Monday, August 17, 2009

Photo Essay: NHL Goalkeeper Curtis Joseph Saves The Best For Last in Woodbine Weekend

It was hot and humid all weekend at Woodbine and the action was hot and heavy. As predicted here in Friday's post, Todd Kabel notched a big Stakes win aboard Ginger Brew in the Belle Mahone Stakes and paid $5.30 for the trouble. Leading rider Patrick Husbands led Franny Freud to the winners circle in Saturday's Ontario Debutante Stakes barely holding off Negligee by a half-length.

On Sunday, I made my way to Woodbine in time for the fifth race. After watching my beloved Liverpool play football like drunken Sunday leaguers in a 2-1 loss to Tottenham, I was hardly in the mood to leave the house but I'm glad I made the effort.

Though I only took in six races, I managed to:

1. Collect on three of five races I wagered, while indirectly finding a positive use for Twitter.

2. Enjoy watching three turf bouts.

3. Interview NHL goalkeeper Curtis Joseph and watch his horse win.

With the hot weather on Sunday, several horses were clearly sweating it up in the paddock and as a result some horses stood out from those all a lather. From my vantage point in the paddock before the seventh race, I Tweeted that: "woodbine 7th race - #5,8,10 make a nice paddock appearance. dry, bare legs. 16 min to post!"

I boxed the trio in an exactor and added a small win wager on the five horse (D's Wando) as he was being ignored at odds of 8-1. Less than twenty minutes later, I was able to Tweet: "woo hoo! d's wando (5) beats the fave (8) for a neat $46 exactor!"

Up next was the Victoriana Stakes and this time two horses really stood out in the paddock as Tweet worthy. The favourite, Authenicat (#1), was much the best on Form but as favourites go, beatable. The pre-race Tweet sounded out as follows: "#7 and # 9 looking good in paddock for woodbine 8th race. #1 a bit wet but alert. looks like a good ex box!"

Once again I boxed the three horses mentioned in the Tweet and made a small win wager on the #9, San Nicola Whiskey at odds of 10-1. The results were satisfyingly Tweetable: "san nicola whiskey (#9) takes the victoriana stakes!! i miss the exactor but get the win!"

Just as I was getting ready to write a book on handicapping, Hip Hop Hooray (#9) stomped all over my pre-race Tweet in the ninth by beating the favoured Gold Spinner (#8). "# 3,8,11 look good in paddock for woodbine ninth. emma jayne looking for 3 in a row with the #3 horse," tweets Triple Dead Heat. Oops.

Still, the Twitter feed came in handy when the #6 horse, Looking For Action, pulled up at the top of the stretch. A quick word post race with trainer Sid Attard confirmed the horse was fine and the newsworthy Tweet of: "#6 horse, looking for action, pulled up in woodbine 9th. horse is fine. just confirmed with sid attard" was broadcast to my Tweeps.

The tenth and final race of the day was a turf race for a salty group of old-timers won by nine-year-old Awesome Action. Owned in part by Curtis Joseph, the gelding made a nice move off the rail for jockey Rob Landry and just got up in time to catch eight-year-old Omaggio. Following the race, I stood with Joseph's family and watched the replay as trainer Sue Leslie walked the group through Landry's brilliant ride. "Robbie rode him perfectly. When you see a horse nip another horse at the wire, the jockey's got to get a lot of credit," said Joseph.

Joseph has been in the racing game since 1995 and, along with Awesome Action, also has two other young fillies in training with Leslie. Currently a free agent, Joseph offered no whispers of where he might end up in the coming season but he's definitely keeping in shape. There are a few teams that could do worse than adding a goalkeeper currently fourth on the NHL's all-time list with 454 regular-season victories.

What a great way to spend an afternoon. In less than four hours at the track, I'd made off with a bit of pocket money, forgotten all about Liverpool's amateurish start to their Premiership campaign and left the track with a smile on my face.

(What follows is a photo review of my half-day at Woodbine. As always, double-left click on the photo to enlarge it and then use your "Back" button to return to the blog.)

David Clark leads Rockglen to the track in the safety orange silks of James and Alice Sapara

Emile Ramsammy gives a tip of the cap on a radiant Bear Always

River Heights continues the subtle orange theme with his saddle cloth

Bear's Prado demands inclusion in this juicy spread thanks to Todd
Kabel's orange sash

Luis Contreras give us his best "Mr. Robotto" - would have been better with orange polka dots.

Orange you glad you bet on the six? Emile Ramsammy and Bear Always sprint home much the best in the Woodbine fifth!

Trainer Mike De Paulo helps hose down Bear Always

Don't just stand there, bust a move! Reade Baker and Leroy Trotman strike a pose in the Woodbine Paddock prior to the seventh race.

Mac aboard Mac(allan) in the seventh. Happy 40th Jimmy Mac!

Check out the checkerboard on D's Wando

"Everyone" knows Patrick Husbands is the leading rider at Woodbine

Hey Waldheim, orange silks are so two races ago!

Thisonesforelmo expects to win this race by a neck

D's Wando strides home a winner

Big smile in the winners circle from jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson

Up next, the Victoriana Stakes for 3YO+, routing a 1 1/16M on the turf. Rob Landry had the favourite, Authenicat.

Slade Callaghan and Serena's Rose composed pre-race

You Will Love Me in the appropriate heart-shaped silks

KRZ Exec believes that vowels are for surnames only

Galipette and Justin Stein were looking to double up

Chantal Sutherland, with the eye of the tiger, aboard Mia d'Cougar

Jono Jones, cool as can be, was given the call aboard Tenjectory

While the other horses took a spin around the walking ring, San Nicola Whiskey stayed cool in the paddock...hmmmm

Blanket finish on the hottest day of the meet won by San Nicola Whiskey

That's two in a row for Emma-Jayne Wilson who appears ready to jump for joy

The gorgeous Renee Kierans interviews Emma-Jayne and Robert Earl Barnett

The kids love Emma-Jayne Wilson

Krista Carignan and Jono Jones sign some autographs for the future fans of horse racing

Hip Hop Hooray caught me snapping her photo after winning the ninth race

Former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Curtis Jospeh was on hand to watch his horse Awesome Action win the tenth and final race.

Down The Stretch is in safe hands with Cujo!

Joseph's Awesome Action was in safe hands with jockey Rob Landry

Guess how many winners Landry had on Sunday?

Amazing how much fun you can have in a half-day at the racetrack. I'm looking forward to next weekend already when the feature will be the G2 Sky Classic Stakes. Circle Sunday August 23rd in your calendar Woodbine fans!

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Count me among your happy Tweeps! You mentioned Curtis Joseph’s Awesome Action, I place a win bet, and...tada! Victory :-) Tweet more!