Tenacious Canadiansweetheart Takes On 13 In G3 Whimsical

May 2, 2024

Canadiansweetheart and jockey Leo Salles winning the Sweet Briar Too Stakes on August 19, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineCommunications

TORONTO, Ont. – Canadiansweetheart will go for the upset in Saturday’s $135,000 Whimsical Stakes Presented by Bulleit Bourbon (G3), at Woodbine.

A 4-year-old daughter of Ransom the Moon-Terri’s Pass, the dark bay is no stranger to outrunning her odds, something she will look to do in the six-furlong Whimsical, for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, contested on the all-weather track.

Last year, Canadiansweetheart, trained by Renico Lafond for owner Chris Manohar, took the six-furlong Sweet Briar Too Stakes over a firm E.P. Taylor turf, at 36-1.

“It was a great example of what type of horse she is,” said Lafond. “She was a longshot, but she didn’t race like one. She was calm and cool.”

Added Manohar after the Sweet Briar Too, “She always gives us 100 per cent when she runs. She has such a big heart. She’s just like us. We’re underdogs, we’re young and we’re trying. Today, she proved the underdog can always win too.” 

Canadiansweetheart ended last year’s campaign with a sixth in the Zadracarta Stakes on September 10.

“She went into her last race in 2023 acting a little strange. Everything was fine physically, but on the day of the race, she was very wound up and that isn’t the horse I know. She ran well, but it just wasn’t her. That’s when I decided to put her away for the winter.”

That plan didn’t pan out as expected.

“She was at the farm here in Ontario and I wanted her to have a blast and enjoy it. In December, I went to see her, and she was stir-crazy. I decided to bring her to Florida with me.”

The dark bay went postward three times at Gulfstream. Her best finish, a third, came last time out in a five-furlong main track sprint on March 21.

“We aimed her for the race in February, where she was seventh on the turf in the Ladies’ Turf Sprint. We brought her back 12 days later – which I don’t like to do – and she was sixth. I like to give my horses three or four weeks in between, so after that race, I decided to back off. It ended up working out because a month after that race she was a very good third. That was the horse we know.” ​ 

Canadiansweetheart worked five panels in 1:01.80 over the Woodbine all-weather track on April 24.

“She’s in great shape and she’s doing well. She looks fantastic.” ​ 

Bred in Ontario by James Everatt, Janeane Everatt and Arika Everatt-Meeuse, Canadiansweetheart was claimed by Lafond for $25,000 in the spring of 2022.

What caught his eye?

Canadiansweetheart and jockey Leo Salles winning the Sweet Briar Too Stakes on August 19, 2023, at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Canadiansweetheart and jockey Leo Salles winning the Sweet Briar Too Stakes on August 19, 2023. (Michael Burns Photo)

“Her heart,” said Lafond. “You can see how much she tries when she races. I admired the way she always went out and showed her competitive fire.”

Sporting a record of 8-0-3 from 21 starts, along with $227,060 in purse earnings, Canadiansweetheart reeled off five straight scores from November 17, 2022, to March 5, 2023.

Lafond, who is looking forward to getting her on the Woodbine turf and also stretching her out, is hoping his versatile filly can get back on the winning track Saturday.

“She’s in good form. She’s winter-raced, she’s fit and she’s happy. She’s dappled out and shining.” 

Lafond’s father, Nicholas, is the groom.

Canadiansweetheart will face a formidable group in the Whimsical, including graded stakes winners Accomplished Girl, Blind Spot, and Honey Pants, along with stakes winners Play the Music, and Sunday Shoes. ​ 

First-race post time on Saturday is 1:10 p.m., with the Whimsical scheduled as the afternoon’s eighth race. Fans can wager on all the action via HPIbet.com, bet365.com, and the Dark Horse Bets app.   

Field for the $135,000 Whimsical Stakes   

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer   

1 – Awesome Treat – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Steve Attard

2 – Peacock Lass – Alex Achard – Rodolphe Brisset

3 – Play the Music – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

4 – Canadiansweetheart – Leo Salles – Renico Lafond

5 – Accomplished Girl – Tyler Conner – Saffie Joseph, Jr.

6 – Sunday Shoes – Walter Rodriguez – Wesley Ward

7 – Speed Trap – Ryan Munger – Josie Carroll

8 – Trading Bay – Luis Contreras – Darren Glennon 

9 – Honey Pants – Luan Machado – Jonathan Thomas

10 – Dolce Sopresa – Rafael Hernandez – Josie Carroll

11 – Time for an Angel – Jason Hoyte – W. John Bourke

12 – Blind Spot – Juan Crawford – Saffie Joseph, Jr.

13 – Jokes Up – Eswan Flores – Katerina Vassilieva

14 – Baby No Worries – Gaddiel Martinez – Tim Girten

(AE) 15 – The Arcadian Way – Sofia Vives – Josie Carroll 

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