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TORONTO, ON – The $150,000 Whimsical Stakes (G3) and the $125,000 Star Shoot Stakes share the spotlight as they kick off Woodbine’s 2021 stakes action on Saturday’s 12-race card.
Eight starters are set to go postward in the Whimsical, a 6-furlong main track event for fillies and mares 4 and up, while eight hopefuls chase top prize in the 6-furlong main track Star Shoot for 3-year-old fillies.
The added-money offerings kick off Woodbine’s lucrative 2021 stakes calendar, which includes the $1 million Queen’s Plate (August 22), North America’s oldest continually-run stakes event and the first jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown series.
LNJ Foxwoods’ stakes winner Boardroom, a finalist for the 2020 Champion Female Sprinter Sovereign Award, is set to vie for top honours in the Whimsical.
Trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Josie Carroll, the 4-year-old daughter of Commissioner has assembled a 3-1-1 record from 5 lifetime starts.
“Solis/Litt bloodstock bought her at the OBS April 2019,” said Jaime Roth of LNJ Foxwoods. “Her breeze was very special. Going 20.1 bounding over the track effortlessly was impressive. Also, when Josie called excited after her first 5-furlong work, we knew we may have a special filly.”
Boardroom’s first 2 performances, both wins, justified the hype and hopes.
After breaking her maiden first time out on June 27 of last year, the bay, bred by Polo Green Stable, made it 2 straight scores in another strong outing, this time on July 30.
The Kentucky-bred finished third in the Ruling Angel (despite having a rein break while exiting the gate) in what was her first stakes appearance on September 12. She then went on to notch her first added-money crown courtesy of a strong rallying effort in the Duchess Stakes on October 3.
“She’s a wonderful filly,” Carroll said after the Duchess win. “This filly showed a lot of promise as soon as she came to me and she’s lived up to every bit of it. This filly could be any kind. I think she’s just going to get better.”
Roth was equally pleased with the victory.
“What impresses me most about Boardroom is her athleticism. She has a ton of class and is all business when she hits the track.”
Unraced as a 2-year-old, Boardroom will now contest her fourth consecutive stakes race, having finished second in the Bessarabian (G2) to close out her 2020 campaign.
Roth will be tuning in on Saturday to watch the Woodbine card.
“We are just so happy Woodbine has opened. While she may have been ready to run months ago, giving her the winter off, in my opinion, is always good for fillies. It gives them time to relax, mature, and grow.”
Boardroom Seals the Deal in Duchess
LNJ Foxwoods will also be represented in the Star Shoot with Drunk Dial, a bay daughter of Dialed In who notched an impressive 5 1/2-length win in her debut last November at Woodbine.
Kevin Attard, who won 43 races in 2020 and was a Sovereign Award finalist as Canada’s outstanding trainer, sends out multiple stakes winner Amalfi Coast in the Whimsical.
The 5-year-old Terra Farms homebred endured an uneven 2020 campaign, winning 1 race and posting a third from 6 starts.
After a sixth-place effort to launch her season last June (a 7 1/2-furlong allowance dash on the Woodbine inner turf), Amalfi Coast finished fourth to Elizabeth Way in the Nassau Stakes (G2) 3 weeks later.
The daughter of Tapizar was third and eighth, respectively, in the Seaway (G3) and Canadian (G2) before a 4 1/4-length romp in the 6 1/2-furlong Sweet Briar Too Stakes on October 23.
She closed out her year with a fourth in the Bessarabian.
“I think we were a little overambitious with her in a few spots,” offered Attard. “Right from the get-go, in her first start, she got slammed leaving the gate, and it was just a brutal trip. Then we had a little bit of a throat issue that we had to rectify and get sorted out. Then with the pandemic, getting off to a late start, things just kind of didn’t get off on the right foot with her. She ended off her 3-year-old campaign so well, and then her 4-year-old year didn’t start off as promising. But she showed she still had it with that win in the Sweet Briar Too. I was expecting a bit of a better race in her final start of the season, but she wintered well and looks good.”
Amalfi Coast brings a 5-2-2 mark from 14 starts into Saturday’s engagement.
“She was with me in Caledon (Ontario) in the winter. She came to Woodbine in the spring and hasn’t missed a beat. I’m excited to see her get going. It might be a tad short of her best distance-wise, but she’s good and sharp.”
The Whimsical goes as race nine with a 5:31 PM post time. The Star Shoot is slated as race seven with a 4:28 PM post time.
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