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10/26/08 - 'Just' in time in Labeeb

Emma-Jayne would like to thank Woodbine Entertainment


TORONTO, October 26 - Just Rushing closed strongly on the inside to claim victory in the $111,200 Labeeb Stakes.

The Sid Attard trainee collared Ice Bear two jumps from the finish line, recording a neck score over Ice Bear, under Emma-Jayne Wilson. Shadowless was third.

Just Rushing completed the one-mile turf event, over 'yielding' terrain, in 1:37.83.

A seven-year-old gelding owned by Tucci Stables, Just Rushing broke a touch slow from post one, but quickly advanced on the inside to contest the lead.

Heading into the turn, Just Rushing dropped back while third-place finisher Shadowless engaged front-running Ice Bear. By the quarter-pole, the Play the King winner was two lengths off the pace and under a furious Wilson drive to get back into the hunt.

After a stretch-long drive, Just Rushing put his nose in front late to garner his 14th lifetime victory from 31 starts. The tally increased his earnings to $958,019.

Just Rushing, who was third in the Woodbine Mile, returned $7.20, $4 and $2.90, combining with Ice Bear ($3.60, $2.80) for a $26.90 exactor. Shadowless ($5.20) rounded out a triactor worth $144.40. Fourth-place finisher French Beret completed a $1 superfecta worth $276.40.

Turf War and Society's Chairman were scratched.

10/19/08 - Tell It as It Is speaks volumes in Maple Leaf

Emma-Jayne would like to thank Woodbine and Michael Burns Photography.

TORONTO, October 19 - Tell It as It Is was up in the final jump to capture Sunday's $175,000 Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine.

The four-year-old Kentucky- bred filly, who is owned by the Cinnamont Stable and is trained by James Smith, tagged stubborn favorite Arden Belle in the shadow of the wire to prevail by a nose. Born to Be finished third.

Tell It as It Is, who also won the Tattling on June 18, traveled 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.99.

Winning pilot Emma-Jayne Wilson, who also won Saturday's Fanfreluche, settled the daughter of Chester House into sixth position early.

"I was trying to hold my position between two horses, going down the backside," said the Brampton resident. "I wasn't in a position to take back or go around. The horse in front of me started backing up. I squeezed her back and got her to the outside. I tapped her on the shoulder once and she jumped right back up on to the bridle. I figured she was going to run big."

Tell It as It Is won two of her six mounts in 2007. The bay filly has now won two of her six tries in 2008. Smith said expectations have been far greater this year.

"Last year, she went through the allowance conditions pretty easily. She's been running in all stakes races this year," explained Smith. "She's had some bad luck. It was tough when she lost by 2 1/4 lengths in the Dance Smartly. She had a horrible trip at Mountaineer. She vindicated herself today."

Now a five-time winner from 13 starts, Tell It as It Is elevated her career earnings to $356,622.

Tell It as It Is returned $9.20, $4.20, $2.80, combining with Arden Belle ($3.50, $2.60) for a $32.20 exactor. Born to Be ($3.60) rounded out a triactor worth $113.90.

Tell It as It Is prevails by a nose

Emma-Jayne would like to thank Woodbine and Michael Burns Photography.


11/18/09 - High Mist still high and mighty after Fanfreluche score

Emma-Jayne would like to thank Woodbine and Michael Burns Photography.


TORONTO, October 18 – High Mist, a daughter of Olmodavor, recorded her third win in as many starts, taking Saturday's $150,000 Fanfreluche Stakes at Woodbine, for her first added-money score.

With a patient Emma-Jayne Wilson in the irons, High Mist rated on the inside, just off pacesetters Deeveetee and Edamame, through opening splits of :23.23 and :45.82, before angling out around the final turn, then splitting rivals inside the final furlong.

The winning margin was 2 ½ lengths in a time of 1:09.78 over the Polytrack. Sans Sousi was second, while Edamame was third.

“I didn’t really know exactly what I was going to do with this filly until the gates opened,” said Wilson, who notched her first Fanfreluche win. “She was settled and she was relaxed. It worked out. Once I showed her some daylight, she took off. She’s a nice filly.”

