TORONTO, July 1 – Turf King (IRE), backed down to even-money favouritism for the formidable combo of trainer Chad Brown and jockey Kazushi Kimura, parlayed a ground-saving trip into a half-length win over a game Kaukokaipuu in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Marine Stakes at Woodbine.
The Grade 3, $150,000 Marine, an open race for 3-year-olds, attracted a field of eight and is situated as a prep for the $1 million King’s Plate, the 1 ¼-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.
“When we’re battling each other, that horse (Kaikokapuuu), bumped into my horse, but my horse just hung in,” said Kimura, who also expressed the hope that Turf King (IRE) could signal the start of a productive relationship with Brown.
“I would say that this is just the beginning, and I am very appreciative of Mr. Brown for giving me this opportunity,” said Woodbine’s leading rider.
Velocitor was the first to show in the Marine but was quickly joined by One Bay Hemingway, who took charge heading into the clubhouse turn and held the lead through an opening quarter in :24.11, a half in :48.22, and six furlongs in 1:12.47.
Turf King (IRE) was back in fifth, racing along the rail heading into the far turn as Kaikokaipuu launched an outside rally which carried him to the front turning for home.
Stretching out for the first time after recording his first stakes score – and the first for his trainer Ted Holder here in the seven-furlong King Corrie – Kaikokapuuu briefly looked like a winner but could not quite contain Turf King (IRE) through the final furlong after leading by a head at the stretch call.
Midnight Rising, shipping in from Kentucky and joining Turf King (IRE) as the only other non-King’s Plate eligible in the Marine, showed some late interest in closing for third as the first Canadian starter for trainer Jordan Blair.
Turf King (IRE), owned by Wise Racing LLC, was making his second start on a synthetic surface after winning his opener around two turns at Gulfstream on February 16.
His two subsequent outings produced a first-level allowance score over one mile of grass at Keeneland and a third-place finish in Monmouth Park’s Jersey Derby over the same surface and footing.
The colt by Kingman (GB) out of the Sweet Acclaim (IRE) mare, Acclimation (GB), returned $4.10. The final time was 1:43.41.
Stayhonor Goodside, in contention throughout, evened out in the stretch to finish fourth with Simcoe, One Bay Hemingway, Twin City and Velocitor completing the order of finish.
Bill Tallon, for Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms
Casse captures sixth straight Selene in unexpected fashion as 9-1 Solo Album romps
TORONTO, July 1 – Dual hall of fame trainer Mark Casse has owned the Selene in recent years, with victories in the last five runnings among his total of nine scores of the open 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.
That streak was expected to continue in Saturday’s renewal of Woodbine’s Grade 3 test but Wonder Wheel, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies en route to divisional Eclipse Award honours and the 3-5 choice in the field of nine, spun her tires while her unheralded stablemate Solo Album romped to a 6 ¼-length score.
Solo Album had led throughout when winning her maiden in her sixth career start and local 2023 debut over 1 1/16 miles here May 12.
Those tactics were changed in the Selene as Sahin Civaci, riding Solo Album for the first time, took the Kentucky-bred filly off the pace after she broke from the outside in the field of nine.
“Before, in the paddock, Mr. Casse called and told me not to go to the front, there’s going to be some speed up there, lay up close though, so that’s what we did.
“I saw Wonder Wheel getting boxed in a bit, but he (jockey, Patrick Husbands) managed to get out and I was sitting there outside of him, I was waiting for him to move. When I saw he wasn’t having much horse, I did make that move just to save up ground and not get caught out wide. While she was in the momentum, I just kept her with her momentum and she finished up really strong.”
Honor D Lady, one of three invaders trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., along with Be My Sunshine and Blind Spot, rallied from last and could not seriously threaten the winner but outfinished Tito’s Calling for second money.
Tito’s Calling, sent off at 45-1, was a half-length back in third as one of four Woodbine Oaks nominees in the field along with Fortyfiveseventy (fourth), Dolce Sopresa (fifth) and Speed Trap (ninth).
Be My Sunshine had led through fractions of :23.72, :47.14, and 1:11.20 pressed by Dolce Sopresa and Speed Trap, before weakening to finish sixth. Blind Spot also tired to finish seventh with Wonder Wheel ending next to last. Friends for Life was scratched.
The final time was 1:42.65.
The Selene is the final local stepping-stone for the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, a $500,000 race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, which will be run on July 23.
A $535,000 (U.S.) Keeneland yearling, Solo Album races for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Gary Barber and Steven Rocco. The win in the Selene seriously enhances the value of the daughter of Curlin and the Arch mare, Summer Solo.
She paid $21.10 for the win.
Bill Tallon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms