Northern Passion makes his first 2013 start in the Whimsical Stakes.

Northern Passion makes his first 2013 start in the Whimsical Stakes.

Michael Burns

Northern Passion Starts Season in Whimsical

Last spring's Woodbine Oaks runner-up one of two entrants by Mark Casse April 28.

Absent since a runner-up effort in last spring's Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, Northern Passion returns in the $150,000 Whimsical Stakes (Can-III) April 28, the first graded stakes of the 2013 season at Woodbine.

Northern Passion is one of two in the race for trainer Mark Casse, along with Sisterly Love. Both were $3,000 supplemental entries to the Whimsical, which attracted a field of nine older fillies and mares. The contest, race 8 on the program with a 4:44 p.m. EDT scheduled post, is at six furlongs over Woodbine's Polytrack.

John Oxley's 4-year-old Northern Passion rallied from eighth with three furlongs to run to miss by three-quarters of a length to Irish Mission in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks June 3. She won the seven-furlong Fury Stakes at Woodbine in her prior start as the odds-on choice and also captured the one-mile Natalma Stakes (Can-IIIT) on turf as a 2-year-old.



MOST WINS BY A HORSE: Prospective Dolly 3.

MOST WINS BY A JOCKEY: Dave Penna 6. Active – Patrick Husbands 3.

MOST WINS BY A TRAINER: Jerry Meyer 4, Yonnie Starr 4, Tony Mattine 4.

BIGGEST LONGSHOT WINNER (since 2007): Seductively (2007), paid $14.70 to win.

BIGGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY (since 2007): Seductively (2007), 2 1/4 lengths.

FASTEST TIME (since 2007): Wildcat Marie (2011) 1:09.11.

FACTOIDS: Prospective Dolly ran in the Whimsical four straight years (1991-1994) with three wins and a second.

Compiled by Gary Dougherty

The daughter of First Samurai  spent the winter and early spring in Florida at the Ocala Training Center and returned to Woodbine earlier this month from Keeneland. She has had one workout locally, breezing five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 April 20. A three-time winner from eight starts with earnings of $433,048, she'll be guided by regular pilot Luis Contreras from post 3 under co-high weight of 119 pounds.

Sisterly Love also recently returned to Woodbine from Keeneland and would be making her first start at the Toronto track for Casse. Owned by Gary Barber, the 5-year-old daughter of Bellamy Road  didn't debut until last October and won her first three starts in Florida.

She made her stakes debut running third in the Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston Race Park in January and was most recently fifth after an awkward beginning in the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) March 2 at Aqueduct Racetrack. Gary Boulanger has the call, and they break from post 2. Sisterly Love will add blinkers.

Also of interest is Distracting, formerly in the Bob Baffert barn in Southern California and now trained by Josie Carroll. The 4-year-old Distorted Humor  filly, owned by Hill 'n' Dale Farm and Edward McGhee, won three of seven starts for Baffert and was second in the Paseana Handicap in January.

In her most recent try, the chestnut filly was last of six after being bumped at the start and bobbling in the 6 1/2-furlong Las Flores Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park March 10. Patrick Husbands, a three-time winner of the Whimsical, has the mount.

Silent Serenity and Man Stuff were both stakes winners at Woodbine last year.

Trinity Racing Stables' Silent Serenity, now trained by Clint Abraham, won the Ruling Angel last October at odds of 36-1. she has been freshened since running last of five in Aqueduct's Interborough Stakes Jan. 1. Man Stuff, trained by Nicholas Gonzalez for Michael A. Coll and Martha K. Gonzalez, took the Sweet Briar Too last July but has been idle since a last-place effort in the Ruling Angel.

Gonzalez also entered Tucci Stables' Evil Kitten, a 4-year-old daughter of Kitten's Joy  making her seasonal bow as well.

$150,000 Whimsical Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:44 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Starship Universe (KY), J M Campbell, 115, N Gonzalez
2. Sisterly Love (KY), G Boulanger, 115, M E Casse
3. Northern Passion (ON), L Contreras, 119, M E Casse
4. Evil Kitten (ON), E R Da Silva, 117, N Gonzalez
5. Katie Get Excited (KY), J Stein, 115, R Griffith
6. Distracting (KY), P Husbands, 115, J Carroll
7. Acting Naughty (ON), T Pizarro, 115, D C MacRae
8. Man Stuff (KY), J V Bridgmohan, 119, N Gonzalez
9. Silent Serenity (KY), E Ramsammy, 119, C Abraham
Blinkers On: Sisterly Lover