High Mist entered the event for two-year-old fillies, foaled in Ontario, off a three-length win at 6 ½ furlongs on September 11 at Woodbine. She broke her maiden in impressive fashion on August 14, a 5 ¾-length romp at six panels, also on the Toronto oval’s Polytrack.

Trained by Reade Baker for N.C. Stable and Wendy Anderson, High Mist gave the conditioner his fourth Fanfreluche crown. Baker’s other winners came with Honoured One in 1996, Ruby Shoes in 2000 and Ontheqt in 2003.

”She’s a small horse with a big heart,” said assistant trainer Leroy Trotman.

Stranger Things and Feel Good Movie were scratched, reducing the field to four starters.

High Mist paid $3.70 and $2.20, combining with Sans Sousi ($2.80) for a $6.90 exactor. There was no show or triactor wagering available.

9/1/08 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY to EMMA-JAYNE - She celebrates with a stakes win!

Photo courtesy of WEG/Michael Burns Photography.

Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson celebrated her birthday in style, teaming with HEAD CHOPPER to take the Elgin Stakes, Monday at Woodbine.

TORONTO, September 1 - Head Chopper tallied his second consecutive win in taking Monday’s Elgin Stakes at Woodbine.

The Steve Owens trainee rallied strongly and was full of run through the stretch in the 1 1/16-mile contest over the Polytrack. The five-year-old son of Mutakddim was under the wire a 1 ¼-length winner in 1:43.59.

Mutuel favourite Dancer’s Bajan was second. Brigadier Rodney, who took the lead midway on the backstretch, finished third.

Owned by Camilla Farms, Buckaroo Stable and 1316096 Inc., Head Chopper was fifth of six runners through fractions of :24.45, :48.58 and 1:12.10. The chestnut, who was ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, finished third in last year’s Elgin.

“We got him to settle a little in behind the pace, just like we were working him in the morning,” said Wilson, who was celebrating her 27th birthday. “He gave me a middle move kick around the turn. I couldn’t believe it. I was catching Dancer’s Bajan pretty quick. I was pretty confident with how he was traveling. I knew he would be a pretty tough horse to catch.”

Head Chopper came into the race off a rallying half-length score at 1 1/16 miles on July 27.

7/27/08 - Artie Hot rides rail to Seagram victory

TORONTO, July 27 - Artie Hot bravely held off an all out challenge from True Metropolitan to capture Sunday's Grade 3, $151,200 Chinese Cultural Centre Seagram Cup Stakes at Woodbine.

The four-year-old son of Black Minnaloushe finished a half-length in front of two-time champion older male to give trainer Nick Gonzalez his sixth stakes win of the season at the Toronto oval.

Palladio finished third. Artie Hot traveled 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.30.

Artie Hot, who is owned by Tucci Stables, settled into a stalking position at the rail and bided his time behind the tepid, but contested pace (:24.62 and :48.51) established by True Metropolitan and Jiggs Coz.

Mid-way through the second turn, the gelding angled inside a tired Jiggs Coz and maintained his position on the rail as he continued to advance, into the stretch. With quick strides, Artie Hot began to reel in True Metropolitan and drew even with the star Terry Jordan pupil inside the final furlong.

Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson said winding up in a stretch tussle to the inside of 18-time winner True Metroplitan wasn't her first choice of trips.

"The opportunities were where they were and I didn't have much of a choice," said Wilson. "When True Metropolitan did move off the fence, I figured this was my opportunity to get a jump on him and get moving.

"Ideally, I didn't want to get stuck on the inside of True Metropilitan - to be at his mercy down on the rail," added Wilson. "He looked Artie Hot in the eye. It was a battle of wills. Artie did what he does best. He stuck his nose out in front when it mattered."

Assistant trainer Martha Gonzalez said surface and fitness made all the difference for Artie Hot.

