Crone hands out top marks to Canadian Graduate Series hopefuls

Crone hands out top marks to Canadian Graduate Series hopefuls

MILTON, May 2, 2024 – Trainer Meg Crone has two chances at making the grade when the Canadian Graduate Series finals take centre stage at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday.

Off to a stellar start in 2024, Crone is hoping to keep her stable’s winning ways going this weekend at the Milton oval.

The lifetime winner of 433 races will be represented by Passarino in the Canadian Graduate Series Trot Final.

A son of Lookslikeachpndale-Perfect Prelude, the bay gelding is set to square off against five rivals in the race for Canadian-sired four-year-olds.

“He seems to be getting a little stronger and a little sharper each week,” said Crone. “His biggest thing is that he is always able to leave the gate and put himself into a good position. He is tough down the lane too.” ​

Owned by Seawind Amgs Stbs 2005 Inc (New Brunswick) and T M Racing (Alberta), Passarino arrives at the final off a gutsy second in the third leg of the Graduate on April 26.

Sent off at 14-1, Passarino held a nose advantage at the stretch call and dug in gamely to secure the runner-up spot, trotting the final quarter in a lively :26.3.

Sporting a lifetime mark of 4-9-3 from 35 starts, Passarino, who was bred Seawind Amgs Stbs 2005 Inc, has rhymed off 11 consecutive top-four finishes.

In nine starts this year, he is 2-3-1, along with $46,110 in purse earnings.

“Before he came to us, I watched a lot of his races, and I hadn’t realized just how gutsy he is. In his race last week, he dug in and kept fighting on.”

Passarino earned his speed badge of 1:53.4 on March 21 at Woodbine Mohawk, courtesy of a 2 ¼-length score as the 1-5 choice.

Crone is pleased with what she has seen leading up to the $81,500 final.

“He gets a little sharper each week. He shows each up race, better and stronger.”

There won’t be much time – less than 30 minutes – before Crone watches Powder Play line up behind the starter car for the Canadian Graduate Series Pace final for four-year-old mares.

The daughter of Sportswriter-Laurels Lea heads into the final riding a two-race win streak, both victories coming in Graduate legs.

Powder Play followed up a head victory on April 19 with a 1 ¼-length triumph one week later.

The bay mare has reached the podium in six straight starts, a streak that includes three wins and a pair of seconds.

“She surprises me every time she races,” praised Crone. “She tries so hard. She can leave, she can come off the pace – she’s very versatile.” ​

Bred by Ray Compari and owned by Robert Woodburn, Powder Play was a $45,000 purchase at the 2021 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

After a trio of qualifiers spread over June and July of 2022, she debuted with a second at Georgian Downs on August 13 of that year.

Two races later, this time at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Powder Play notched her first win, by a head, in 1:54.4.

In 40 career starts, she has complied a mark of 12-9-3, accompanied by $171,005 in purse earnings.

Her lifetime-best 1:51 came on January 5, in her first start of 2024.

“She just gets better and better,” lauded Crone. She’s amazing.”

Jody Jamieson, who will be in the sulky Saturday night, agrees.

“Her determination is what impresses me the most,” said the driver who is closing in on 8,700 career wins. “She doesn’t like to lose at all.”

The series, which made its debut last year as the Ontario Graduate, before Woodbine opted to open it to Canadian-sired four-year-olds in 2024, consists of three $25,000 preliminary legs and $75,000 added finals.

Seven four-year-old pacers will vie for the $80,000 top prize in Saturday’s other Graduate final, carded as the eighth race on the evening’s 12-race offering.

First post is 7:15 p.m.

Race 5 – Canadian Graduate Series Trot

PP – Horse – Driver - Trainer

1 – Ghostly Casper – Tyler Borth – Benoit Baillargeon
​2 – Like Chaos – Bruce Richardson – Bruce Richardson
​3 – Osceola – Doug McNair – Gregg McNair
​4 – Passarino – Sylvain Filion – Meg Crone
​5 – Tuscan Prince – Louis-Philippe Roy – Luc Blais
​6 – Hasty Bid – James MacDonald – Paige Austin

Race 5 – Canadian Graduate Series Pace (Mares)

1 – Talk Curdy To Me – James MacDonald – Dave Menary
​2 – Lady Get Lucky – Doug McNair – Chris Matthews
​3 – Ima Doll – Tyler Borth – John Petland
​4 – Powder Play – Jody Jamieson – Meg Crone
​5 – Mist Amber – Louis-Phillipe Roy – John Petland
​6 – Cheesy Smile – Bob McClure – John Petland
​7 – One Last Wish – Paul MacDonell

Race 8 – Canadian Graduate Series Pace

1 – Sauble Ace – Bob McClure – Otis Hall
​2 – Whatchulookinat – James MacDonald – Dave Menary
​3 – Write Me A Rose – Doug McNair – Robert Fellows
​4 – Speaker Of Peace – Scott Young – William McClure
​5 – Wry – Louis-Phillipe Roy – Dave Menary
​6 – No Control – Sylvain Filion – Tan Micallef
​7 – Nightime Dancer – Jody Jamieson – Rod Boyd


Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

Mark McKelvie
Mark McKelvie Sr. Manager Communications, Woodbine Entertainment



Horse Racing - SB
About Woodbine Entertainment

Woodbine Entertainment is the largest horse racing operator in Canada, with Thoroughbred horse racing at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, and Standardbred horse racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Milton. Woodbine Entertaiment also owns and operates HPIbet, Canada’s only betting platform dedicated to horse racing. Woodbine and Mohawk Park are host to several world-class racing events including The King’s Plate, three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races, and the Pepsi North America Cup. Run without share capital, Woodbine Entertainment has a mandate to financially invest all profit back into the horse racing industry and the 25,000 jobs it supports across Ontario.   

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555 Rexdale Blvd. Toronto, Ontario.