Two Ghosts scary good in G3 Grey / Witwatersrand pours it on late in G3 Mazarine

Two Ghosts scary good in G3 Grey / Witwatersrand pours it on late in G3 Mazarine

TORONTO, November 4, 2023— Two Ghosts, under Justin Stein, rallied with authority to take Saturday’s $150,000 Grey Stakes (G3) at Woodbine.  

Piper’s Factor, 5-2 on the tote board in the 1 1/16-mile test for 2-year-olds, emerged on top after an early scramble for the lead, as Midnight Mascot settled into second and was followed by 2-1 choice Pipit and Jayhawk through an opening panel in :24.72. 

It was status quo for the top four through a half in :49.41 with Piper’s Factor still a half-length clear, while Two Ghosts sat last of eight. As the field navigated the turn for home, Piper’s Factor was under pressure from Midnight Mascot, as Two Ghosts’ stablemate, Tunechi, arrived on the scene to their outside. 

Two Ghosts, trained by Barb Minshall, began to make inroads as the field straightened for the stretch drive and then started to methodically pick off his rivals before striking front late. At the wire, the daughter of Ghostzapper conjured up a one-length win. Piper’s Factor nosed out Jayhawk for second. Tunechi was fourth. Sherif Ali and Simply in Front were both scratched.  

The final time was 1:44.56.  

“He just waited for the cue to run, and he was carrying me along nicely until we hit the quarter-pole, and we worked out a trip through the field,” said Stein. “When I asked him to run, he really accelerated and showed an extremely impressive turn of foot. The rest is history.”  

“He’s always been a little quirky of a horse in general and sometimes can be a little stubborn, but he went in and had to wait a while,” added Minshall. “But he was good in there [the starting gate] and obviously broke well enough. I just told him [Justin], ‘Let the horse get comfortable and just let him run. He’s got a huge stride for his size, and he’ll kick on when you find a path down the lane and just ride with confidence.’”  

Bred by Ghostzapper Syndicate and owned by Hoolie Racing Stable, LLC, Two Ghosts came into the Grey off a solid second in the seven-furlong Display Stakes on October 15. It was the second straight runner-up result for the dark bay, who broke his maiden in his third start on August 27 at Woodbine.  

An $85,000 (U.S.) purchase at the 2022 Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale, Two Ghosts is now 2-2-0 from six starts.  

He paid $14.90 for the win.  

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms 

Witwatersrand pours it on late in G3 Mazarine

TORONTO, November 4, 2023 – Witwatersrand, under an enterprising ride from Patrick Husbands, took top prize in the $150,000 Mazarine Stakes (G3), Saturday at Woodbine. 

The 1 1/16-mile main track event attracted a field of six 2-year-old fillies, including Gary Barber’s Witwatersrand, a daughter of Connect, bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. and trained by dual hall of fame conditioner Mark Casse. 

Mystic Lake broke sharply and was guided to the lead by Tyler Conner as Uphill Dance grabbed a seat in second and was followed by Witwatersrand, 3-5 choice Tripolina, Simply in Front and That Girl Artemus through an opening quarter reached in :24.31. 

It was status quo through a half in :48.91 with Mystic Lake holding a half-length advantage over Uphill Dance, while Husbands kept a patient hand aboard Witwatersrand, who continued to track from along the rail in third. 

Mystic Lake was still on top heading into the final turn, but Uphill Dance, Witwatersrand and a circling Tripolina loomed as major threats to the frontrunner. In mid-stretch, Husbands roused his charge off the rail and the pair seized control quickly as Tripolina came calling. 

Witwatersrand had plenty in reserve and drew away in the final yards for a confident 2 ¾-length triumph in a time of 1:43.72. 

“No matter who she works with in the morning, she’ll play with them,” said Husbands. “She is a nice filly, and Mark knows, everybody knows, she’s a nice filly.”

It was the second straight stakes engagement for Witwatersrand (a 56-kilometre-long, north-facing scarp found in South Africa), who was third in the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes on October 15. She broke her maiden in her debut, a three-quarter length score at 6 ½ furlongs over the Woodbine Tapeta on September 1.

Witwatersrand (Hip 8) topped the Fasig-Tipton October Digital Sale when sold for $230,000 (U.S.).

She paid $10.30 for the Mazarine win. 

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms 

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

Woodbine Racetrack is Canada’s home the biggest and most exciting thoroughbred races. Located in Toronto, Woodbine Racetrack typically operates thoroughbred racing from April through December. Premier races include the longest continuously ran horse race in North America, The Queen’s Plate, Breeders Cup win and you’re in races the Woodbine Mile, Summer and Natalma Stakes, along with the fan-favourite Canadian International Stakes. 

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