"Artie is a much better Polytrack horse than turf horse. Through lack of races, we had to run him on the turf. As you see, he's happy to be back on his own surface," said Gonzalez. "He's finally been able to get two and three races together. Previously, we were only able to run him once a month or once every five weeks. Now, he's fit and ready and in good order."

Now a five-time winner from 27 starts, Artie Hot increased his earnings to $343,562. The Kentucky-bred is now a two-time stakes winner, having captured the Ontario Derby last September.

The Gonzalez stable is now one Woodbine stakes win away from equaling its total for the entire 2007 meet.


7/12/07 - Secret Getaway lands Toronto Cup victory


TORONTO, July 12 - Illinois invader Secret Getaway captured his second straight Woodbine stakes event in Saturday's $150,000 Toronto Cup Stakes.

The chestnut colt rallied from off the pace and opened up impressively in the last furlong to defeat runner-up Barreling Home and third-place finisher Marlang.

Owned by Sand and Cee Stables and trained by Michael Stidham, Secret Getaway travelled 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.54.

The Toronto Cup was the first career turf start for the Skip Away colt, who is based at Arlington Park.

The Kentucky-bred raised his earnings to $228,006. He is now 4-for-6 lifetime.

In striking range early, jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson allowed her mount to settle on the backstretch. On the turn, she bided her time while Marlang and Barreling Home dueled for the lead.

In the stretch, Secret Getaway reeled in the leaders and drew off impressively in the final furlong.

"As we turned for home, I had a good line down the lane. We made the lead a little sooner than I would have liked. His ears were up. He was looking at everything. He finished strong and gave me everything he had," said Wilson.

Wilson also partnered the son of Skip Away during his Victoria Park Stakes score on June 8. She said she's not certain which surface the colt prefers more.

"He ran tremendous today, but he also had a really good effort on the Poly," offered Wilson. "Time will tell."

6/18/08 - A happy tale for Tell It as It Is in the Tattling

TORONTO, June 18 – Tell It as It Is, a bay daughter of Chester House, rallied strongly in the stretch and sprinted away from her rivals to take Wednesday evening’s $100,000 Tattling Stakes, at Woodbine.

Under Emma-Jayne Wilson, Tell It as It is sat off the early pacesetters in the 1 1/16-mile turf feature before unleashing a strong turn of foot down the lane, en route to a 3 ¼-length score.

Sans Souci Island, also a daughter of Chester House, was second, while longshot Charity Quest finished third.

The final time for the race over a ‘yielding’ E.P. Taylor Turf was 1:45.27.

“It was a surface that she liked and you can see by her performance that she enjoyed herself,” said Wilson, who was aboard the four-year-old Kentucky-bred for back-to-back scores on October 25 and November 10 of last year.

Tell It as It Is came into the Tattling off a tenth-place finish in the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes on May 31, the bay’s seasonal debut.

This time, however, the Cinnamont Stable charge was much the best in taking her third turf score from five starts on the grass.

“She had a great ride and a fabulous trip,” said winning conditioner James Smith. “Emma had an awful lot of confidence in this filly and she always has. She ran her race today.”

Last year, Tell It as It Is won two of her six starts. Overall, she has four triumphs in 10 career races.

6/08/2008Secret Getaway finds paradise in Victoria Park


TORONTO, June 8 – Secret Getaway captured his first stakes triumph with a three-quarter length win in Sunday’s $150,000 Victoria Park Stakes at Woodbine.

The chestnut son of Skip Away is trained by Michael Stidham and was ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, who will team up with Lady d’Wildcat in the Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, later this afternoon.

The Kentucky-bred completed the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack event in 1:51.11, defeating Catch Air, who had a sizable advantage heading into the final turn.

Owned by Sand and Cee Stable, Secret Getaway was patiently handled by Wilson. The colt seized command late and won his third consecutive race, after triumphs at Canterbury Park last August and most recently, a win, via disqualification, at Keeneland on April 24.

Wilson said Secret Getaway was eager early on.

“Early in the race, he broke so sharply and he wanted to go,” said Wilson. “His ears were straight up. He had his game face on. He was ready to do some business. He settled down and he was in good position.”

