By Chris Lomon/Woodbine Communications

TORONTO, December 17, 2023 – Kazushi Kimura earned his third consecutive Woodbine jockey crown courtesy of 161 wins over the 2023 meet.

Born in Hokkaido, Japan, Kimura joined the Woodbine jockey colony in 2018 and made an immediate impact. His first victory came aboard 70-1 longshot Tornado Cat, and his first stakes win came aboard Speedy Soul in the Muskoka. He finished that first season sixth in the standings with 89 wins.

The 2019 Eclipse Award winner as North America’s outstanding apprentice, Kimura also won the Sovereign Award equivalent in both 2018 and 2019. He was also the 2021 and 2022 Sovereign recipient as Canada’s outstanding rider.

This year, Kimura won 15 stakes, seven of them graded, at the Toronto oval, including a quartet of Grade 2 events (the Kennedy Road with Flag Of Honour (AUS); the Bessarabian with Loyalty; the Autumn with Wolfie’s Dynaghost; the Eclipse Presented by Don Julio with Treason).

“I am very grateful to all the trainers and owners who gave me an opportunity to ride so many great horses this year,” said the 24-year-old. “I’d like to thank the grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, gate crew, outriders, and everyone who makes our sport so great. And I would like to thank all the horses, the stars of our sport and the best athletes you will find.”

Sahin Civaci was second with 129 wins (15 of them stakes), followed by Rafael Hernandez, who posted 119 wins. Patrick Husbands led all riders with 16 stakes triumphs.

Mark Casse topped the trainer leaderboard for the 15th time courtesy of 113 wins.

Casse recorded 24 Woodbine stakes victories, 10 of them graded. A lifetime winner of over 3,640 races, the dual Hall of Famer inductee won the King’s Plate and Plate Trial with Paramount Prince. His graded scores included the E.P. Taylor (G1T) and Nassau (G2T) with Fev Rover (IRE), the Royal North (G2T) and Whimsical (G3) with Our Flash Drive, and the Highlander (G2T) with Lucky Score.

Martin Drexler was second courtesy of a career-best 86 Woodbine wins. Kevin Attard finished third with 71 wins.

Bruno Schickedanz, last year’s Sovereign winner as Canada’s top owner, led the way with 58 wins. It is the 10th straight year he has led Woodbine in victories.  

Patches O’Houlihan paced all horses at the meet with six wins, followed by Light the Lamp, who recorded five victories.   

Live Thoroughbred racing will return to Woodbine next spring.