Poulin in O T comes up gold in Bull Page
TORONTO, September 24, 2022 – Poulin in O T stickhandled his way to a gritty win in the $100,000 Bull Page Stakes, an ‘about’ 7-furlong grass event for Ontario-sired 2-year-old colts and geldings, Saturday at Woodbine.
A son of Reload-Town Dance, Poulin in O T, with Patrick Husbands in the irons, broke sharply from the gate and assumed command immediately, taking his five rivals through an opening split in :22.67, as Half to Reload and Awesome Bourbon sat second, and third, respectively.
Poulin in O T, in his fourth start, was still running comfortably on top through a half reached in :45.55, holding a two-length advantage over Awesome Bourbon.
Still calling the shots as the field straightened for the stretch drive, Poulin in O T was confronted by Awesome Bourbon who loomed a major threat to the outside.
After the pair slugged it out for several strides, Poulin in O T turned back the challenge of Awesome Bourbon and easily fended off a late charging One Bay Hemingway, to best that rival by 2 ½ lengths in a time of 1:22.02 over a firm E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
“Looking at the race and getting on him, he looked like a legit horse,” said Husbands. “I just let him do what he wanted to do. He was doing it pretty easy and when [jockey, Juan] Crawford came to me, I gave him a tap and he just took off.”
It was the third win from four starts for the chestnut gelding trained by Steve Owens, who also co-owns (Empress Stable) and co-bred (Beverly Lewis-Owens).
Named after Canadian hockey great Marie-Philip Poulin, the rookie, who arrived at the Bull Page off a troubled seventh in the Soaring Free Stakes on August 20, continues to impress his conditioner.
“It’s a very fitting name,” said Owens. “He’s a wonderful little horse. The Ontario sired program is right up his alley. A lot of things went wrong the last time, but five weeks later, a different horse showed up today.”
Poulin O T delivered a pair of top-shelf performances in his opening two races, a first-time out triumph on June 24, followed by a win in the Victoria Stakes on July 17.
He paid $5.30, $3.30 and $2.60, combined with One Bay Hemingway ($9.10, $5.30) for a $51.30 exactor. Awesome Bourbon ($3) completed a $225.70 triactor. A $1 superfecta (Silent Fortune) came back $389.15.
Ancient Spirit enjoys Victorian Queen green scene
TORONTO, September 24, 2022 – Ancient Spirit, under Rafael Hernandez, seized control at the top of the lane en route to victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Victorian Queen Stakes, for 2-year-old Ontario-sired fillies, at Woodbine.
Trained by Sid Attard for owner-breeder Howie Walton (Norseman Racing Stable), the daughter of Signature Red-Gemini arrived at the ‘about’ 7-furlong turf race off an impressive debut score on August 20.
And although she unseated her rider at the gate, it would be a smooth-sailing journey the rest of the way.
It was 15-1 Cara Cara who roared to the front, as Hernandez settled Ancient Spirit into second position, three lengths back, through an opening quarter in :22.95.
Cara Cara was 3 ½ lengths on top after a half reached in :45.96, but Ancient Spirit looked ready to pounce as the field headed into the turn for home.
Straightening for the long drive to the wire, Hernandez gave the dark bay filly her cue and she responded with an outside burst to take the lead, going on to post an easy 2 ½-length triumph in a time of 1:21.80 over firm going.
“The second start, they know what they’re going to do now,” said Hernandez. “It was an unbelievable kick. She did it very, very nice and she’s just going to get better and better.”
Attard, who had 2,120 career wins coming into the day, thought highly of the filly from the outset.
“We liked this filly since day one that we saw her,” said the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee, who trained both Ancient Spirit’s sire and dam. “Her mother, she was very big. She broke her maiden (July 29, 2018), and the owner didn’t want her. I said, Howie, ‘Get this mare.’ This one, she’s like a bull. She’s so strong.”
Signature Red, a multiple graded stakes winner, also owned by Walton, went 6-6-7 from 27 career starts, along with $630,232 (U.S.) in lifetime earnings.
Ancient Spirit paid $8.20, $4.50 and $3.10, combined with Tito’s Calling ($5.10, $3.30) for a $45.20 exactor. Friends for Life ($3.30) completed a $175 triactor. A $1 superfecta (Cara Cara) came back $494.10.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms