TORONTO, July 14, 2022 – Late race heroics could be in store for Sunday’s Victoria Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack.
A field of six two-year-olds will go 5 ½ furlongs over the Woodbine Tapeta in the $125,000 Victoria. All six competitors have race experience with five having already visited the winner’s circle.
Among those winners is the Ontario Bred Poulin in O T. The Steve Owens trainee is by Ontario Sire Reload, and is named for Canadian national women’s hockey team superstar Marie-Philip Poulin.
The 31-year-old Beauceville, Quebec native has won three Olympic Gold Medals and two World Championships, scoring overtime winning goals in the 2014 Olympics and 2021 Worlds.
Named after a clutch performer, Owens is hoping that rubs off on his youngster.
“Poulin always seems to shine in overtime, so it’s a pretty good name and we’re happy with it.”
Poulin in O T wasted little time scoring on the racetrack, winning his career debut impressively on June 24 at Woodbine by 5 ¼ lengths.
“That was a good first race. He worked really well coming into the race from the gate, so I knew he could run a little bit,” said Owens. “Our horse handled things really easily. I knew he would run well. How good was he? I didn’t know he was that good.
“He’s a very laid-back horse in the morning and just does what you ask him to do. He’s big and strong. It surprised me with his performance a little bit, but it didn’t shock me.”
With no secrets now, Poulin in O T goes after a stakes victory in Sunday’s Victoria for trainer Owens and co-owner Empress Stables. Although Poulin in O T’s debut was impressive, Owens is a little hesitant to place high expectations on Sunday’s contest.
“He came out of the race really well. He was a little tired. He ran a lot of that race on his natural ability, I think, anyway,” noted Owens. “I wish this race was six weeks between his first start. It would have given me a little more time to prep him properly.
“I did give him a workout a few days ago and it wasn’t what I was looking for. It was a lackadaisical half-mile in :50. I had some company set-up for him – he works better, as most two-year-olds do in company – but some circumstances prevented that from happening. He worked out by himself and it didn’t get a lot out of it.”
Jockey Luis Contreras, who did not ride Poulin in O T in his first start, has the assignment on Sunday and the pair will break from post five.
Just like his namesake, Poulin in O T will try to come up clutch in the big moments.
“Physically, he’s a good-looking horse and he’s a big boy.”
The Victoria Stakes is carded as Race 3 on Sunday’s ten-race program. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com or the Dark Horse Bets app.
The field for the $125,000 Victoria Stakes is listed below:
POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
1 – Velocitor – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard
2 – Kaukokaipuu – Jason Hoyte – Tedston Holder
3 – Battle Strike – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
4 – Uncle Jock – Antonio Gallardo – Ron Potts
5 – Poulin in O T – Luis Contreras – Steve Owens
6 – Mikey Bananas – Pablo Morales – Tim Hamm
With files from Woodbine Communications