Rondure races into Grade 2 Eclipse in winning form / Baby No Worries takes to the turf in Grade 3 Royal North

Rondure races into Grade 2 Eclipse in winning form / Baby No Worries takes to the turf in Grade 3 Royal North

TORONTO, May 29, 2024 – Rondure, fresh off a gutsy score at seven furlongs, tackles two turns and top talents in the $175,000 bet365 Eclipse Stakes (G2), Saturday at Woodbine. 

A 1 1/16-mile main track event for 4-year-olds and upwards, the Eclipse has attracted a field of eight that includes 2023 King’s Plate winner Paramount Prince, along with multiple graded stakes winners War Bomber (IRE), who is cross-entered in Saturday’s $135,000 Jacques Cartier (G3), Get Smokin, and Tyson.

Bred and owned by Borders Racing Stable Ltd., nom du course of Hazel Bennett and Harry Dobson, the resilient Rondure heads into his latest test off a sterling performance on May 11 at Woodbine.

Under regular rider Rafael Hernandez, the son of Oxbow-Carat Weight eked out a head score in his 5-year-old debut.

Sent off as the 5-2 second choice, Rondure patiently tracked the pacesetter along the backstretch before taking command at the sixteenth pole and then tenaciously repelled the favourite for the hard-fought victory.

“Rondure is doing very well,” said trainer Katerina Vassilieva. “I’m happy with how he is coming into the Eclipse. He’s kept his fitness from the last race and from the winter. He had a very good winter.”

After two troubled journeys to begin his career, Rondure turned heads in his 3-year-old debut on May 14, 2022, at Woodbine.

Sent off at 10-1, he romped to a 10 ¾-length score, a performance that elevated his King’s Plate profile.

In his next start, the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes that June, Rondure crossed the wire a head behind fellow Plate contender The Minkster.

After an impressive triumph in the Marine Stakes, Rondure was sixth in the Plate and then seventh in a 1 1/16-mile main track race in December to close out his 2022 campaign.

Rondure returned the following March and was runner-up in a 1 1/16-mile race at Turfway Park before his return to Woodbine.

He was in the winner’s circle in his following start at seven panels in May before an eighth in last year’s Eclipse in June.

“It was a disappointing result” said Vassilieva. “I’m still scratching my head as to what happened that day. I’m just going to put a line through that race.”

“He had to deal with an issue after the Eclipse that kept him out of action for almost a year. But he came back with that nice win this May. He always runs well fresh, and he still is after that last effort.”

The bay heads into Saturday’s affair with a 4-2-0 record from 11 starts, along with $251,954 in career purse earnings.

“At 3, he won the Marine, which is the same distance as the Eclipse,” noted Vassilieva. “Since he’s won at seven furlongs several times, I considered entering the Jacques Cartier (also on Saturday), but I don’t think he’s a stone-cold, six-furlong type of sprinter.”

“We opted to try a mile and a sixteenth again, so hopefully, he can come up with another big performance at that distance.”

Vassilieva, who had a career-best 2023 campaign and is off to a strong start in 2024, has always been a believer in Rondure’s abilities.

“He’s had to contend with some physical issues over his career, but we work with him to get him back on track and he always runs his heart out.”

One constant for Rondure, throughout the ups and downs, is his affinity for rest.

“He’s a master napper,” said Vassilieva. “He takes good care of himself, and knows how to conserve his energy, which is a good thing.

“When he’s on the racetrack, his grit and tenacity shines through. He has a warrior attitude. He loves to train and always wants to be a competitor. He is a true athlete.”

Bennett, based in Calgary, shared the story of how she named her horse.

“I looked at Oxbow (Rondure’s sire and winner of the 2013 Preakness Stakes), and thought, ‘How am I going to name this guy?’. I got out the dictionary and started looking at names and came across Rondure. It means, ‘gracefully rounded curve.’ And that’s what we went with.”

bet365 Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes (Race 9)

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer 

1 – Tyson – Kazushi Kimura – Josie Carroll

2 – Skyro – Justin Stein – Kevin Attard

3 – Palazzi – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

4 – War Bomber (IRE) – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Norm McKnight

5 – J P Hellish – Eswan Flores – Martin Drexler

6 – Paramount Prince – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

7 – Get Smokin (S) – Fernando De La Cruz – Mark Casse

8 – Rondure – Rafael Hernandez – Katerina Vassilieva


Baby No Worries takes to the turf in Grade 3 Royal North

TORONTO, May 29, 2024 – Baby No Worries will make her second straight appearance at Woodbine when the 5-year-old takes on nine rivals in Saturday’s $135,000 HPIbet Royal North (G3T).

