The running of the Niagara, for four-year-olds & upwards, includes Mike Keogh trainee Woodbridge, a gelded son of Langfuhr bred by the late Gus Schickedanz.
The bay, owned by The Estate of Gus Schickedanz and Donald Howard, will be making his first appearance since contesting a pair of graded stakes events in 2020, both of them at Woodbine.
Woodbridge finished fifth – two lengths behind Count Again – in the Grade 3 Singspiel in September and followed it up with another fifth, this time in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf in mid-October.
“It’s really the only spot I’ve got to run because he’s not eligible for ‘two other than’ yet,” noted Keogh. “He won last year in late August, so I don’t want to run him for a tag. So, this is the spot to start. The distance is okay, but I think further down the road he’s better going a mile and a quarter, and a mile and a half, maybe. He ran some big races going long last year, in the Singspiel and Northern Dancer.”
Prior to those engagements, the Ontario-bred lit up the toteboard on August 29 in a 1 ¼-mile turf race at the Toronto oval.
Sent off at 50-1, Woodbridge took the lead an eighth of a mile from home and dug in gamely to secure a neck score in a time of 2:02.65 over firm going.
Keogh, inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame last April, would relish a duplicate of that performance.
“That would be great, wouldn’t it?” said Keogh. “He runs well fresh, and I’ve had some stiff works into him, a few seven-eighths and a mile.”
Woodbridge started his career with four straight top-three placings, including a maiden-breaking score in his fourth start on October 2, 2016.
The multiple stakes placed gelding has compiled a record of 3-2-7 from 28 career starts.
“He’s lovely to be around. He’s a happy, little horse. When you’re setting his feed, he hollers like crazy, which I love to hear horses do. They don’t all do that, but he does.”
Also contesting the Nassau is six-year-old Admiralty Pier.
Owned by Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford, the graded stakes winning son of English Channel heads into Sunday’s added-money affair off a winning effort at Woodbine on July 4.
Trained by Barb Minshall, the chestnut gelding, bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, has assembled a 6-4-3 mark from 26 lifetime starts.
“He’s doing great and he’s a very solid horse,” noted Minshall. “I expect him to run very well. He’s all class. He’s a two-year-old Sovereign [Award] champion still going at six. That in itself says a lot.”
The Niagara is Race 7 on Sunday’s 11-race card. First post time is 1:10 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
$100,000 Niagara Stakes
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Mnemba Island (S) – Shaun Bridgmohan – Julia Carey
2 – Current – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Jamie Begg
3 – Woodbridge – David Moran – Mike Keogh
4 – Belichick – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
5 – March to the Arch – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
6 – Admiralty Pier – Steven Bahen – Barbara Minshall
7 – Sir Sahib – Daisuke Fukumoto – Michael Doyle
8 – Primo Tough – Sunny Singh – Harold Ladouceur
9 – Theregoesjojo – Rafael Hernandez – Michael De Paulo
Woodbine Press Release