Skye High

It was a day of firsts at Woodbine on Friday as the thoroughbred racing schedule begins to heat up at the Rexdale, Ontario, racetrack.

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The day’s first race saw the chestnut filly Niigon’s Princess give trainer Ian Black his first win of the year with Skye Chernetz aboard, taking her only first place finish of the day. Chernetz, below bolting out of the eighth spot in race one, came close in the sixth race with a second place finish.

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One of a number of female jockeys making their mark at the Woodbine track, Chernetz won 14 times in the last six weeks of 2012 which brought her total to 24 wins.

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The win aboard Niigon’s Princess on Friday brings to five the total wins for Chernetz so far in this, her sophomore year. Below, Mike Lewers handles the reigns as Velore Wright high-fives Chernetz before arriving in the Woodbine winner’s circle.

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And there was also a big hug for horse trainer Ian Black as well as a huge smile as Chernetz headed back to the jockeys’ room.

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In other action, veteran rider Patrick Husbands, below, made it two wins in a row for horses starting on the outside as he took Karida to a win in the second race.

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And Tyler Pizarro uses whip down the backstretch as he urges D’wildbill to hang on to the lead as Native Gold, 6, pushes hard for the win in the third race.

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Racing photographer Michael Burns takes a few photos of the winning ride in the winner’s circle.

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Sean Gault, senior manager of thoroughbred racing surfaces, checks out the E.P. Taylor turf track, below.

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And although there were a number of empty seats in the huge Woodbine grandstands on Friday, there will be standing room only for the 154th running of the prestigious Queen’s Plate July 7th as Canadian three-year-old thoroughbreds compete in the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

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