Moira wins Woodbine Oaks, loses two shoes ahead

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Minutes before the most prestigious filly race in Canada, Moira lost two of her shoes. But that didn’t matter.

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The three-year-old rode arguably the most impressive race at Woodbine this year, winning the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks. And while she was sent off as an equal favourite, an incident in the paddock caused moments of anxiety for coach Kevin Attard and his supporters.

« She was always anxious in the paddock, » Attard said. “She had a little episode. She stepped on her back foot. This caused one shoe to fall and the other shoe to bend.

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“We chose to run her without the posterior shoes. We weren’t too worried as it is a synthetic surface.

Going with shoes on two of her four feet didn’t bother Ghostzapper’s daughter at all. Ridden by Rafael Hernandez, Moira comfortably found a place close to the rail and settled into sixth place in the 10-horse field as the initial pace was fast.

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Late in the backstretch she was substituted to start a jaw-dropping move, pulling away once she touched the front and running away for a 10 3/4 length win even with Hernandez celebrating in the final 30 yards.

« In the first corner we tried to gain as much ground as possible, » Hernandez said. « In the back I thought some horses might pull up in front of me and I moved her to try and get away from them. »

“By three eighths, I was already where I wanted to be. I spoke to her and said, ‘Moira, this is all for you’ and she flew away. »

Moira made a fabulous debut last fall, winning the Princess Elizabeth Stakes before finishing a close second in the Mazarine Stakes. She won the Fury Stakes on June 11, establishing her favoritism in that race.

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Moira’s win makes her one of two likely favorites for the Queen’s Plate along with Rondure, the dominant winner of the Marine Stakes three weeks ago.

Jockey Declan Carroll guides Sir for Sure to victory in the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes on July 24, 2022.
Jockey Declan Carroll guides Sir for Sure to victory in the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes on July 24, 2022. Photo by Michael Burns /Woodbine Entertainment


Coach Mark Casse has added two top contenders for his quest at Plate. Sir for Sure won the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes on stablemate Hall of Dreams, likely sending both horses to the August 21 Classic, but not before post-race drama.

Ridden by Declan Carroll, Sir for Sure placed fifth in the field of nine horses at the start of the 1 1/8 mile race. He started moving around the corner and had Hall of Dreams on the outside. To pass The Minkster, who was making his own run by two lead runners, Carroll had to check Hall of Dreams before taking the lead and winning at 21-1 odds. Hall of Dreams jockey Patrick Husbands claimed a fault, but it was denied.

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“He settled in beautifully throughout the race,” Carroll said. « I was full of confidence before the race. »

“I knew my horse had a good kick when I rode him at Gulfstream so I bided my time and when I needed room I was able to push. That’s how it is in the race, it gets a little difficult, but I’m happy to have been able to come away with the victory.

It was the second win in five starts for the three-year-old son of Sligo Bay. It was the first local win for Carroll, who joined the Woodbine jockey colony this summer after being one of the riders in need of a home after Arlington Park in Chicago closed.


Hernandez picked up his second victory of the day, guiding Wakanaka to victory in the $200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes as a 6-5 favorite.

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Hernandez was fourth at the start of the 1 1/8 mile race as Fev Rover and Husbands controlled the initial pace. Wakanaka got him moving around the corner and rolled by the pacemaker very easily at the start of the stretch. There seems to have been a moment when Wakanaka slipped in the way of Fev Rover and Husbands claimed a foul. But there wasn’t enough for the result to be overturned.

« On her way home, when she saw the light of day, she ran away, » Hernandez said.

It was the seventh win in 13 career starts for Wakanaka, a four-year-old Irish-bred mare who joined trainer Bill Mott’s stable this year after racing in Italy.


Hazelbrook gave jockey Jason Hoyte his first stakes win, scoring a 26-1 upset in the $150,000 Hendrie Stakes.

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Hoyte took Hazelbrook close to the back early in the 6 1/2 furlong run. In the stretch he took the four-year-old filly on her way to five where she easily passed the early pacemakers and then beat the Amalfi Coast for the final 100 meters to win by a head.

« He’s a very smart horse, » Hoyte said. “She really ran her heart out today. I reinstalled it after a few strides and it ran very well.

It was the fourth win in six career starts for the four-year-old filly trained by Lorne Richards.


Slade Callaghan was honored as this year’s recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award at an on-track ceremony. Originally from Barbados, Callaghan arrived at Woodbine in 1994 and over his 28-year career, which continues on a part-time basis, he has won 850 races but just as importantly has made a significant contribution to the racing community of Woodbine.


Kazushi Kimura did not ride on Sunday after being injured in a spill during the seventh race on Saturday. He left after the accident and is listed as day to day. A popular member of the jockey colony, Kimura received on-air wishes from Hoyte and Hernandez.

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