Yearling Sales Stakes at Woodbine

If you’ve seen any of the posters around Woodbine or picked up a sales catalogue at the backstretch sales pavilion, you’ll notice that the cover model for Tuesday’s Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s Canadian- bred Yearling Sale is none other than Queen’s Plate winner Inglorious.
It’s not surprising. She was purchased by the Donver Stable at the 2009 edition of the sale for $90,000 and has gone on to collect $1,274,943 in earnings.  That’s certainly a healthy return on investment.
But wouldn’t the daughter of Hennessy be at least triple the poster girl if she hadn’t been taken off the path for which she was destined after she won the Queen’s Plate?  Assuming her owners had allowed her to stay the course and manhandle the colts and geldings in the Prince of Wales Stakes and Breeders’ Stakes, as she did in the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, we would be talking about her today as a legendary example of dollars well spent at the Canadian auction.
Regrettably, two past performance lines denoting the second ever Canadian Triple Crown sweep by a filly were replaced by one single listing – a failed attempt at adding a Grade 1 to her resume in Saratoga’s Alabama Stakes.
While she’s a prime example of the potential that exists from buying a Canadian-bred yearling, it’s too bad she isn’t part of the supporting cast lining up for action during Monday afternoon’s cavalcade of stakes content – namely the six $125,000 Yearling Sales Stakes, the Kenora, Elgin, Halton, Algoma, Simcoe and Muskoka.
A race like the 1 1/16-mile Algoma (on Polytrack) would certainly seem like a suitable confidence builder to make her forget the 35-length shellacking she took on the dirt at Saratoga. Even though older fillies and mares are eligible for the Algoma, it’s still a very restricted spot – open only to Canadian-breds that had been through the Yearling Sales.
If her connections are indeed considering the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster on October 9 at Keeneland, as has been suggested, the timing is right and at least, if she wins, she goes in with a bit of a form boost. And if she loses, well then it saves the embarrassment of shipping all the way to Lexington for the Spinster.
It certainly would have been nice for her fans to get a last glimpse at her  before she tries to take on bigger fish in the weeks leading up to the Breeders’ Cup.  Even though it’s a bit of a booby prize compared to what should have been, Labour Day fans would have been pleased to close out the Summer watching her extend her record to 6-for-6 over her home track.
On the other hand, all may not be lost. On September 25, the Selene Stakes is slated for three-year-old fillies and it’s a grade three.  Perhaps, another Woodbine run will take place then.  The only problem with the Selene is that it only leaves about two weeks to the Spinster.  Considering the well-documented reluctance to race Inglorious back on short rest – the whole point of skipping the conclusion of the Triple Crown in the first place – it wouldn’t be surprising if they just trained her up to the Spinster.
In any event, in the absence of Inglorious, the show still goes on. Best of luck to the Woodbine racing fans that will feast their handicapping eyes on the afternoon’s six stakes puzzles. Too bad the mutuels department abandoned the Pick 6 – this would have been quite the sequence. Here’s a brief look at the first four stakes, smartly carded as legs one to four of the first Pick 4.
Race 4 – the Kenora
Don’s Folly won this race last year, but only by a neck. He’s been made 8-5 in the morning line, but that’s far too low for this contentious group.  Considering this tilt is comprised of very little early speed, Arepeatee looks in position to take advantage. He’s 4-1 in the early line. If he’s near that price, sprint to the windows. A lightly-raced horse worth a quick look is Quick Code, who closed from fifth to first despite very soft fractions.
1 – Arepeatee 2 – Quick Code 3 – Race For Gold
Race 5 – the Simcoe
The fact that this race features two-year-olds going 6 1/2 furlongs usually elevates a longshot into the mix.  Trainer Ralph Biamonte has a pair of quick geldings entered, but they both own the same front-running style. The horse to key on looks like Orbit Express who broke his maiden at first asking in a professional manner – from just off the pace, from a one-hole draw. He’s by Bold Executive, who is usually well-represented on Sales Stakes day. Palmetto Moon has trained well since a disappointing showing in the Vandal, while Rainbow’s Best has been freshened, apparently with this race in mind.  
1 – Orbit Express 2 – Palmetto Moon 3 – Rainbow’s Best
Race 6 – the Halton
Most won’t look too far past Society’s Chairman in the Halton. He won this event in 2009 and he was second to Guipago in 2010. He’s graded stakes class and is competing in his ninth straight one-mile affair – which makes one wonder why run for $125,000 today when you can run for $1 million in two weeks. Assuming the speed in the field remains signed on, there appears to be a lively pace in store which suits his late rally. But handing out 4-5 shots isn’t what blogging is all about. Take a shot at a potential rising star Most Unusual, under Luis Contreras, to convert a patient trip into an upset.  Guipago will plod along late for a piece.
1 – Most Unusual 2 – Society’s Chairman 3 – Guipago
Race 7 – the Muskoka
Notacloudinthesky may be the most logical favorite on the program. The speed filly exits a smart Nandi Stakes victory, but draws directly inside another quick filly. The most interesting horse in the field is Dixie Strike, a half-sister to Inglorious. Trained by Mark Casse, she’ll be looking to do what her sister did last year – break her maiden at first asking in a stakes race. Rose and Shine looks like one of the few closers in the field, which automatically rates her a contender.
1 – Notacloudinthesky 2 – Dixie Strike 3 – Rose and Shine
Meet Adam Hickman
I join the Horse Racing Nation team as a longtime fan and enthusiastic student of Canadian thoroughbred racing. With 22 years of race-watching and form-studying under my belt, I’m a graduate of an era that brought stars like With Approval, Izvestia, Dance Smartly and Peteski. I spent the better part of the 1990s as a casual fan, attending races on weekends. I had the privilege of being in the grandstand on one of the premiere days in Woodbine lore – the 1996 Breeders’ Cup, the one and only time the Stanley Cup of thoroughbred racing was held outside of the United States.
In 2000, about two years after graduating from Carleton University with a Journalism degree, I crossed the apron and joined the employee ranks at the Woodbine Entertainment Group, taking a position as a field camera operator that eventually led to an Associate Producer’s role in the Woodbine Broadcast Department. I developed and produced several regular segments that have aired over Woodbine’s simulcast network as well as on the national network broadcasts.  In 2005, I moved to the Woodbine Publicity Office to perform various media relations duties and write for
If there’s a thread that defined my 11-year tenure during all three WEG positions, it’s that I engineered my contribution around bridging the information gap between fan and horse.  One such initiative came in 2010, when I endeavored to bring fans regular morning Woodbine workout coverage, shooting and uploading close to 500 videos over the season. While I have moved on from my communications coordinator position to pursue different freelance opportunities, my dedication to providing fans with relevant insight and unique information won’t ever cease to be a part of my ongoing adventures in horse racing.

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