Kawartha Downs’ followers will recognize many of the horses and horse people competing at Woodbine tomorrow night including a quartet from the Murray Brethour barn. In addition to racing four horses on the evening program, Murray will also start a pair of rookie fillies making their first career starts in a qualifying race prior to the start of the race card.
Consistently one of Kawartha Downs’ top trainers, Murray will see his three-year-old filly Big Chute the first one out of the paddock to race on Thursday night as she has post one in the first race with Sylvain Filion slated to steer.
The filly is the first foal from Bon Ton Hanover who started and ended her career at Kawartha Downs for Murray and owner/breeders Jeff Ruch and Dean Lockhart. Her daughter also earned her first charted line at the Fraserville oval making a pair of qualifying starts last year at two. She’s been off since the spring and won her qualifier last week at Woodbine.
Staring alongside her in post two is another sophomore miss quite familiar to Kawartha fans in Doug Hie’s Britches Say What who raced just about every week during KD’s 2017 racing season. Hie also starts another KD regular, Olliestrikesfame, in the fourth race on the card.
In the second race the royally bred Labero leaves from post eight for trainer Randy Van Meer who qualified the three-year-old Kadabra son at Kawartha in early June. The gelding is the fifth foal of the top trotting mare Creamy Mimi ($929,000) and a brother to $679,000 winner French Laundry. Also competing in that race is Cindy Horner’s Muscle Museum, another regular performer at KD this year.
In race three Brethour’s second starter of the night is Wesmont, the five-year-old gelding who has finished a close second in his last two starts at the Toronto track. Phil Hudon is scheduled to once again steer the trotter who captured the Billyjojimbob trot on Kawartha’s Titans of Trotting night in September. That victory was especially poignant as Murray drove the late great Hall of Fame trotter Billyjojimbob and was also in the bike for Wesmont’s win in the race named in his honour.
Murray’s other starters include Gillys Boy in race four and Burlington in the eighth race. That race also includes Zebs Abbey, a former member of Murray’s barn and a winner at Kawartha on the closing night of racing in 2017.
Murray’s pair in qualifiers are both two-year-old fillies making their first lifetime starts. The Big Jim miss Birch Island Betty is owned and bred by Kirk Thomas of Havelock and she’s drawn post three in the fifth of six qualifying tests of the day. Alongside in post four is her stablemate Dionne, a Sportswriter homebred for Geis Enterprise of Chicago.
Kawartha fans will also recognize St Lads Captain in the fourth race. The three-year-old Mach Three gelding won several times this year at KD for trainer and co-owner Wilf Perrault.
Per Henriksen, one of KD’s OHHA representatives, sends out Xanthos in race two. John Bax and Dagfin Henriksen, both former regulars at KD, each have a pair of starters entered on Thursday as well. Post time is 7:30.