06/27/2017 12:29PM

Ontario's freshman stallions start to show their stuff

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Pool Play, winning the 2012 Hawthorne Gold Cup, has 18 foals in his first crop.

As the calendar moves into the summer months, juvenile races will become more plentiful at Ontario’s racetracks, and the province’s freshman stallions will begin to sort out who will be the stars of the class.

At least eight Ontario stallions are represented by their first crop of 2-year-olds in 2017.

Among that group is Grade 1 winner Pool Play, who stands at T. C. Westmeath Stud Farm in Mulmur for an advertised fee of $2,500 Canadian. The 12-year-old son of Silver Deputy was best known for his wins at a distance, taking the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap and Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup.

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John Carey of T. C. Westmeath Stud Farm said he initially had concern that Pool Play’s two-turn credentials might be a turn-off for Canadian breeders who favor sprinters, but his pedigree and output suggest his foals can shorten up if needed.

“I was chatting with Mark Casse about him one day about what he can do, and he gave me the impression this stallion could produce speed horses to a degree,” Carey said. “I didn’t agree with him at the start until I saw his progeny.”

Pool Play has 18 foals in his debut crop to lead Ontario’s freshman sires.

Canadian champion Hunters Bay relocated from Maryland to Adena Springs North in Aurora for the 2017 season, meaning his first few crops will largely debut in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The 10-year-old Ghostzapper horse was named Canada’s champion older horse of 2012, with wins in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes and Grade 3 Eclipse Stakes, and a second in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. He stands for $4,000 Canadian, and has 16 foals in his first crop.

“We brought him to Canada because I think the Canadians will appreciate him for what he is,” said Dermot Carty of Adena Springs. “He’s a champion up here. He’s a beautiful, elegant-looking horse, about 16-1 1/2 hands, and a great mover.”

The first freshman sire of the class to get a winner was Town Prize, whose daughter Midnight Strider won on debut in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on May 19 at Woodbine.

Town Prize, a stakes-winning 8-year-old son of Speightstown, resides at Curraghmore Farm in Waterdown, and is advertised for $3,000 Canadian. His first crop has four foals.

Ontario’s freshman sire roster also includes Irish Group 3 winner Nephrite (by Pivotal, 15 foals) at Park Stud; Grade 3 winner Nonios (by Pleasantly Perfect, five foals) at Colebrook Farms Stallion Station; allowance winner Cold Harbor (by Distorted Humor, two foals) at Fieldstone Farms; stakes winner Riley Ripasso (by Johannesburg, one foal) at Kinghaven Farms; and unraced Gamble’s Exchange (by Exchange Rate, one foal) at Shady Maple Stables.