A daughter of Mr Speaker-Pajama Bottom, Baby No Worries finished third in the Whimsical Stakes (G3) last time out, rallying to dead-heat with Dolce Sopresa for the show award in the six-furlong main track race for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, on May 4.

“I was very happy with that effort,” said trainer Tim Girten. “I thought we had a good trip, and she came running hard. The winner (Mark Casse trainee Play the Music) is a nice horse.

Play the Music and Dolce Sopresa will both contest the Royal North.

“She [Baby No Worries] was sixth, only 3 ½ lengths back of the winner (Our Flash Drive, also a Casse trainee) in this race last year. That was only her second time on the turf – she is no route horse – and once she got her legs under her, she kicked in and had a nice run down the lane. She tried.”

It’s something Girten has seen throughout Baby No Worries’ career.

Purchased for $20,000 (U.S.) at the 2019 Keeneland Association November Breeding Stock Sale, she debuted with a pair of thirds at Presque Isle in the fall of 2019.

She broke her maiden the following June, in her fifth start, also at Presque Isle, and made it two straight one month later at the Pennsylvania oval.

Bred in Kentucky by Cave Brook Farm, Baby No Worries is 4-4-5 and has $219,251 in purse earnings from 24 starts.

Her most recent victory was last October at Presque Isle in a six-furlong race over the synthetic as the 6-5 choice.

“Last summer, we hit a bad spell with some issues,” noted Girten. “We missed two local stakes at Presque Isle. We got her right. She didn’t have a win at Turfway this winter, but she was second in a stakes race [Wishing Well] and had a huge effort in another [Queen Stakes], where she was only beaten three lengths.”

Owned by Chan E. Brook Stables, the bay is typically bereft of early speed, but harnesses a powerful late kick down the lane.

“Unfortunately, with her running style, she doesn’t have that early lick to stay close enough, so we find ourselves circling the field, but giving up ground. But she gives you 110 per cent every time she goes over there.”

Girten, who has over 660 career wins, believes Baby No Worries, set to make her fifth start at Woodbine, will appreciate the long stretch of the E.P. Taylor turf.

“That’s exactly what she likes, a lot of distance to come running once you straighten for home. She appreciates that, for sure.”

As does Girten.

“I fell in love with the E.P. Taylor last year when she finished third in the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes. I remember I walked across the boards that were put down on the turf course to get out to the track and it was beautiful.

“It is the nicest turf course I have ever walked across.”

Baby No Worries will have the services of Antonio Gallardo, who rode at Woodbine in 2021 and 2022 before returning to the U.S.

“She is such a nice horse, great to be around and is classy about everything,” praised Girten. “She trains very forwardly. When she is in her stall, she wants you to pet her and love on her, but when she’s tired of you, she lets you know.”

As for how she got her name, owner Ron Brown was inspired by another purchase.

“Ron has a houseboat on a lake in Kentucky,” said Girten. “The name of the boat is No Worries. So, he named the first horse he ever bought out of a sale, Baby No Worries.”

The Royal North is scheduled as the eighth race on Saturday’s card. Fans can wager on all the action through and

Grade 3 Royal North Stakes (Race 8)

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Peacock Lass – Alex Achard – Rodolphe Brisset

2 – Baby No Worries – Antonio Gallardo – Tim Girten

3 – Dolce Sopresa – Rafael Hernandez – Josie Carroll

4 – Blind Spot – Juan Crawford – Saffie Joseph, Jr.

5 – Play the Music – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

6 – Awesome Treat – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Steve Attard

7 – Secret Money – Kazushi Kimura – Brendan Walsh

8 – Star Candy (S) – Sofia Vives – Mark Casse

9 – Miss Speedy – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

10 – Howboutdemapples – Ryan Munger – Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications

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Grace Martin
Grace Martin Communications Specialist, Woodbine Entertainment
Horse Racing - TB
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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