TORONTO, July 5, 2023 – A pair of stakes, the $100,000 Georgian Bay and $100,000 Lake Huron, mark the start of this year’s Ontario Sire Heritage Series, Saturday at Woodbine.
Established in 2021, the Ontario Sire Heritage Series is comprised of three $100,000 legs and a $100,000 final for two divisions: 3-year-old colts/geldings, and 3-year-old fillies. The total purse structure for the series is $800,000.
All three legs and the final are contested over different distances and surfaces: the Woodbine Inner Turf Course, the Woodbine E.P. Taylor Turf Course, the Woodbine Tapeta, and Fort Erie Dirt Track.
In addition to the $400,000 in purses for each division, there is $70,000 in bonus money that is allocated to the top-three finishers in each division at the end of the series.
The Georgian Bay, a five-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies over the Inner Turf, has attracted 11 sophomores, including Foolish Games.
A daughter of Reload-Jungle Jewel, Foolish Games is undefeated in two starts for trainer Michelle Love, who co-owns the filly with Mentec Mississauga Industrial Equipment LLC, and Big Willow Stables.
In her most recent effort, the chestnut, sent off as the 7-5 choice, bested five rivals in a 5 ½-furlong Tapeta race on May 21.
“I told Omar [jockey, Moreno] to put her on the lead. She’s quick. I actually wasn’t going in that race. It was a carryover. We were a week short, so we weren’t going in there, but the race carried over to the next weekend, when we were racing just Saturdays and Sundays, so we worked out of the gate and got her ready. She actually took a lot of pressure throughout the race and kept on going. She had another horse on her the whole race, and she could have stopped anytime, but she didn’t. She just kept on going.”
In her career bow, on April 29, Foolish Games drew away down the lane en route to a 4 ½-length score at five panels over the Tapeta.
Love, off to a strong start at the 2023 Woodbine meet, expects her filly, unraced at two, to take to the Toronto oval’s Inner Turf course without any issues.
“We knew she was the real deal early. She worked with Reload’s Rascal (another Love trainee) as a 2-year-old and was staying with him. I had a few little baby issues and put her away for a bit. I knew she was going to be a good one. She’s a big, tall filly, and I wanted to give her time. I’m not big on pushing my 2-year-olds. We had a long gap between her last race to this one, but this race was the plan all along. She’s ready to roll. I gallop her every day. She’s big, she’s classy and she’s just wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about her. I love her.
“When we bought her, it was late in the sale,” Love continued, of the $17,000 (CDN) purchase at the 2021 CTHS (Ontario Division) Canadian Premier Yearling Sale. “I loved her. We looked at all the Reload horses in the sale – I really like them – and she was my pick of all of them. We sat there for over 200 horses before they got to her. I was determined to get her and I’m glad I did. I was taken by her from day one.”
Five 3-year-olds will test the Lake Huron waters, also run at 5 furlongs on the Inner Turf.
Silent Reserve, a son of Silent Name (JPN)-Siddona, heads into his first stakes appearance off a strong maiden-breaking effort on June 2.
Owned by Carlo D’Amato and Stacey Van Camp, the dark bay romped to a six-length score at five panels on the Inner Turf, an effort that caught trainer Mike Mattine somewhat off-guard.
“It’s a step up, but we’ll give it a shot,” said Mattine. “The way he did it, I wasn’t expecting that race out of him, but I’m certainly not going to complain.”
Silent Reserve debuted last July, going 5 ½ furlongs on the Woodbine Tapeta.
“All along, the horse always trained well. Last year, he had an issue, so we ended up giving him the year off after he finished fifth in his debut. At the beginning of the year, he was working lights out, and we were high on him. He was a work short, but he had worked so well. He was going along and looked like he was going to be right there, but then he just stopped.”
It was déjà vu in his second career start and first race of 2023.
Sent off as the 3-1 choice at the same distance and over the same surface as his career bow, Silent Reserve finished fifth, just over four lengths behind the winner.
“That was disappointing too, but he came out of it well and then the race on the Inner Turf came up. So, the only reason we went in there was because it was five-eighths and on the grass. His half-brother, Graced Lightning, was really good on the turf, so that was one more reason to give it a shot. We decided, ‘Why not?’ We were going to see how he fared, but he ended up shocking me. He won like a good horse and if he can repeat that, he can be competitive.”
Other starters include multiple stakes winner Poulin in O T, multiple stakes-placed Paramount Prince, and Patches O’Houlihan, a three-time winner from four starts, trained by Robert Tiller for breeder/owner Frank Di Giulio, Jr.
The Georgian Bay is scheduled as the sixth race on Saturday’s 11-race card. The Lake Huron is race three. First post is 1:10 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the races through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
$100,000 GEORGIAN BAY STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Souper Sinclair – Skye Chernetz – Philip Hall
2 – Cara Cara – Kazushi Kimura – John Mattine
3 – Rifling – Sahin Civaci – Stuart Simon
4 – Anam Cara – Amanda Vandermeersch – Sarah Ritchie
5 – Strike the Pose – Ryan Munger – Ravendra Raghunath
6 – Souper Sunday – Eswan Flores – Steve Owens
7 – Flowers ‘n Berries – Keveh Nicholls – Michael McDonald
8 – Taylormoon – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Renee Kierans
9 – Foolish Games – Omar Moreno – Michelle Love
10 – Domer Allure – Sofia Vives – Mark Casse
11 – Give Me the Boots – Rafael Hernandez – Norm McKnight
$100,000 LAKE HURON STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Awesome Bourbon – Patrick Husbands – Saffie Joseph, Jr.
2 – Poulin in O T – Eswan Flores – Steve Owens
3 – Silent Reserve – Kazushi Kimura – Mike Mattine
4 – Kinetic Stone – Declan Carroll - Ravendra Raghunath
5 – Patches O’Houlihan – Daisuke Fukumoto – Robert Tiller
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms