By Woodbine Communications/ Chris Lomon

TORONTO, October 25, 2023 – Junior Hot Shot steps into the stakes spotlight for the first time in Saturday’s $100,000 Frost King at Woodbine.

The son of Souper Speedy-Executive Dreamer arrives at the 6 ½-furlong Tapeta event for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds off a dazzling debut on October 1 at Woodbine.

Under Justin Stein, aboard again for the Frost King, the John Ross trainee, sent on his way as the 9-5 choice in the 6 ½-furlong Tapeta maiden optional claiming race, hit the gate on the break but recovered quickly to dictate the pace.

Ahead by four lengths at the stretch call, Junior Hot Shot glided to the wire under a hand ride to record a 6 ½-length victory in a time of 1:15.81.

“I never get too cocky with any of my horses, but I knew for a long time that when this horse ran, he was going to be ready,” said Ross. “I put on my suit because I knew we were going to get our picture taken. I said to everyone, ‘I love this guy today.’ All the signs were there. When Justin came back to the winner’s circle, he said, ‘You’ve got yourself a racehorse on your hands.’ The way the horse opened up down the lane with that beautiful stride he has was great to watch.”

The dark bay, who was RNA at the 2022 Canadian Premier Yearling Sale for owner and breeder T and T Racing, impressed Ross from the outset.

“We took a lot of time with him this spring,” said Ross, who will also send out Garofoli, fresh off a maiden-breaking score on October 6. “He’s a gorgeous horse. I like the Souper Speedy ones quite a bit. To me, he is one of the finer Ontario-sired stallions around right now. So, when we got this horse, he was beautiful, but he needed time to grow into himself. When the growth plates in his knees closed, we started breezing him nice and easy. Each time we did, he impressed us and showed a lot of ability. But it was also his character that stood out. He does everything so cool. He is absolutely gorgeous, with the beautiful bone he has throughout his body, shoulder and back end.”

The colt has reminded Ross, who eclipsed the 600-win mark for his career this year, of a past star in his barn.

Go Greeley, a son of Horse Greeley-Orchids Halo, was a multiple stakes winner over a prosperous 29-race career.

“The build of Junior Hot Shot is just like Go Greeley, with that strong, sturdy build. I’m a conformation freak and these two are quite similar in look.”

Junior Hot Shot, noted Ross, has lived up to his name so far.

“We feel good about him. Things have gone very well with him. I couldn’t wait to enter him in the race. He worked in a minute flat (October 20) and that was breezing in company with a nice horse that I have. I feel confident in the way he looks and acts and how he is feeling. He’s the first one crying for his feed after a workout. You have the horses might be a little tired for a day or two after they race, but this guy, he has got some toughness inside of him.”

Oniel McIarty is the groom.

Other starters include No More Options, who broke his maiden in his most recent start, and Siesta Beach, a Michael Doyle trainee who has posted consecutive wins.

Frost King won stakes races in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta and competed at many of the leading tracks in the U.S., winning stakes at Keeneland and Chicago’s Sportsman’s Park and placing in major events in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Michigan. In 1981, at age 3, Frost King represented Canada in the inaugural running of the Japan Cup, finishing second. He was Canada’s champion 3-year-old in 1981 and the following year was named Horse of the Year, champion grass horse and older horse. During a 55-start career, he was never worse than third on 40 occasions. Of his 27 victories, 21 came in stakes races.

The South Ocean is scheduled as Race 10 on Saturday’s 11-race card. The Frost King goes as Race 8. First post time is set for 1:15 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through, bet365 and the Dark Horse Bets app.

$100,000 Frost King (Race 8)

1 – Garofoli – Luis Contreras – John Ross

2 – Junior Hot Shot – Justin Stein – John Ross

3 – Hatmaker Gizmo – Patrick Husbands – Josie Carroll

4 – No More Options – Kazushi Kimura – Zeljko Krcmar

5 – Yacht Boy – Rafael Hernandez – Norm McKnight

6 – Olivia Rose – Eswan Flores – Mark Casse

7 – Siesta Beach – Sahin Civaci – Michael Doyle