Sunday, October 18, 2009

Photo Essay: International Day at Woodbine As Champs Elysees Goes Out On Top

International Day arrived on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Woodbine. Though it was cool in the shade of the back paddock, all was warm and fuzzy on the sunny side of the track. Several European shippers were in attendance to try their luck in the E.P. Taylor and Pattison Canadian International, but the day started out with a throwback daily double of local importance.

In the first race of the day, Sam-Son Farms sent out a two-year-old colt named Hotep who is a full brother to 2009 Queen's Plate winner Eye of the Leopard. Trying a mile and seventy yards first out is quite a challenge but the Mark Frostad charge kept close to the pace and then dug in hard along the rail through the stretch under the guidance of jockey Rob Landry for the win. Punters in the upper level of the Woodbine grandstand rejoiced at odds of 7-1 for a horse from a stable known for its quality.

Rob Landry persevered with first-timer Hotep to win the opener

The same upper deck punters rejoiced once more when Kinghaven Farm's gelding Fifty Proof ran away with the second race for trainer Ian Black. The favoured Fifty Proof combined with Hotep for a throwback Sam-Son/Kinghaven Farms daily double worth $53.30.

Anyone can take a pretty photo of jockey Chantal Sutherland. Triple Dead Heat is proud to present, "The Lighter Side of Chantal" aboard Larvin in Saturday's first race

ESPN were on hand to cover the three Breeders' Cup Win and You're In races

Jungle Wave was favoured in the Nearctic Stakes but would finish third, beaten just a head for place.

The revitalized local sprinter Bogue Chitto had the lead deep in the stretch but would be passed at the 16th pole finishing second.

Julien Leparoux got the call on 12-1 shot Field Commission and after being blocked in the stretch, the ship-in jock got the job done diving through a hole and racing clear to win by a length and a half.

Spa leading trainer Linda Rice shipped in Karakorum Elektra who failed to show energy when needed late

An alert Little Nick rallied w i i i i d e through the stretch and missed show money by a nose in an all out drive

Storm Treasure, off a step slowly, found no reward on this day

Racing aftera year-long layoff, this sprint was too much to ask for pace-setter Silver Z

Field Commission, in the red and yellow silks, makes his move for the lead under Julien Leparoux

At the wire, it's Field Commission with a commanding charge over Bogue Chitto and Jungle Wave

Up next would be the $1,000,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes for fillies and mares, three years old and upward travelling a distance of a mile and a half. In an eight-horse field stocked full of shippers from overseas including Rainbow View, Eastern Aria and Look Here, it was the completely ignored Lahaleeb (IRE) who would shock the local punters at odds of 44-1.

UAE shipper Eastern Aria looked lively in the paddock and earned $60K with a fourth place finish

Lahaleeb was focused while loosening up in the back paddock

Hey You! Try as I might, Look Here wouldn't look 'over here'.

Princess Haya had no trouble looking into the lens

'Do these Canadians not realize Lahaleeb finished second in the Irish 1000 Guineas,' jockey William Buick might be asking?

The long, arching neck of Rainbow View could not push in front of Lahaleeb on this day

Juddmonte Farms own Treat Gently who set the pace but faltered late

Javier Castellano WALKS Salve Germania out to the track. Those of you who were in attendance at Saratoga earlier this summer when Salve Germania won the Ballston Spa will understand. Check out the bemused Chantal Sutherland.

Lahaleeb walks by the tote board for the first time. Odd of 25-1.

In possibly the slowest post parade in racing history, Lahaleeb makes the turn and passes by the tote board again at odds of 30-1.

Chantal shows a little love to Roses 'N' Wine

Eventually, Castellano did hop aboard Salve Germania

William Buick and Lahaleeb roar to the lead

At the wire, it's Lahaleeb over Rainbow View in the E.P. Taylor Stakes

Lahaleeb with a 44-1 shocker in the E.P. Taylor Stakes

With the local punters reeling from missing out on a $90 winner and a $310 exactor, the contenders for the Pattison Canadian International were put under a microscope in the beautiful Woodbine paddock.

Jukebox Jury, a Group One winner last out, strolls into the paddock

Jockey Jim Crowley got the leg up on Allied Powers. Crowley can at least be happy his beloved Arsenal were 3-1 winners over Birmingham

A frisky Jukebox Jury was up for it

German-bred Quijano, under the German flags, never fired on this day

William Buick buddies up with Buccellati for trainer Andrew Balding

Champs Elysees was making his last ever start in the International

Defending champion Marsh Side held the lead to the top of the stretch and chased on gamely to finish fourth

Just as Well loomed dangerous angling into the stretch for Julien Leparoux but failed to fire when asked

Spice Route, second in this event last year, flattened out late when asked to pick up those four white socks by jockey Jim McAleney

They're at the post...and THEY'RE OFF!

In his previous outing, Champs Elysees was blocked along the rail in the stretch. This time, jockey Garrett Gomez takes the outside and blazes past arch-rival Marsh Side

The champ is here! Champs Elysees wins the Pattison Canadian International over Jukebox Jury

They were never catching Champs Elysees on this day, who - quite literally - gallops out a winner

The Champ stares down the camera after a brilliant Grade 1 victory to end his career

Garrett Gomez does his bit at staring down the camera after a brilliant ride. The star jockey showed utmost confidence in Champs Elysees never doubting the six-year-old could get the job done.

Gomez holds the trophy (and the flowers) following the win

Autographs for the fans as Gomez discusses the race at sunny Woodbine

After a career that has seen Champs Elysees enjoy several important victories, the SIX-YEAR-OLD horse will retire to stud in England. It's not often fans get to enjoy watching a horse race into his sixth year, especially one with nearly $3M in earnings. Woodbine locals have had the pleasure of seeing Champs Elysees race four times this season and with Saturday's win, the Danehill horse will be a contender for Canadian Horse of the Year. In his previous three starts, Champs Elysees was third in the G2 Nijinksy won by Rahy's Attorney; second in the G2 Sky Classic won by the now retired Marchfield; and a troubled fourth place finish in the G1 Northern Dancer where he was placed third through disqualification. There's an argument that Champs Elyees might have won that race had he not been interfered with.

Champs Elysees wins the Canadian International

Champs Elysees would finish in the money in 21 of 28 career starts including six victories. An impressive record for a horse who now moves onto the second stage of his career. "His full-brother, Dansili, is one of the best stallions in Europe, if not the world, and this is going to make him a very important stallion prospect," said Garrett O'Rourke, the farm manager for owner Juddmonte Farm.

For now, fans can enjoy what was a splendid final race while waiting for the horse to provide them with a few more "little Champs" to cheer down the lane.

Congratulations to Champs Elysees - Enjoy your retirement!


Jean in VA. said...

A very beautiful horse.
Congratulations and best wishes for a great future.

Anonymous said...

Great photos.

sbloomer said...

What's shocking about Champs Elysees racing at 6 is not just his $3M in earnings, but that he's about the best bred horse presently racing at any age.

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