By Sean Alvarez

The first stakes races on Woodbine Racetrack’s Pattison Canadian International Stakes day card, the Gr.3 Ontario Derby is a 1 1/8 mile race over the All-Weather track for three-year-olds. This year’s field is comprised of 6 runners including morning-line favorite and British-bred Mr Ritz as well as Graham Motion trainee Strike Me Down.



#2 LOOKING TO STRIKE (Lookin At Lucky – Miss Bonnie, by Officer)

Running Style: Leader/Stalker
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Gary Boulanger
Owner: Gary Barber

Boulanger looks to have options out of the gate with this colt today. The only horse in this field that has the speed to go with Lookin To Strike is directly to his inside. While he has the ability and speed to win from the front end, he has also shown the ability to win from just off the pace. This colt has also improved lately routing on this all-weather surface at Woodbine. His last race was a going away win while beating a next out winner.



#3 MR RITZ (GB) (Oasis Dream (GB) – Que Puntual (ARG), by Contested Bid)

Running Style: Stalker
Trainer: Josie Carroll
Jockey: Eurico Rosa Da Silva
Owner: Earle I. Mack LLC

This colt has steadily improved with each and every start since coming from across the Atlantic back in May. While he has never won over the all weather surface, his second place effort proves that the track should not be an issue, and the pace of the race could play directly into his benefit. The two speed horses of this race are directly to his inside and he should get first jump on the closers. He has previously shown enough turn of foot to hold off late kicking closers.


#4 STRIKE ME DOWN (Tapit – Strike Softly, by Smart Strike)

Running Style: Mid-Pack
Trainer: Graham Motion
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Owner: Sam-Son Farm

Jose Ortiz has some options out of the gate. While I do not expect him to be on or right off the pace, he can sit a few lengths off the lead or take a hold of this one and launch from the back of the pack. With a shorter field signed up today, I expect Jose to have this colt a few lengths off the lead and try to press the leaders at the top of the turn. He had a tough trip in the Queen’s Plate while being bumped early and had to steady late in the race. Toss that race and he has run nothing but competitive races.



#1 CURLIN’S HONOR (Curlin – Franscat, by Stormin Fever)

Running Style: Leader/Stalker
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Owner: John Oxley and Breeze Easy LLC

This is a tough colt to gauge. His best race has come from dictating the pace from the front end, but since then he has been taken back and off the pace. Since that leading race he is yet to win again. If Irad Ortiz does not go to the front, he will be shuffled pretty far back with the amount of speed type horses in this field. The post position and pace of this race makes it tough to endorse this colt today.


#5 FLIGHT DECK (Lemon Drop Kid – Oval Cut, by El Prado (IRE))

Running Style: Closer
Trainer: Michael De Paulo
Jockey: Jesse Campbell
Owner: Le Amici Racing Stable

This gelding is short on speed figures and will have to run a career best to even be competitive here. His lone win came over a year ago on the turf and he has yet to even finish second since then. He has also never been in the money on this surface. Tough to play here even if the odds are right.



#6 PEPPERED (Tapizar – Elaborate, by Cherokee Run)

Running Style: Mid-Pack/Closer
Trainer: Reade Baker
Jockey: John Velazquez
Owner: Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch

A year ago, this gelding won going away over this surface and turned around and ran second in a Grade 3 at a similar distance on the same surface. The ownership thought so highly of him that he was shipped to run in the Kentucky Jockey Club and Fountain of Youth stakes. He obviously did not enjoy the dirt and has since been shipped back to Woodbine. While it will take a step up in figures to win, he looks to be a solid longshot play with a nice outside post position draw.


Additional Pattison Canadian International Card Handicapping Guides

Gr.2 Nearctic Stakes

Gr.1 Pattison Canadian International Stakes

Gr.1 EP Taylor Stakes

For more information visit




Related Posts