Patches O’Houlihan rides the wave to an easy Lake Superior score / Foolish Games all business in Thunder Bay   

Patches O’Houlihan rides the wave to an easy Lake Superior score / Foolish Games all business in Thunder Bay   

TORONTO, July 30, 2023 – The $100,000 Lake Superior Stakes saw Patches O’Houlihan romp to the easiest of wins, Sunday at Woodbine. 

The six-furlong race for 3-year-old colts and geldings is part of the Ontario Sired Heritage Series (see Thunder Bay recap for more info). 

Originally slated for six furlongs on the E.P. Taylor turf, the race was switched to the Tapeta due to heavy rains the day before.  

Breaking sharply from the outside post five, Patches O’Houlihan, with Daisuke Fukumoto in the irons, recovered quickly from an awkward beginning to strike front, as 74-1 Absolute Chairman settled into second spot. Second choice on the tote board Poulin in O T sat third through an opening quarter reached in :22.64. 

Patches O’Houlihan was comfortably on top by four lengths through a half in :45.16 and began to draw away effortlessly from his quartet of rivals around the turn for home. Ahead by five lengths at Robert Geller’s stretch call, the son of Reload-Maythefourthbwithu cruised under the wire an 8 ½-length victor. One Bay Hemingway was second, followed by Sooner Lunar, Poulin in O T, and Absolute Chairman. 

The final time for six furlongs was 1:09.96

“He broke okay, but he saw the inside horse (Absolute Chairman) and for a couple of steps, he got out for a little bit,” said Fukumoto. “After, he went straight. I just let him run comfortably on the front and it was an easy game for him today.” 

Bred and owned by Frank Di Giulio, Jr., it was the fourth consecutive score for Patches O’Houlihan, who arrived at the Lake Superior off a 1 ¼-length win in the five-furlong inner turf Lake Huron, also an Ontario Sire Heritage Series race, on July 8.   

Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller, who campaigned fellow hall of fame champion Pink Lloyd to numerous successes on and off the track, had plenty of praise for his latest sprint sensation. 

“He’s a good-feeling horse,” said Tiller. “He’s not a hard horse to handle, but he’s a happy horse. He’s one of those horses that does everything right. He’s just a real racehorse and he wants to win. He’s got that desire to win.” 

Patches O’Houlihan, now 5-0-0 from six starts, paid $2.90 for the win.   

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

Foolish Games all business in Thunder Bay   

TORONTO, July 30, 2023 – The Ontario Sire Heritage Series continued Sunday afternoon at Woodbine with Foolish Games winning the $100,000 Thunder Bay Stakes.  

Originally a six-furlong E.P. Taylor turf sprint, the race, which was moved to the Tapeta and contested at the same distance due to heavy rains in the area on Saturday, is part of an eight-leg stakes series open to Ontario Sired 3-year-olds, held at Woodbine and Fort Erie racetracks.   

Ontario Racing’s Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP) Committee unveiled the series in 2021. With a total purse structure of $800,000 this year, the Heritage Series features four races – three opening legs and one final – for both 3-year-old colts and 3-year-old fillies who are by a sire registered with the TIP. In addition to the $800,000 in purses, there is also $70,000 in bonus money available to the top finishers in the series. 

Sent off at 7-2 in the Thunder Bay, Foolish Games, with Omar Moreno in the irons, was roused to the lead at the outset of the 3-year-old filly race, crossing over from the outside post six to take command. Ahead by a length after an opening panel timed in :23.52, Foolish Games maintained that one-length advantage through a half in :46.62. 

Coming off the turn for home, Moreno called upon Foolish Games for her best run and the daughter of Reload-Jungle Jewel dug in as Anam Cara and Hot Cargo turned up the pressure and took aim at the frontrunner. 

On top by a length at the stretch call, Foolish Games went on to post a 1 ¼-length score in a time of 1:11.06. Hot Cargo headed Anam Cara for second. Souper Sinclair was fourth, followed by Flowers ‘n Berries and 8-5 choice Souper Sunday. Tamana was scratched. 

“I wasn’t surprised at all,” said Moreno, of finding himself unchallenged on the front end. “The game plan was to put her in the race and let her be comfortable. She always runs good like that, and she loves when horses come running behind her.”  

It was the first stakes crown for trainer Michelle Love, who co-owns the chestnut filly with Mentec Mississauga Industrial Equipment Ltd. and Big Willow Stables.  

“These are the best owners I’ve ever had,” said Love. “These guys are amazing, they just let me do my job. They let me train the horses. They are such good people. Just happy, happy people. This is a dream come true for us. It’s the first stakes win for all these guys, so this is really amazing.”  

Love felt confident in the outcome after the time went up for the opening quarter.  

“I told him [Moreno] not to let [trainer] Steve Owens’ horse [Souper Sunday] go because he was going to get an easy lead and probably would have galloped again. As soon as she got that :23 opening quarter, we were already heading here [winner’s circle].” 

Bred by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, Foolish Games is now 3-0-1 from four starts.    

She paid $9 for the win.  

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

Grace Martin
Grace Martin Communications Specialist, Woodbine Entertainment

 

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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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