The three-year-old, bred by Parrish Hill Farm, now has three wins and one second from five starts.

“Off his pedigree, we figured a mile and an eighth shouldn’t be problem,” said assistant conditioner Hilary Pridham. “He’s bred for it and he’s got a big, long stride. He’s a big, solid horse. You always wonder when you’ve never tried two turns before how they’ll handle it, but we were hoping he would and he did.”

Secret Getaway returned $17.60, $7.90, $4.80, combining with Catch Air ($12.50, $6.20) for a $132.30 exactor. Discreet Commander ($6.10) rounded out a triactor worth $1,166.20. Mutuel favourite Bonanza was fourth.

4/19/08 - Rumbling Cloud thunders to Woodstock score

TORONTO, Veronica Attard's Rumbling Cloud notched his first added-money win with a courageous score in the $150,000 Woodstock Stakes, Saturday at Woodbine.

The Sid Attard trainee, who came into the Woodstock off a fourth-place finish in his three-year-old debut on April 5, Opening Day at the Toronto oval, was sent off at 8-1 in the six-furlong race that attracted six starters.

Emma-Jayne Wilson, who has been aboard Rumbling Cloud in five of his starts, took the colt to the lead at the break in the 110th running of the event.

She guided the Florida-bred through opening splits of :23.54 and :47.22. Around the final turn, heavy favourite Carson's Legacy engaged Rumbling Cloud and the pair began a heated duel down the stretch.

But Rumbling Cloud, bred by Gail Gee, wasn't to be denied, crossing the wire a three-quarter-length winner, after being headed momentarily. He stopped the tele-timer in 1:11.46 over the Polytrack.

A bay son of Cloud Hopping, Rumbling Cloud notched his third win from 11 starts.

"I handicapped the race and it looked like we were going to be the lone speed," said Wilson, who celebrated her first Woodstock triumph. "He showed tremendous tenacity down the lane. "He's shown those kind of guts in the past. Last time he ran, we were boxed in a little."

Attard, who won the Woodstock with Like Mom Like Sons last year, was glad to see Rumbling Cloud did deep in the final yards.

"We nominated him, but we played it by ear," said Attard, who claimed the horse in 2007. "If it was a short field, we'd take a shot. If we got third money, we'd be happy."

As for the two weeks between Rumbling Cloud's races, Attard noted, "We always see how they come back and how they are training after the race. He didn't run too hard last time. It was a bit too short for him (five furlongs) last time.

Wilson's suggestion of an agent has merit in cutthroat environment

Emma-Jayne Wilson may not have troubled the scorers during her stint here, but the Canadian jockey certainly raised an interesting issue when she talked about wanting her agent if she came again.

Ever since retained riders ceased to be the engagement of choice in Hong Kong, the topic of agents or managers for jockeys has been the elephant in the room - impossible not to notice, but nobody likes to ask.
In other, busier jurisdictions jockeys may be riding five or six days a week and simply don't have time to look at myriad entries and make calls to dozens, even hundreds of trainers they might never have met.
Turning up to ride work and races is their full-time occupation. By comparison, riders here do have plenty of time and access to information to get a grasp of the limited number of horses and their abilities and requirements. But, for new jockeys trying to get a toehold, that is balanced by their unfamiliarity with the environment and the cutthroat nature of that environment.

Racing in Hong Kong sets up very differently to the places most of the jockeys come from - Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. If horses run badly for several starts there, they don't drop a class and suddenly have a chance again. They get retired, or sold, or worse.

The system isn't altogether obvious at first glance and, by the time the penny starts to drop, a jockey may be months into a contract and too late to rescue the situation. Current riders have squatter's rights - they are on the spot, know how it works and are thus better placed to look for the best rides and the new kids are left to squabble over crumbs. It's one of the reasons why the personnel changes are so limited even over a number of years - new riders come and go quickly but the establishment of new stars happens rarely.

Yes, it's always difficult in the big league. That's life.

