Rookies Step Into the G3 Spotlight in Grey and Mazarine Stakes

November 1, 2023

Tunechi and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson winning Race 6 on July 23, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Woodbine Announces Earlier Post Times

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

TORONTO, Ont. – Ten hopefuls, including Barb Minshall trainees Tunechi and Two Ghosts, will go postward in the $150,000 Grey Stakes (G3), part of a Saturday Woodbine card that also features the $150,000 Mazarine Stakes (G3). 

A bay son of Outwork-Stasha Minasha, Tunechi, 1-0-2 from four starts, arrives at the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta race for 2-year-olds off a game fourth-place effort in the Summer Stakes on (G1T) on September 16.

“He missed the Display Stakes (October 15),” said Minshall. “He had the runny nose and cough – which a lot of them have had – so he wasn’t able to run. Knock on wood, he’s doing well, and we’ve got him ready for this race.” 

Owned by Hoolie Racing Stable, LLC, Legion Racing, Conover Stable and Ribble Farms LLC, Tunechi debuted in May and finished third in the 4 ½-furlong race over the Tapeta. After a third (elevated from fourth) in his next start, at six furlongs on the Tapeta, he broke his maiden in style, a 3 ¾-length score at 6 ½ panels over the E.P. Taylor turf.

Originally sold for $20,000 (U.S.) at the 2021 Keeneland Association November Breeding Stock Sale, Tunechi was purchased by the current connections for $40,000 (U.S.) at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Selected Yearling Sale.

“I think two turns is right up his alley,” said Minshall of the horse bred in Kentucky by Fred Hertrich III and John Fielding. “He definitely acted like a two-turn horse from the day I got him. He’s not mean, but you just have to watch yourself around him because he’s a big, good-feeling colt.”

Minshall’s other entrant, Two Ghosts, brings a record of 1-2-0 from five starts into the Grey.

Bred in Kentucky by Ghostzapper Syndicate and Brushy Hill Enterprises LLC, the son of Ghostzapper-Celia’s Song finished second in his most recent engagement, the Display Stakes, contested at seven furlongs on the main track.

“I thought he was a winner until that filly [Tripolina] came running by us,” said Minshall. “He ran a good second and I think the distance should help him. He’s a very durable horse, very strong. He’s not a big horse, but he is very strong, physically. The distance, especially with his pedigree, should just help him.” 

Two Ghosts and jockey Emma-Jayne Willson winning Race 3 on August 27, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Two Ghosts and jockey Emma-Jayne Willson winning Race 3 on August 27, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

After a pair of fifth-place results to launch his career, Two Ghosts broke his maiden this August courtesy of a head victory in a 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight race. In his next race, he was second, at the same distance and over the same surface. 

Owned by Hoolie Racing Stable LLC, Two Ghosts was an $85,000 (U.S.) purchase at the 2022 Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale. 

“He is kind of funny in the sense that he is very quiet in the stall, but if you don’t know him, he can be very cheeky,” said Minshall. “He is just that kind of horse. He can be a little impatient, you have to keep him moving with the pony. He’ll stop, stamp his feet, and carry on. But he’s always been a real pro once he leaves the gate.” 

Other starters include Victoria Stakes-winning filly Pipit, trained by Kevin Attard (who also sends out King Rosso) and Mark Casse trio Jayhawk, Midnight Mascot and Sherif Ali. ​ ​ 

Field for the Grey (G3)

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer  

1 – Sherif Ali (S) – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

2 – Two Ghosts – Justin Stein – Barb Minshall

3 – Jayhawk – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

4 – Simply in Front – Ryan Munger – Patrick Dixon

5 – Piper’s Factor – Christopher Husbands – Katerina Vassilieva

6 – King Rosso – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard

7 – Break the Spell – Skye Chernetz – David Cotey

8 – Midnight Mascot – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

9 – Tunechi – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Barb Minshall

10 – Pipit – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard

The Mazarine has attracted six starters, including Uphill Dance

Trained by Rachel Halden for Uphill Stable, the daughter of Tonalist-Stormy Below sports a record of 2-0-0 from three starts.

Uphill Dance started her career in winning fashion courtesy of a 1 ¼-length score at six furlongs over the Woodbine Tapeta on August 5.

After a bump at the break, the dark bay settled into stride and came home in impressive fashion to notch the milestone victory.

“She came to me in the late spring,” said Halden. “She actually hadn’t shown a whole lot when she was in the States, where she had been training. When she came to Woodbine, her first work was mediocre, I worked her back with some blinkers on after that and they really seemed to change her around. We did run her for $40,000 in that first start, but that was more on what she had shown up until that point. She won that first start very nicely.”

Uphill Dance and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson winning Race 3 on September 22, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Uphill Dance and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson winning Race 3 on September 22, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

In her next start, a 6 ½-furlong Tapeta race on September 22, Uphill Dance drew off for a four-length win.

“She did that very well too,” said Halden. “She just hasn’t done much wrong to date.”

Last time out, in the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes, Uphill Dance circled five-to-six wide on the turn and finished fourth, beaten just 2 ½ lengths.

“She got very unlucky with a wide trip. With a better trip, I think she could have been second in that race.”

Halden’s praise for her rookie pupil extends beyond her racing lines.

The multiple graded stakes winning trainer has been impressed by the maturity the filly has shown since her first start.

“She’s a very straightforward, uncomplicated filly. She’s actually a very physically mature filly to look at. She’s quite big, but she’s also mentally mature as well, which makes my job a lot easier.”

Halden doesn’t expect any issue with Uphill Dance tackling two turns for the first time in her career.

“This is our first opportunity to do it [go two turns]. It just seems logical, considering she’s doing so well. She deserves a chance here and we’re looking forward to it. The owners are great people and it’s exciting for them too. This horse, when she came, there weren’t any big expectations originally. So, it’s nice when they show that they are something more than what everyone had first thought.”

Other starters include Display Stakes winner Tripolina and Glorious Song Stakes runner-up Mystic Lake. 

First post for the 10-race card is 1:05 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com, bet365, and the Dark Horse Bets app. 

Field for the Mazarine (G3)

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer  

1 – Witwatersand – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

2 – Uphill Dance – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Rachel Halden

3 – That Girl Artemus – Desean Bynoe – Nathan Squires

4 – Mystic Lake – Tyler Conner – Saffie Joseph, Jr. 

5 – Tripolina – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard

6 – Simply in Front – Ryan Munger – Patrick Dixon

Woodbine Announces Earlier Post Times

Woodbine Entertainment has announced that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday post times for live Thoroughbred racing will be ten minutes earlier. Thursday post time remains unchanged. 

Updated post times:

  • Thursday: 4:40 p.m.
  • Friday: 1:05 p.m.
  • Saturday: 1:05 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1:05 p.m.

For the latest news and ​ information, visit Woodbine.com or follow @WoodbineTB and @WoodbineComms.

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