By Woodbine Communications/ Chris Lomon

TORONTO, October 21, 2023 – Touch’n Ride crossed the wire second, but was placed first after Solo Album was disqualified in the $150,000 Ontario Derby (G3), on Saturday at Woodbine.

Solo Album, breaking from the outside post, Twin City, and Velocitor, who won the Prince of Wales Stakes – the middle jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown – vied for the early lead in the 1 1/8-mile Tapeta event for 3-year-olds, as slight 2-1 choice Touch’n Ride sat just off the trio into the first turn.

Twin City, with Emma-Jayne Wilson in the irons, had to check sharply into that first turn, as Solo Album crossed over to take command and then hold a 1 ½-length advantage over Velocitor through an opening quarter in :23.79.

It was Solo Album still on top through a half in :48.49, followed by Velocitor, Touch’n Ride and 5-2 second choice Stanley House, who had quickly moved from sixth into fourth.

As the nine-horse field entered the turn for home, Solo Album was still on top of the chart but found herself in the crosshairs of Touch’n Ride, who looked to reel her in but was unable to collar the filly.

Cool Kiss, at 25-1, arrived late on the scene, as did 34-1 Twowaycrossing.

Solo Album crossed the wire a length clear of Touch’n Ride, who was a further 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Cool Kiss. Twowaycrossing finished fourth.

The final time was 1:48.93.

Wilson and Twin City’s trainer Stuart Simon both claimed foul against Sahin Civaci, aboard Solo Album, which was accompanied by a stewards’ inquiry.

Solo Album was subsequently placed fifth while Twin City moved into fourth position. Forever Dixie, Stanley House, American Blaze and Velocitor rounded out the order of finish. Souper Blessing was scratched.

“When I checked in the program with a bunch of closers, but he has a natural speed from the beginning,” said winning jockey Kazushi Kimura. “I’m trying to stay close, and he did it today. Still, was too much pressure all the way, but he is a very nice horse. He tries so hard.”

The son of Candy Ride (ARG)-Niigon’s Touch, trained by Layne Giliforte for breeder and owner Chiefswood Stables, debuted this July at Woodbine and finished third. One race later, the bay gelding broke his maiden and then finished fifth in The King’s Plate on August 20.

Unraced at 2, Touch’n Ride, who arrived at the Ontario Derby off a sterling performance in the Breeders’ Stakes, the final jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown series, on October 1, is now 3-0-1 from five lifetime starts.

“I’m really proud of him,” said Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame jockey Robert Landry, now General Manager of Chiefswood Stables. “Earlier in the year, we didn’t even nominate him to the Triple Crown. He was a slow developer. In April, Layne and I watched him work together and I said, ‘We may have made a mistake not nominating him.’ You know, you’ve got to let the horses tell you and he did, and he ran a tremendous race. We’ll give him a little break now. He’s done a lot. We’ll give him a chance to get bigger and stronger and bring him back next year.”

Touch’n Ride paid $6.80 for the win.

Touch’n Ride and jockey Kazushi Kimura winning the Ontario Derby on October 21, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo).