TORONTO – Patches O’Houlihan, a 3-year-old son of Reload-Maythefourthbwithu, wired his rivals in the $150,000 Bold Venture Presented by Johnnie Walker (G3), for 3-year-olds and up, on King’s Plate Sunday at Woodbine.

Stepping up in class and taking on older, more seasoned competition, didn’t faze Patches O’Houlihan one bit in the afternoon’s seventh race, one of five stakes contested on the 13-race card.

Under Daisuke Fukumoto, the bay gelding, in typical fashion, broke sharply from the gate and took control of the nine-horse field, leading Old Chestnut, one of three Martin Drexler trainees, by two lengths through an opening split in :22:68.

Patches O’Houlihan extended his advantage over that rival to four lengths through a half in :44.61 but soon felt the pressure from both sides as he navigated the turn for home. In front by a half-length at Robert Geller’s stretch call, the Robert Tiller trainee continued to fight on and crossed the wire a 1 ¼-length winner. Last American Exit, at 45-1, was second, a half-length ahead of Old Chestnut for second. Secret Reserve was fourth.

The final time for 6 ½ furlongs was 1:15.34.

“I looked at the [Daily Racing] Form,” said Fukumoto. “I knew my speed in the race, but you know, anything can happen. I just rode simple, rode good. I went inside and then took the lead. He’s only three, right? It was a tough trip for him and he tried hard. He’s a nice horse.”

It was the latest impressive outing for Patches O’Houlihan.

Bred and owned by Frank Di Giulio, Jr., the sprint star debuted last September and won in style, a 4 ½-length victory at 5 ½ furlongs on the Tapeta. After a sixth on the turf in the Bull Page, he came back with an eye-catching 9 ¾-length romp at 5 ½ panels over the Tapeta in his 3-year-old debut in May.

After another win over the same distance and same surface, Patches O’Houlihan stepped up to the stakes ranks and took the Lake Huron (on the inner turf) on July 8 and the Lake Superior on July 30.

“I’ve got to give Frank a lot of credit,” said Tiller. “We test each other. It’s like a marriage. At the end of the day, this is a super good horse. I don’t want to say he’s a (multiple stakes and Sovereign Award champion, and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee) Pink Lloyd, but he’s a super good horse. This is a big thrill for me.”

Sporting a record of 6-0-0 from seven starts, all at Woodbine, Patches O’Houlihan, who went off as the 2-1 choice, paid $6.30 for Sunday’s win. Flag of Honour (AUS) was scratched. ​ ​

In other Sunday stakes action, Airosa, trained by Kevin Attard, took the $125,000 Catch A Glimpse Stakes Presented by Bulova and Peoples.

Sent off at 5-2 in the 6 ½-furlong turf race for 2-year-old fillies, the dark bay daughter of Uncle Mo-Mrs. Hudson and jockey Rafael Hernandez found daylight along the rail at the furlong marker and stormed home for a one-length victory.

The final time over a “firm” E.P. Taylor turf was 1:14.68.

Owned by X-Men Racing 3, StarLadies Racing, Madaket Stables LLC and SF Racing LLC, Airosa finished fourth in her debut over the Woodbine Tapeta in June and broke her maiden next time out, a two-length score at 6 ½ furlongs over “good” going on the E.P. Taylor.

The dark bay, bred by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc., paid $7.80 for the win.

Golden Canary, under Sahin Civaci, battled for the lead early and then dug in late to best stablemate Dancing Duchess to break her maiden in style in the $125,000 Soaring Free Stakes Presented by OLG.

Cross-entered in the filly equivalent Catch A Glimpse, Golden Canary, who was supplemented to both stakes, emerged on top after an early scramble and then fended off a hard-charging Dancing Duchess by a neck. Rhapsody was third and Bucyk finished fourth.

The final time for 6 ½ furlongs over a “firm” E.P. Taylor Turf was 1:15.47.

Owned by Gary Barber and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro-Black Canary has one win and a second from two starts.

Trained by dual hall of famer Mark Casse and bred in Kentucky by Bonne Chance Farm, LLC, Golden Canary paid $17.10 for the win.

Golden Canary and jockey Sahin Civaci winning the Soaring Free Stakes on August 20, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)


Airosa and jockey Rafael Hernandez winning the Catch a Glimpse Stakes on August 20, 2023 (Michael Burns Photo)