Each week, in the lead-up to Opening Day of the 2021 Woodbine Thoroughbred season, we’ll follow some of the top storylines of key horses and horsepeople, and also share other important news, notes and highlights.
From horses on the Queen’s Plate trail, to horses to keep tabs on ahead of the upcoming Woodbine season, to catching up with Woodbine jockeys and trainers, the weekly report keeps racing fans and the racing community in the loop.
In this week’s report, Hall of Fame conditioner Mike Keogh recalls his first-ever win, jockey Kazushi Kimura talks goals and has a message for his fans, Ones To Watch, and Francatelli is as good as gold on the green in the 2020 King Corrie Stakes.
My First Woodbine win: Mike Keogh
Date: August 1, 1993
Horse: Clever Detector
Race: Six furlongs on the Woodbine main track
Margin of victory: 6 ½ lengths
$2 Win payout: $10.50
Owner / Breeder: Gus Schickedanz
First time is the charm: “That was the first horse I ever saddled for Gus [owner-breeder, Schickedanz]. I was lucky. When I was an assistant to Roger [trainer, Attfield] and I passed my assistant test in Florida, the first horse I saddled for Roger and Kinghaven won. And then when I went to work for Gus, Clever Detector – the first horse I saddled for him – won too.”
Battling butterflies: “We found some easier competition for him. I remember being very nervous. Gus was there with all his family and everybody from the office. The first runner for your new job, it’s a lot of pressure.”
High hopes: “I thought he would be in the top three, for sure. He was a nice, little fella, just a very honest horse.”
Moving on: “Then the party is over very quickly. When they break their maiden, they all say they’ve lost their best friend, and now they’re in winners’ company and it just gets tougher from there on in.”
Picture time: “I have that picture [Clever Detector’s win] in my office. It’s the only one that’s not a stakes picture.”
Memory lane: “I can still remember it [the win], but it does seem a while ago now. I have all the videos – I actually still have a VCR player – and sometimes I’ll throw a tape in and watch some of the memorable races. It’s great. I have all the pictures from my stakes wins. When my office at the track got smaller, I had to take some of the win pictures home and I put them in my basement. When I go down to do laundry or something, it’s nice to look at them while you’re doing something you really don’t enjoy.”
Reminders: “There are a few horses every once and a while someone will mention and I’ll say, ‘I don’t remember that one,’ but I do remember a lot of them.”
Jock Talk: Kazushi Kimura
Chasing glory: “In 2020, I was trying to be the leading rider, but I couldn’t. Well, that means for sure I’m going to work harder to be the champion. I’d also like to win the big races this year, the Queen’s Plate, Woodbine Mile, Northern Dancer – those types of races.”
Green grass of home: “Woodbine Racetrack has the most beautiful turf courses, especially the E.P. Taylor. I really like the beautiful turf course.”
Strong support: “For my fans, my biggest dream is that I become a top rider in the world. Every year I’m improving for my dream to come true. Please keep watching my life stories.”
Ones to Watch:
From Canadian Thoroughbred’s Jennifer Morrison.
Jim Menzies of Oakville, Ontario, started his Piano Bar ownership syndicate just four years ago and has introduced family, friends, and business colleagues to the exciting sport of Thoroughbred racing. Piano Bar had immediate success with its first yearling purchase, Red Cabernet, trained by Ian Black, who has sent the mare out to win eight races since 2017, two stakes events, and purses over $387,000.
Red Cabernet will be back in the Black barn for the 2021 racing season and Menzies and friends have bolstered their own stable by adding a quartet of newly turned 2-year-olds. One of those is Proud Speaker, the most expensive filly sold at the Canadian Premier Yearling Sale last fall at $82,000. The filly, by Mr Speaker, was bred by the late Gus Schickedanz.
Black, who is assisted by his son-in-law Jeff Bowen, also has stakes winner Dun Drum and promising 4-year-old filly Old Secrets ready to roll when the Woodbine season begins.
2020 Race Rewind:
Watch Francatelli crown his rivals with a front-running score in the $100,000 King Corrie Stakes, on September 12, 2020.
King Corrie Stakes:
Check out the latest promotions from HPIbet.
Woodbine Press Release
Photo: Red Cabernet, Jockey Kazushi, and Francatelli, (Michael Burns)