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Eurico Da Silva made his way back to the top of the rider standings during the week of June 16-20, winning aboard 6 of 24 mounts. He and Patrick Husbands were tied with 52 wins apiece.
Emile Ramsammy was 6 for 28, and Chantal Sutherland was 5 for 26. Two U.S.-based jockeys fared well last weekend: Jeffrey Sanchez was 2 for 4, and Stewart Elliott was 2 for 3.
Scott Fairlie led all trainers during the week, with 4 wins from 13 starters. Other hot trainers included Reade Baker, Sid Attard, Wesley Ward, Steve Attard, Josie Carroll, Roger Attfield, and Mike DePaulo. The New York-based James Bond won with his lone starter, improving to 2 for 2 at the meet.
For the second time in the last year, a refund was given on a horse who broke through the gate a split second before the others, this time in last Sunday's seventh race. D'awesome Cat got left badly after doing so, although she managed to rally for third. All horizontal wagers on her were transferred to the winning favorite, C'Mon Man, and if you had him capping your pick four, your payoff plunged from $380 to $236.95.
Last Aug. 15, heavily favored Indian Apple Is led throughout an allowance sprint after her gate opened a tad early, and all bets on her were refunded. It was the first leg of a pick four, and those who keyed her inherited the new favorite, who got nailed on the wire for second by a longshot.
There has to be a better way to deal with these kinds of predicaments, such as consolation payoffs. It is an issue the Canadian Pari-mutuel Agency should be looking into to help improve the fairness of the game.
Wednesday, June 16: Unlike the previous Wednesday night, when there was an inside bias, the outside yielded the most winners this evening. The two inside winners on the eight-race card were Kissher to Keepher and Step On Up, who stalked along the rail in a $40,000 sprint before edging away from the front-running Would If I Could, who ran in the two-path. It might be wise to keep tabs on how horses perform in their next starts to see whether there was a legitimate outside bias on this card.
Madman Diaries showed his track-record-breaking maiden win wasn't a fluke when he dominated his five opponents last Saturday in the $150,400 Victoria, the first 2-year-old stakes of the meet.
Brock N Rock outran Madman Diaries for the early lead in the five-furlong dash, through an opening quarter in 21.57. Madman Diaries came through an opening along the rail on the turn and then drew away in the stretch to prevail by 9 1/4 lengths. He earned a fat 88 Beyer Figure. Jeffrey Sanchez rode him for owner-trainer-breeder Wesley Ward, who collected $90,000.
Madman Diaries lowered Woodbine's 4 1/2-furlong Polytrack record when he won his maiden May 9.
Moonlight Beauty notched her first stakes in Saturday's supporting feature, the $102,000 Zadracarta. She led all the way in the seven-furlong turf sprint, completing the distance in 1:21.91.
Moonlight Beauty got a 90 Beyer in the race for Ontario-bred females, and it was jockey Chantal Sutherland's meet-leading seventh stakes triumph.
Tasty Temptation evened the score with her arch-rival, Milwaukee Appeal, when she captured last Sunday's $117,800 Hill 'n' Dale Stakes.
Tasty Temptation defeated Milwaukee Appeal in last year's La Lorgnette Stakes before losing to her in the Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate. Milwaukee Appeal eventually won the Sovereign Award for Canadian champion 3-year-old filly.
In the 1 1/16-mile Hill 'n' Dale, Tasty Temptation had clear sailing on the outside, and Milwaukee Appeal had a more suffocating inside trip, and Tasty Temptation scored in workmanlike fashion, earning a 94 Beyer.
QUEEN'S PLATE TOP 10
The 151st running of the Queen's Plate, Canada's most famous race, will be run at Woodbine on July 4. A 1 1/4-mile stakes worth $1 million, the Plate is restricted to Canadian-bred 3-year-olds and has been won by such standouts as Northern Dancer, Awesome Again, and Dance Smartly. These are my top 10 contenders for the race:
1. Artic Fern: Won a quick maiden special in his second start April 17 and outran Mobilizer in his rapid allowance win May 23. He responded favorably to rating tactics while beating older foes in a relatively slow clocking at 1 1/16 miles June 5. He is a son of Langfuhr out of a full-sister to 1999 Plate winner Woodcarver.
2. Mobilizer: This Stronach Stable runner was a wide-closing second to Artic Fern May 23 and ran gamely along the rail when second in the Plate Trial. Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to attend this year's Plate; Stronach's Awesome Again won the last time she was here for the race in 1997.
3. Roan Inish: Gutsy filly captured the Woodbine Oaks off one seven-furlong prep and appears to have plenty of upside and stamina. Fillies have fared well in recent runnings of the Plate.
4. Hotep: A full-brother to last year's Plate winner, Eye of the Leopard, he exited a slump while taking the May 8 Wando Stakes and returned to finish second to favored Exhi in the Marine Stakes.
5. Big Red Mike: Won the Plate Trial after setting soft fractions and will probably have more speed to deal with in the Plate if he employs an aggressive approach again.
6. Moment of Majesty: Suffered a heartbreaking loss in the Oaks after mounting a wide rally. A daughter of Saint Liam, she is not eligible to the Plate, but she could be supplemented at the time of entry for $25,000.
7. Mobthewarrior: A son of 2003 Plate Trial winner Mobil, he closed steadily on the outside and finished third in the Trial, easily his best performance to date.
8. Giant's Tomb: Awesome Again colt was hard-ridden for fourth in the Trial, and his plodding style might enable him to hit the superfecta in the big one.
9. Dark Cloud Dancer: He won his maiden second time out at seven furlongs May 16, earning an 85 Beyer, and was subsequently a wide-closing second in a nine-furlong allowance. He is a son of Storm Cat out of 2001 Plate winner Dancethruthedawn.
10. Embur's Song: Won her first two starts impressively, receiving Beyers in the high-90's, but she didn't rate kindly in the nine-furlong Oaks and finished a fading third after carving out the fractions. As a daughter of Unbridled's Song, she is bred to be a pure sprinter on the dam's side.
HORSES TO WATCH
Trainer: Bill Mott
Last race: June 20, 5th
Finish: 5th by 4
Beautifully bred daughter of Seeking the Gold was blocked behind rivals early in the stretch before closing belatedly on the outside when favored in a seven-furlong maiden special. It was her second start, and her first on Polytrack.
Trainer: Mark Frostad
Last race: June 18, 8th
Finish: 1st by 1
She upset Sugar Bay, winning her third win in a row, and was awarded a 90 Beyer in the third-level allowance/optional claimer. A Sam-Son Farm runner, she went through her first three allowance conditions without much of a problem and seems ready for stakes competition.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Last race: June 20, 6th
Finish: 4th by 1 1/2
He tried to go up the rail from a stalking position but was steadied while in tight at the quarter pole. He regrouped and made a bid before hanging a little in the late stages.
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Last race: June 19, 8th
Finish: 6th by 6 1/2
Saratoga shipper ran along the rail, the worst part of the course on the backstretch, in this seven-furlong turf stakes and was blocked behind rivals in midstretch. It was her first outing in a year, and she should be more effective next time out. Put her on your Stable Mail.