TORONTO, October 22, 2021 – The Ontario Sire Heritage Series continued Friday at Woodbine with Lorena capturing the $80,000 Thunder Bay Stakes.
The seven-furlong turf event is part of an eight-leg stakes series open to Ontario Sired three-year-olds, held at Woodbine and Fort Erie racetracks.
Ontario Racing and its Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP) Committee unveiled the series in March. With a total purse structure of $750,000, the Heritage Series features a total of four races – three opening legs and one final – for both three-year-old colts and three-year-old fillies that are sustained to the Ontario Sires Stakes program.
Sent off as the 6-5 choice in the Thunder Bay, for fillies, Lorena, under Gary Boulanger, broke alertly and was quickly joined to the inside by Cleomenes, as the pacesetting pair took their four rivals through an opening quarter in :24.32.
The duo continued their front-end duel through a half-mile in :48.62, as Sunsprite loomed a threat to their outside while Meet the Soprano, benefitting from a ground-saving trip, was also positioned for a late charge.
As the field straightened for home, Cleomenes clung to the lead as Loren began to dial-up the pressure to the outside, with the latter striking front in early stretch.
Jilli Mari burst onto the scene and took aim at the daughter of Souper Speedy-Negotiable, but couldn’t get by, finishing a 1 ¼-length behind the winner. Meet the Soprano was third. Red Equinox and Imaginary Sky were both scratched.
The final time for seven panels over an E.P. Taylor Turf Course listed as ‘good’ was 1:25.54.
Lorena paid $4.40 for the win.
“I mean, she’s a really special filly,” praised Boulanger. “It took a couple races to really figure her out. By taking her off the pace, she showed me so much. When she gets to the turn she relaxes too much. That’s what happened during the last race (fifth, in the Duchess Stakes on September 25). We got to the turn and I couldn’t get her going. And so today we hit the turn, she did it again and I started picking at her. I was like, ‘No, no, we can’t, we can’t be backing off here.’ As soon as she switched back to the right lead, it’s just boom, big gear. So, we’ve both been learning about each other.
“She’s a determined filly. You can put her in a battle and you better bring a big one to get by her. On the turf, she handled it very well. I don’t know behind me how they’re handling it, but she got over very well.”
Bred by Dr. Liam Gannon, the dark bay, trained by Stuart Simon, who co-owns with Brent and Russell McLellan, and Kai Olguin, is now 5-0-0 from seven career starts.
It was the third stakes score for Lorena, who took the Fury in July and the Algoma in August.
Secret Reserve Has Plenty In Reserve To Take Lake Superior
TORONTO, October 22, 2021 – The $80,000 Lake Superior Stakes, part of the Ontario Sire Heritage Series, saw Secret Reserve sprint away with top prize Friday at Woodbine.
The seven-panel turf event for colts and geldings is part of the Ontario Sire Heritage Series (see Thunder Bay recap for more info).
A pair of longshots, Maakwa and All Canadian, were quickest out of the gate engaging one another early, as Secret Reserve, riding a two-race win streak, was settled into third spot by Rafael Hernandez through an opening quarter-mile that was timed in :23.51.
Maakwa, at 22-1, and All Canadian, at 20-1, continued to run one-two through a half-mile in :47.18, with Secret Reserve, now positioned along the rail, running along comfortably in fourth, a head behind Red River Rebel.
As the frontrunners began to fade, several closers were launching their respective bids, while Secret Reserve had clear running along the inside. A length ahead at the stretch call, Secret Reserve braced for the challenge of hard-charging Dragon’s Brew, who was breathing down his neck to the outside.
Secret Reserve, however, was able to find another gear in the late stages and went on to win by two lengths. Dragon’s Brew (7-1) was one length in front of third-place finisher Perfect Crime (46-1).
The final time over ‘good’ going on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course was 1:24.70.
“We saved all the ground and got to the rail turning for home,” noted Hernandez. “It was a perfect trip. He ran before on the turf, but I never was on the back of him on the turf. Today, he looked like he can handle it too, even on the kind of soft turf.”
A son of Giant Gizmo-Smart Suzie, Secret Reserve arrived at the Lake Superior in great form, winning an optional claiming race on July 24 at Woodbine, following up that performance with a victory in the Elgin Stakes on August 29.
He is now 4-0-0 from five career starts, including a win in his career bow last September.
Trained by Mike Mattine, and owned by Carlo D’Amato and Stacey Van Camp, the dark bay, bred by Dr. Brian Van Arem, returned $4.80 as the 7-5 choice.
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Woodbine Press Release
Photo 1: Lorena and Gary Boulanger handle the Woodbine turf with ease, capturing the Thunder Bay Stakes. (Michael Burns Photo)
Photo 2: Lorena and Gary Boulanger glide to victory in the Thunder Bay Stakes at Woodbine on October 22, 2021. (Michael Burns Photo)
Photo 3: Secret Reserve had plenty in reserve as he pulled away to win the Lake Superior Stakes under Rafael Hernandez at Woodbine on October 22, 2021. (Michael Burns Photo)
Photo 4: Secret Reserve and Rafael Hernandez made the most of a ground saving trip to win the Lake Superior Stakes at Woodbine on October 22, 2021. (Michael Burns Photo)