Strait To Plate

Last time I went to Woodbine I won $1,000 on the quarter slots. That was about 10 years ago. So I suppose I was due for another win on Sunday when my wife and I went to the 153rd running of The Queen’s Plate at the big Etobicoke track.

This was my first trip to the prestigious race and there was no shortage of interesting photo ops. The horses, the hats….well, that was pretty much it.

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I wore jeans and a short-sleeve shirt. I figured I should at least feel comfortable when I lose my well-earned money betting on the races, unlike this well-dressed gentleman below.

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Here’s Eurico Rosa da Silva coming in from the track after riding seven-year-old Smokey Fire to a win in race number five. The Jim Dandy Stable gelding brought in $37.50 for the win.

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In the eighth race, Ramon Dominguez rides German 10-year-old Musketier to the lead and the win in a photo finish with Simmard.

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Woodbine’s setup allows race fans to get up close to the riders and horses prior to race time. The horses are walked about out front of the building and then riders mount and parade by on their way to the post.

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The main grandstands were mostly reserved seating, so I positioned myself as high as I could trackside near the finish line. I focused mostly on taking pictures this day, so I only brought enough money for a drink or two with my wife. I felt the last $10 in my pocket calling out a number. “Four,” it said. “Four.” Even though I didn’t have a race guide and didn’t know a horse from a gelding, I picked Canyon Farms’ number 4 horse, Strait of Dover, starting from the rail. “$10 on number four to win.”

Here’s a shot of my pick running down the stretch, winning the race leading wire to wire.

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Rush Hockey – Grace Under Pressure

Game five of the Stanley Cup playoffs wasn’t the only competitive hockey available yesterday. Three ice pads of the Powerade Centre were filled with participants of the Rush Hockey Super Series Part I, an elite women’s hockey event owned, operated, and run by Kelly Katorji.

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Katorji’s background is extensive: Ontario Hockey League Scout, Head of Central Scouting United States Hockey League, Advanced Scouting in Minor Pro Hockey (AHL), Director of Prospects Hockey North America’s Most Elite Hockey Showcase for Women, Head Coach Wilfred Laurier Women’s Hockey, Coach/Assistant Coach/Manager various Junior Men’s Hockey programs, numerous minor hockey coaching roles at various elite levels, consultation with minor hockey organizations, and more…

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The competitive level of hockey these women provide is impressive. Participants are NCAA, CIS, Team Canada, Team USA or Team Ontario players.

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Interestingly, team rosters are built mostly around individual players hailing from a large number of places across North America: McGill players team up with players from Brown and Middlebury; Boston College, Cornell and Ohio State women share a bench with Harvard and Northeastern skaters; and so on.

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For more information on the event, check out http://www.rushhockey.ca