Woodbine Communications/ Chris Lomon

TORONTO, August 24, 2023 – Rookie and sophomore Canadian Premier Yearling Sale graduates will step into the spotlight Sunday afternoon at Woodbine for a quartet of stakes races totaling $600,000 in purse money.

The annual Canadian Sales Stakes precedes the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s yearling sale (sponsored by OLG), held on Wednesday, August 30 at noon (ET) in the Woodbine Sales Pavilion.

$200,000 SIMCOE STAKES – for 2-year-old colts & geldings, foaled in Canada. 6 ½ furlongs on the Tapeta. Race 10

Trainer Steve Attard is hoping the third time is the charm for Brave Dancer.

A dark bay son of Frac Daddy-Audacious Bear, the colt has made two starts, neither one a smooth trip.

In his debut on July 16, Brave Dancer, leaving from the outside post 10, broke outwardly before settling four-wide and finishing fifth in the 5 ½-furlong Tapeta race on July 16.

“He was on the outside, so of course he had to break to the right,” said Attard. “Ryan [jockey, Munger] said that for the first part of the race he was just playing around and didn’t care about much. But the last sixteenth of a mile, it’s as though the horse said, ‘Okay, I’m going to run now.’ And then he took off. I was really happy with that first race.”

Last time out, on August 6, the dark bay was bumped at the break, raced nine-wide, but closed strongly to finish fourth, 2 ½ lengths back of the winner Jumbotron.

“I was even happier with that effort,” noted Attard. “He’s a good boy and I think he’s getting better every day. Everybody thought he could run a bit and the owner loves him, but for me, I hold my judgment until I see them run. I was very impressed with his first race, knowing what we knew about the horse and how things went. The second race, he was well back and just flew home on the outside. I’m expecting him to run well on Sunday and I think he’ll only get better as the races go longer.”

Attard is looking for a cleaner trip, before and during the race, for his good-feeling rookie.

“He’s a 2-year-old colt and he’s full of play,” said Attard. “I’m not saying he’s a studdish colt. He’s not mean or anything, but he’s a little boy who loves to play around. Going to the track and coming home, he’s a handful. Last time he ran, and I didn’t know this until after the race, when they were taking him to the track after we tacked him up, underneath the tunnel, he dropped Ryan. He was just playing around. But when he’s on the track, then he’s more business. I like him. He’s a very happy camper.” ​

Brave Dancer came to the Attard barn as a $13,000 (US) purchase at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.

Monica Knowland is the groom.

Other starters include first-timer starter Stud Muffin, trained by Bill Tharrenos for owner Bull and Bear Racing Stable.

The son of Good Samaritan-An Absolute Ten has had a steady work tab leading up to his debut, including a five-furlong breeze over the Tapeta in 1:00.00 on August 19.

“He’s a nice colt. He was down south at Webb Carroll in South Carolina, and he got up to me a couple of months ago. He’s really progressed impressively. He worked out of the gate with a 2-year-old (Meko Makee) that I won with this past Saturday, and he didn’t keep up like I thought he would. But this week, he worked and left two of my others in the dust. So, a lot of good things going on.”

Stud Muffin, bred by Tabitha Lee, was a $20,000 CDN ($15,276 US) purchase at the 2022 CTHS Canadian Premier Yearling Sale.

Jerry Goodmen is the groom.


Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Stud Muffin – Gary Boulanger – Bill Tharrenos

2 – Adesso – Emma-Jayne Wilson – John Mattine

3 – My Boy Prince – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

4 – Bearing Down – Jose Campos – Philip Hall

5 – Yacht Boy – Rico Walcott – Norm McKnight

6 – Jumbotron – Daisuke Fukumoto – Sid Attard

7 – Call for Locates – Eswan Flores – Ravendra Raghunath

8 – Summer Commander – Rafael Hernandez – Stuart Simon

9 – Valyrian Sky – Kazushi Kimura – John Ross

10 – Brave Dancer – Ryan Munger – Steve Attard

11 – Garofoli – Luis Contreras – John Ross

$200,000 MUSKOKA STAKES – for 2-year-old fillies, foaled in Canada. 6 ½ furlongs on the Tapeta. Race 7

Jimmy’s Affair, trained by William Tharrenos for Natural Eight Stable and J & B Wright Racing Inc., will look to build off an impressive debut performance on July 15.

With Gary Boulanger in the irons, the daughter of Souper Speedy-Gerty’s Turn, sent off as the 4-5 choice, was sixth early in the 5 ½-furlong Tapeta race before powering to the front and going on to record a 3 ½-length score in a time of 1:05.28.

Tharrenos, who has carried his career-best form from 2022 into this year’s campaign, was pleased, but not surprised, by the poise displayed by Jimmy’s Affair. ​

“She ran a great race and finished with good style,” said the veteran conditioner, who posted a lifetime-best 36 wins and $1,049,418 (U.S.) in purse earnings last year. “Actually, I was expecting a little bit more from her, but it was still a nice effort. She’s going into the race lights-out.”

Purchased for $28,000 CDN ($21,386 US), Jimmy’s Affair caught Tharrenos’ eye in the leadup to the 2022 CTHS Canadian Premier Yearling Sale.

“She’s a big, strong filly,” said of the filly bred by Northern Dawn Stables Inc., Brian Patterson and Kathy Biers. “We liked her a lot.”

Gary Boulanger will once again be in the irons.

“He has a lot of experience and is one of the best 2-year-old riders out there,” said Tharrenos. “I’m hoping all of that adds up to another big performance on Sunday.”

Sherri Wickett is the groom.

Tharrenos, who won the 2010 Muskoka with Lucky Be Me and the 2015 running with Shake Down Baby, will also send out Get My Drift.

A bay daughter of Palace-Crafty Broad, the bay filly was fourth in her debut, a 5 ½-furlong Tapeta race on July 15.

“She had a little bit of a tough trip,” said Tharrenos. “She blew the break. She ended up running a good fourth and I had to be happy when you consider she didn’t get a fair shake. She’s training very well and has lots of good tactical speed. I can’t complain about her. I think she will run well.”

Bred in Ontario by Spring Farm, Get My Drift is owned by Natural Eight Stable, Alan Alber and Robert Shultz. She was an $18,000 CDN ($13,748 US) purchase at the 2022 CTHS Canadian Premier Yearling Sale.

Tharrenos is hopeful he can earn his third Muskoka win.

“I’m looking forward to a big day. I’m excited, but a lot can happen before the race. I just left the barn and made sure these fillies and all our horses are doing well. Hopefully, they both have a big race in them.”

Barry Sterling is the groom.


Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer

1 – Red Eleanor – Jeffrey Alderson – Angus Buntain

2 – Princess Jade – Ryan Munger – Patrick Dixon

3 – Soul Journey – Luis Contreras – Ravendra Raghunath

4 – Saucy Name – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard

5 – Blue Tango – Justin Stein – Harold Ladouceur

6 – Vandoo – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard

7 – You Be the Judge – Sofia Vives – Steve Owens

8 – Hurricane Clair – Sahin Civaci – Martin Drexler

9 – Different Drum – Jose Campos – Stuart Simon

10 – Jimmy’s Affair – Gary Boulanger – Bill Tharrenos

11 – Get My Drift – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Bill Tharrenos

First race post time for Sunday’s 11-race card is 1:05 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on the races through HPIbet.com, Bet365 and the Dark Horse Bets app.

Brave Dancer in the Woodbine backstrech