Star Shoot Headlines First Card of 2024 Woodbine Season

April 26, 2024

Mystic Lake breaks her maiden Sep. 9 at Woodbine (Michael Burns)

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By Chris Lomon – Woodbine Communications

TORONTO— Saturday’s $125,000 Star Shoot Stakes is the feature race on the opening day card of the 2024 Woodbine Thoroughbred season.

The six-furlong Star Shoot, for 3-year-old fillies, has traditionally been a key prep for the Woodbine Oaks presented by Stella Artois, the first leg of the prestigious Canadian Triple Tiara series, slated for July 20.

Mystic Lake, trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., will make her fourth start of the year, which has already yielded a pair of wins, including the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies Stakes on March 24 at Tampa Bay Downs.

Sent on her way as the 3-5 choice in the seven-furlong main track affair, Mystic Lake coasted to a 3 ½-length victory in a time of 1:23.37.

“I thought that was one of her better efforts,” said Joseph. “She finished off the race much stronger than in some of her previous races. We were very happy with how she did it.”

It was the second lifetime stakes score for the dark bay daughter of Mo Town-Salty Soul, who took the Gasparilla Stakes, also at Tampa Bay, on January 13.

“I liked her from the time we started breezing her,” said Joseph, of the filly who has compiled a 3-1-1 mark from seven starts. “But she did not fire at all in her debut [ninth, beaten 24 lengths in a 5 ½-furlong main track sprint at Gulfstream last August].

“She missed the break even though she had been very fast working from the gate. I thought she would break on top, but she came out very slowly, got shuffled back and she never showed anything.”

Bred in Florida by Peggy Costanzo, Mystic Lake, owned by C2 Racing Stable LLC and Stefania Farms, LLC, had better luck at Woodbine.

Three of her seven engagements have come at the Toronto oval, including a maiden-breaking effort last September in a six-furlong triumph over the all-weather track.

“After that tough first race at Gulfstream, she came back and showed she had the talent we thought she had.”

Mystic Lake was runner-up in the Glorious Song and third in the Mazarine (G3) in her two other Woodbine appearances.

“She has run well there in the past. Hopefully, she can come up with another nice effort again on Saturday. She seems to enjoy it at Woodbine, so we are happy to get her back there.

“As you expect, she has matured and grown from last year to this year. She is taller. She always had a good hind end, but she has an even broader hind end now.”

Mystic Lake is a two-time OBS graduate, sold by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, at the 2022 October Yearling Sale and then purchased for $130,000 out of the Tom McCrocklin consignment at the 2023 March Sale after breezing an Under Tack quarter in :20 4/5.

“She is very easy-going around the barn and very kind,” praised Joseph. “She can be a little keen when she gallops, but overall, she is very easy-going.”

Mystic Lake will be joined in the starting gate by a trio of Mark Casse runners, C C Royal, Dancing Duchess, and Winsome Beauty, along with Miss Roberts (GB), Rosa, and Sabatini.

Named for Star Shoot, sire of Sir Barton, the race was first run in 1956 at Greenwood, with Orchestra winning the inaugural edition.

The Star Shoot is Race 8 on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1:10 p.m. 

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Field for the $125,000 Star Shoot

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Rosa – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard

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

3 – Sabatini – Sofia Vives – Josie Carroll

4 – Miss Roberts (GB) – Luis Contreras – James Begg

5 – Dancing Duchess – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

6 – C C Royal – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

7 – Winsome Beauty – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

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