princess Elizabeth and Shady Well. She heads into the Oaks off a third in the Fury.
“I kind of felt early on this year that Me and My Shadow wasn’t training as well as she has in the past, but that’s changed in her last couple of breezes. The lights have come on and I expect a big effort.”
Ticker Tape Home rained on her rivals’ parade in the Fury, wiring her seven foes with a confident four-length triumph. Trained by Mark Casse, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro-Journey Home is 2-2-0 from eight races. Bred by Sam-Son Farm and owned by Live Oak Plantation, the dark bay broke her maiden in her fourth start, a 9 ¾-length romp over seven furlongs on the E.P. Taylor Turf last October. She was runner-up in her final 2-year-old start, the Display Stakes, on November 5.
“She’s training very well,” said Casse. “She’s a very talented filly. It’s whether she can get the distance. Her pedigree says she should, but nobody knows a mile and an eighth until you do it. I think all three of our horses are legitimate contenders.”
Bred and owned by Robert Marzilli, Tito’s Calling has finished in the top four in her past five starts, a run that includes back-to-back victories, one to end her 2-year-old season and the other to launch her 3-year-old campaign. Trained by Mike De Paulo, the bay daughter of Society’s Chairman-Unstablenthemornin finished third in the Selene (G3) on July 1. Overall, she’s 2-1-1 from nine starts.
The Woodbine Oaks is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara, which continues at the Toronto oval with the 1 1/16-mile, $250,000 Bison City Stakes on August 13 and concludes with the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes at 1 ¼ miles over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course on September 10.
First race post time for Sunday’s 11-race program is 1:05 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
$500,000 WOODBINE OAKS PRESENTED BY BUDWEISER (Race 10)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Flysofreeashleeb – Jose Campos – Patrick Dixon
2 – Big Brass Bed – Manuel Franco – Chad Brown
3 – Elysian Field – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse
4 – Great Kate – Rico Walcott – John Mattine
5 – Delphia – David Moran – Kevin Attard
6 – Friends for Life – Eswan Flores – Stuart Simon
7 – Fashionably Fab – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard
8 – Fortyfiveseventy – Ryan Munger – Barb Minshall
9 – Tito’s Calling – Luis Contreras – Michael De Paulo
10 – Wickenheiser – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard
11 – Ticker Tape Home – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
12 – Collect Dattt (S) – Skye Chernetz – Martin Hinckson
13 – Courtly Ro – Daisuke Fukumoto – Kevin Attard
14 – Me and My Shadow – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms