Dreaming of Drew (inside) and Patrick Husbands leave their mark on Opening Day winning the Long Branch Stakes at Woodbine. (Michael Burns Photo)
Ontario Bred, Dreaming of Drew showed no sign of rust in taking the $112,000 Long Branch Stakes, a 5 ½-furlong Tapeta sprint for filles and mares, four-year-olds and up, on Saturday, opening day of the 2022 Woodbine Thoroughbred meet.
The WinStar Farm product, was making her first start since a sensational score in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes on October 31, 2020, Dreaming of Drew, under Patrick Husbands, dug in gamely to notch a neck win over a determined Jeanie B (GB) in the day’s featured race.
Trained by Barbara Minshall for owners Hoolie Racing Stable LLC and Madaket Stables LLC, the four-year-old daughter of Speightster-Dreaming Of Liz won her third race and notched her second straight stakes victory in her sixth lifetime start.
Dreaming of Drew broke sharply and tussled with Gulfstream regular Nikee Kan for early control of the Long Branch. The frontrunning duo took the six-horse field through an opening quarter of :21.74, while Jeanie B and Our Secret Agent sat third and fourth, respectively.
Sent off as the 5-2 second choice behind 3-5 Our Secret Agent, Dreaming of Drew and Husbands continued to hold a slim advantage over Nikee Kan, as Jeanie B kept close tabs on the leaders.
Around the turn for home, Dreaming of Drew was engaged by a fast-charging Jeanie B, and the pair proceeded to duke it out down the lane, with the latter in front by a head at the stretch call.
At the wire, Dreaming of Drew battled back to earn the win in a brisk 1:02.99. Our Secret Agent was third.
Husbands, one of the most decorated Woodbine riders of all time, had given serious thought to calling it a career at the end of the 2021 season.
The multiple Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s champion jockey isn’t lamenting his decision to come back.
“Woodbine is my home, I love the people here and I love to ride here. I’m happy to be back here.”
Husbands is also happy to team up with Dreaming of Drew.
“I knew today it was going to take a really good horse to beat her. I wasn’t scared of any horse in the race.”
Despite the long time between races, Minshall expected a strong showing from one of her stable stars.
“She’s a really good filly. It was tight, but she’s so game that I knew she was going to run to the finish line. I knew she was fit enough. She’s just a really game filly. She’s not going to let them go by. I have to give Travis Durr in South Carolina big kudos because she just came up here a few weeks ago. He’s had her the whole time. They’ve done a great job getting her rehabbed and back ready to run.”
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