Plenty of Can-Con for 2017 Breeders’ Cup
Thursday, October 26, 2017

TORONTO, October 25 – The following is an early look at the Canadian-connected horses for the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, set for Del Mar Racetrack, in California,Friday, November 3, and Saturday, November 4.

The pre-entries for the $28-million event were announced Wednesday.

Canadian-bred horses among the 187 pre-entries in the lucrative Breeders’ Cup include Woodbine-based Ami’s Mesa (Filly & Mare Sprint), Dixie Moon (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Wonder Gadot (Juvenile Fillies).  

Although not based at Woodbine, additional Canadian-bred horses headed to Breeders’ Cup include Heart to Heart (Mile), Flameaway (Juvenile Turf), Hemp Hemp Hurray (Juvenile Turf) and Ransom the Moon (Sprint).

Also shipping out to California from Woodbine is the Kentucky-bred Admiralty Pier who will try the Juvenile Turf for trainer Barb Minshall.

Ami’s Mesa, bred in Ontario by the Tall Oaks Farm of Ivan Dalos, is perfect through four starts in 2017 including Grade 3 victories in the Ontario Matron and Seaway Stakes as well as a sharp length score last time out in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters.

Although unraced on dirt, trainer Josie Carroll is optimistic Ami’s Mesa will transfer her talents to the Del Mar surface.

“She’s impressed me all year to tell you the truth. She’s just a very good filly,” said Carroll. “We’ve been thinking about it (Breeders’ Cup) for a little while and after the Presque Isle race it showed she could travel and hold her own away and that made the decision a little easier for Mr. Dalos.”

The Filly & Mare Sprint will mark the first start on traditional dirt for Ami’s Mesa.

“She’s never raced on dirt so it’s unknown for me, but she’s worked equally well on both surfaces,” said Carroll.

Carroll has saddled two previous Breeders’ Cup starters including Careless Jewel (8th) in the 2009 Distaff and Leigh Court (5th) in the 2014 Filly & Mare Sprint.

Ami’s Mesa will breeze on Friday at Woodbine under Luis Contreras, who has the call in the Filly & Mare Sprint.


Dixie Moon, a Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry homebred daughter of Curlin-Dixie Chicken, will try her luck in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The talented chestnut graduated on debut before finishing second in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes to Breeders’ Cup rival Capla Temptress.  Dixie Moon came out of the Natalma to defeat the boys in the Cup and Saucer Stakes over 1 1/16-miles on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

“We’ve really liked her from the beginning and she’s shown to be a very nice horse,” said Day Phillips. “Eurico (jockey, da Silva) has been on her all summer and we were both really excited for her debut. 

“We hadn’t planned on going to the Natalma, but she had a really nice workout before the Natalma and we decided to go,” continued Day Phillips. “I was in Kentucky at the time of the race and watching her come down the lane she was starting to pull away a little and I was hoping the wire was a little closer than it was.”

In the Cup and Saucer, Dixie Moon shrugged off a field of 12 and would not be denied with an impressive front-running display.

“That’s a testament to where she is mentally. She’s maturing and getting better with racing,” offered Day Phillips.

Dixie Moon will mark the third Breeders’ Cup starter for Day Phillips who saddled A Bit O’Gold (13th) in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Classic and Van Lear Rose (6th) in the 2008 Juvenile Fillies.

A Breeders’ Cup win with Dixie Moon would be the cherry on top of what has been a remarkable season for the conditioner who has already notched a career-best 23 wins at Woodbine including six added-money scores.

“It’s the dream. It’s everybody’s dream that puts a saddle on a racehorse,” said Day Phillips. “To be in the Breeders’ Cup is amazing and to win it would be amazing for the owners that bred ‘Dixie’ and have the whole family. It’s three generations of Fitzhenry and would be very special for them.”

Dixie Moon will breeze five furlongs at Woodbine on Saturday before making the trek to Louisville on Sunday where she will catch a Monday flight to Del Mar.

“We don’t need to do anything fancy with her at this stage. She’s fit and works well enough without pressure. She’ll work five-eighths and then hopefully she’s good to go,” said Day Phillips.


Woodbine’s perennial leading conditioner Mark Casse will send out six Breeders’ Cup starters including starlet Wonder Gadot who was third in the Grade 1 Natalma before capturing the Grade 3 Mazarine over 1 1/16-miles on the Woodbine Tapeta in a blistering performance.

Wonder Gadot, bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms Inc., will square off against fellow Casse starters Heavenly Love and Gio Game in the Juvenile Fillies.

Flameaway, bred in Ontario by Phoenix Rising Farms, is a three-time winner from four starts including a last out nose victory in the off-the-turf Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes on a sloppy Keeneland main.  The Scat Daddy chestnut, out of Vulcan Rose, will try grass for the first time in the Juvenile Turf.  

The loaded Juvenile Turf field includes the top four finishers from Woodbine’s Summer Stakes led by Untamed Domain, Hemp Hemp Hurray, Admiralty Pier and Count Alexander.

Casse’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile champ, World Approval, will be among the favourites in the Mile.  The veteran conditioner will also be represented by Awesome Slew (Dirt Mile) and Holding Gold (Turf Sprint).


B.C. based owner-breeder Charles Fipke will be represented by Forever Unbridled in the Distaff.  

Ex-pat Canadian owner J. Paul Reddam has five starters including Encumbered (Juvenile Turf), Mopotism (Distaff), B Squared (Turf Sprint / Sprint), Frank Conversation (Mile / Turf), Bahamian (Juvenile) and Pavel (Classic).

B.C.-based owner Peter Redekop’s Armour Plate, a Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief, is among the pre-entries for the Juvenile Turf.


Also of note is the entry of Bullards Alley who was a romping 10 3/4-length winner of the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International. Javier Castellano has picked up the mount.

For a full release on the Breeders' Cup pre-entry announcement, click here:


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