Velvet Snow Fits Royal North at Woodbine

(from Woodbine report)
With two consecutive triumphs on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, Velvet Snow looks to extend her winning ways in the $167,550 Royal North Stakes (Can-III) for fillies and mares at six furlongs on a special Simcoe Holiday Monday card of racing at Woodbine.

"I honestly wasn't too sure on how she'd handle the turf," said regular work rider Corey Fraser, one of Canada's leading apprentice jockeys. "But the one thing she did do was finish up strongly."

Which is exactly what Frank DiGiulio's daughter of Noir Velours did in her first try on the Toronto oval's E.P. Taylor Turf Course on June 20.

Trained by Bob Tiller, the betting public let the chestnut get away at odds of 28-1. Velvet Snow ran the one-mile race as if she were a seasoned turfer, crossing the wire 1 ΒΌ lengths ahead of Sheer Enchantment for the victory.

That was followed by a win in the Ontario Damsel Stakes on July 10, Fraser's first added-money score. Although she didn't light up the toteboard quite as much as the time previous, the Ontario-bred produced another handsome payday for her backers after being sent off at odds of nearly 11-1.

While the victories were different in terms of the filly's running style, Fraser has plenty of faith Velvet Snow can get the job done regardless of how the race unfolds.

"I trust her," offered the Niagara Falls native. "She's won both ways (close to the pace and from off of it). In the Damsel, she broke well, but she didn't go with the rest of them. But I knew I had a lot of horse under me."

Facing her toughest competition to date in the Royal North, including the Mike Keogh-trained Hour of Justice and Alywow Stakes champion Sweet Problem, won't make their task easier. But the Ontario-bred and Fraser have shown they can raise the bar.

"She's pretty versatile. She shows up every time and does what ask her to do. She's improved every start."

$167,550 Royal North Handicap (Can-III), fillies & mares 3 & up, 6 furlongs on turf
PP / Horse / Jockey / Trainer
1 / Leading Role / Robert Landry / Gail Casselman
2 / Velvet Snow / Corey Fraser / Robert Tiller
3 / Pucker / Jerry Baird / Kathryn Ranford
4 / Hour of Justice / Todd Kabel / Mike Keogh
5 / With Patience / Jono Jones / Elizabeth Hendriks
6 / Sweet Problem / Lorne Richards / Jim McAleney
7 / Swift of Flight / Rui Pimentel / Mark Frostad
8 / Boozin' Susan / Emile Ramsammy / Michael Dickinson
9 / Glowing Breeze / Chris Decarlo / Graham Motion