“Cool Dude” Roaring Forties Aims to Defend Sunshine Turf Crown

January 16, 2024

Roaring Forties and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan winning the Sunshine Turf Stakes on January 21, 2023, at Gulfstream (Adam Coglianese)

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

TORONTO, On.—Roaring Forties, an 8-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic, will take on six rivals as he chases his second straight score in the $75,000 Sunshine Turf Stakes, Sunday at Gulfstream.

Trained by Woodbine-based Katerina Vassilieva, Roaring Forties will be making his first start of the year in the 1 1/16-mile race for Florida-breds, 4-year-olds and up.

Last year in the Sunshine Turf, Roaring Forties roared to a frontrunning score in what was his first start against fellow Florida-breds.

“We were able to get the lead and get comfortable fractions, where he was able to relax,” recalled Vassilieva. Shaun [jockey, Bridgmohan] did a very good job at getting him to settle and relax. He hasn’t run two turns a lot in his career – he gets a little racey sometimes – so we were hoping that if he got a clear, comfortable lead, he would be able to take it all the way. It set up perfectly for us.” 

Owned by Borders Racing Stable Ltd., Roaring Forties has had a series of four-furlong works, including a :48.95 breeze on January 5th at Palm Meadows Training Center, in preparation for his latest test.

Vassilieva, who had a career-best 2023 campaign across the board, including 20 wins, has liked what she has seen from her veteran competitor ahead of the Sunshine Turf.

Toronto On.September 3, 2023.Woodbine Racetrack.R8roaring Forties Jockey Rafael Hernandez.Woodbine/ Michael Burns Photo
Roaring Forties and jockey Rafael Hernandez winning Race 8 on September 3, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

“He’s doing great. He’s been back in Florida since the second week of December. He’s had some very good works. Shaun, who rode him in last year’s race, has been on him and is happy with him as well. We are heading into the race in good shape and are hoping to defend our title.”

Bred by Stroud Lane Farm, Roaring Forties failed to meet his reserve when the hammer came down at $13,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. 

He has gone on to make 30 starts – 28 of them at Woodbine, the other two at Gulfstream – compiling an overall mark of 7-3-2 to go along with $327,120 (U.S.) in purse earnings.

The chestnut gelding went 2-0-1 from seven starts in 2023. His most recent win came on September 3rd at Woodbine, a half-length score over 6 ½ furlongs of E.P. Taylor turf as the 9-5 choice.

Roaring Forties and jockey Declan Carroll winning Race 6 on September 5, 2022, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Roaring Forties and jockey Declan Carroll winning Race 6 on September 5, 2022, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

“He is such a cool dude,” said Vassilieva. “Everybody loves him. He’s such a laid-back, kind, sweet horse, who loves his treats. He’s 8, so he gets a lot of respect from people at the racetrack. He’s a warrior, a trier, and a horse that takes care of himself. He loves the attention, especially if you come to see him with food.” 

“Whenever he races, he is always there,” praised Vassilieva. “If he doesn’t win, he’s never very far out of it. You have to love his heart and his determination.” 

Fans can watch and wager on the Sunshine Turf through HPIbet.com, bet365.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.

@jonathanstettin congrats on a great hit. Very nice job!!!

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