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Woodbine T-Bred Record For McKnight

Published: December 18, 2018 10:46 am ET

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Woodbine Racetrack’s 2018 Thoroughbred meet is now in the books, and, lo and behold, a former Standardbred horseman re-emerged as the track’s leading trainer – this time in record-breaking fashion.

Woodbine’s 2018 Thoroughbred meet wrapped up with a 14-race program on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 16).

Taking the trainer and jockey meet titles, respectively, Norm McKnight and Eurico Rosa da Silva put the finishing touches on their record-breaking seasons during the closing weekend.

McKnight earned the training title for the second consecutive year while establishing a Woodbine meet record of 128 wins. Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, who had set the former record of 119 in 2011, topped the century win mark at Woodbine for the second time in his career, as he ended the season with 105 victories, including 21 stakes and a meet-leading $7.3 million in purses. Kevin Attard held his top-three position for the fourth year in a row with 55 wins.

In his Standardbred days, McKnight trained the winners of 230 races and more than $1.9 million in purses. In regard to his time in the sulky, the Mississauga resident steered his mounts to 1,476 wins and over $9.2 million in purses. McKnight has been away from harness racing for more than ten years, as the 62-year-old last trained and reined Standardbreds back in 2006.

Adding three wins on Sunday, Da Silva extended his record for most wins in a single Woodbine meet to 237. The Brazil native has topped the Woodbine jockey standings five times in his career. Da Silva, who recorded 29 stakes wins, also topped all jockeys for earnings with his mounts banking $10.9 million. He finished the 2018 season with a commanding lead over Rafael Hernandez (168 wins), Luis Contreras (119 wins), Gary Boulanger (93 wins) and teenage apprentice jockey Kazushi Kimura, who cracked the top five with 89 wins.

Chiefswood Stable was the leading money-winning owner of the meet with more than $2.5 million in purses. The stable’s 31 wins and six stakes were second-best in those respective categories to Bruno Schickedanz, who boasts 76 wins overall, and Ivan Dalos, who celebrated eight stakes successes.

Among the meet’s highlights, Gary Barber’s super filly Wonder Gadot gave Casse his second victory in the $1 million Queen’s Plate. The 60th running of the $1 million Canadian Triple Crown leg will headline the two-day Queen’s Plate Racing Festival next June 28-29, 2019. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.ca.

The 2019 Thoroughbred racing season will begin next spring on April 20 and includes 133 race days running through December 15.

(With files from Woodbine Entertainment)


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