But there are occasions where even the established riders have background help via opinions from people who study racing form and the question Wilson has touched on is whether new riders should be forced to begin off a handicap in the strange environment with all that arrayed against them.

Historically, it simply wasn't an issue. Jockeys came to ride for a trainer and the trainer was their guide - just as sometimes a trainer now will adopt a new rider and help them over the hurdles.

With respect to Dwayne Dunn - who fully earned his rewards with high quality, consistent riding - you have to wonder if he would have ever got going at all without the strong support of David Hayes, who knew his ability in Adelaide, despite that city being second-tier racing in Australia. Likewise, Michael Rodd had John Moore to thank in part for the support that got him started and Chris Munce made good work of Douglas Whyte's offcuts for John Size to get himself started.

But if that doesn't happen, it's a difficult and frustrating place. It's hard to imagine now, but Brett Prebble's first Hong Kong stint was the epitome of that nightmare. Until that breakthrough Champions & Chater win on Precision a week before his season finished with injury in a five-horse fall, Prebble had 122 rides for two wins in 2-1/2 months and both winners were like most of his rides - good odds.

He rode beautifully from day one but wasn't able to carry them.

He didn't know the system, didn't have a sponsoring trainer and became stuck in the swirling downhill slide of poor mounts, no winners and poorer mounts. But for the stroke of sheer luck that put him on Precision that day, he would have been lost to Hong Kong racing, instead of becoming one of its dominant players.
Culturally, the idea of jockey agents is likely seen as risky as it places another interested party between the jockey and the connections of horses.

And, it goes without saying that brings betting activities onto the radar screen.

Agents would need to be licensed, their betting would need to be outlawed or monitored and subject to rules and constraints.

And then there is the suitability issue - Wilson said she would like to have her Canadian agent here and that may be comfortable for her but not the ideal, as he would be just as unfamiliar with the new environment.
Yes, there are layers of difficulties associated with it, but the path ahead for securing jockeys stands at an interesting point.

Robbie Fradd will be back this Sunday to plug a gap because he fits all the criteria - he is good enough, he is known and liked by trainers and owners, he is available and he wants to be here. Not many jockeys in the world satisfy all of those criteria and the first and last often cancel each other out, given the difficulties and discouragements involved in getting established.

The fact that jockey agents have not existed in Hong Kong is, as we said earlier, linked with the former culture of stable riders, but retained jockeys are becoming rarer than singing dinosaurs and that old support structure for new jockeys is gone.

We aren't saying that having agents would be an automatic path to making every jockey competitive, it wouldn't. But it would help equip them for the battle when they land and the idea might even have relevance in assisting to build better communication between current riders and trainers across language barriers.

Jennifer Morrison
Freelance Writer and Handicapper
Brampton, Ontario

Wilson cops another first for women

Jan 28, 2008 04:30 AM

Canadian jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson, who last year became the first woman rider to win the Queen's Plate, has become the first North American female jockey to be granted a licence to ride in Hong Kong.

The 26-year-old from Brampton will travel to Hong Kong tomorrow and will be eligible to accept riding engagements starting Feb.2 at the Sha Tin racecourse.

The riding licence, granted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, is valid through April 2. Wilson will return to Canada for the beginning of the Woodbine meeting April 5.

"To have this opportunity to go over there and compete for two months is amazing," said Wilson from her current base at Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans.

"I can't get over it."

Wilson rode in the Hong Kong International Jockey Challenge in early December, and expressed an interest in returning next year.

"After my experience at the Jockey Challenge it was always an idea for me to go back there," said Wilson. "I left it in (the Hong Kong Jockey Club's) court. But I didn't think it would happen so soon."

According to a story in the South China Morning Press, Hong Kong officials were "highly impressed with Wilson when she rode at Happy Valley in the Hong Kong International Jockey Challenge."

Wilson, who finished second in Woodbine rider standings last season in her first full year as a journeyman rider, is ready for the challenge.

"Their racing is very, very clean," said Wilson.

"There are more rules there than in North America. There will be a lot to learn, but it will broaden my horizons and hopefully make me a better rider."