Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lights Out at Woodbine

--Christina Bossinakis

   With less than 24 hours until the running of the 152nd Queen’s Plate, Saturday provided a good start to a great weekend of racing at Woodbine in Toronto. On this particular occasion, I had the pleasure of being escorted to the races by my uncle Costa Bossinakis (and you thought the female version of a Bossinakis was a handful!) and his long time associate, Frank Romeo, whose Terra Stables campaigned last year’s Queen’s Plate hero Big Red Mike. I must admit, I was a bit anxious when we arrived at the track, shortly after the third race. Frank was being a great host, leading us past the walking ring and paddock, and through the Canadian Hall of Fame (a must see if you visit the track). However, to be honest, I had just one thing on my mind--bet Clement Rock in the fourth. Thankfully, we made it up to our station on the fourth floor in the Woodbine Club in time for us to go to town on the Mark Casse 3-year-old. I cashed out on the next two as well, which made it a pretty good day on the betting front. Fingers crossed, Sunday will prove as fruitful.

I’ve been to racetracks all over the country, but I experienced a ‘first’ at Woodbine Saturday--a blackout. (I missed the famous Big Brown/Belmont power outage as I was at Epsom for the Derby) It was as dark as pitch in the owners club where we were seated, and before the backup lights had a chance to kick on, most seemed to be only marginally concerned. As for me, I took a renewed interest in my Cosmo, which I had been sadly neglecting while I ran back and forth between the paddock and the betting window. In total, the power couldn’t have been off for more than about 10 minutes, and when it came back on, it was back to business. Racing folk really are a hard core bunch.

Among Saturday’s highlights, a Reade Baker 2-year-old filly named Tu Endie Wei put in a sparkling performance in winning the My Dear S. The half-sister to Canadian Horse of the Year Biofuel certainly looks like she has a successful career ahead of her. I also got a huge kick out of seeing many of Canada’s top racing figures, having received much of my early racing instruction watching operations like Kinghaven Farms, Sam-Son Farm and Knob Hill Farms dominate the local scene. While the majority of Canada’s top connections were out in full force today, including local trainers Michael Doyle, Mark Casse, Roger Attfield and Josie Carroll (there are too many to recount here), Sunday’s Queen’s Plate card will surely draw some of America’s finest. With the opening act over, I am looking forward eagerly to the headlining show.

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