Ironstone is taking journeyman trainer Willie Armata on a fantastic journey

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Thoroughbred coach Willie Armata was ecstatic, but in addition fearful, after his two-year-old colt Ironstone captured Friday’s $150,000 Clarendon Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack by an emphatic six lengths.


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“As a result of he ran so quick, I used to be fearful the cops could be ready for us by the tunnel and provides him a rushing ticket,” Armata stated with fun.

Ironstone has been one of many good tales on the Etobicoke oval this fall. Purchased in 2020 for a really modest $5,365, the son of Mr Speaker has created a serious the thrill at Woodbine.

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Previous to successful the 5½ furlongs Clarendon on Friday, Ironstone received the 6½ furlongs Simcoe Stakes on Aug 29 by a powerful 8½ lengths — marking again to again stakes victories for Armata, jockey Ademar Santos and homeowners Tequesta Racing and Jupiter Leasing.

As Armata chatted with the Toronto Solar simply contained in the west entrance at Woodbine on Saturday morning, various horse individuals walked by and supplied their congratulations.


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For Armata, having a horse like Ironstone is a dream come true. The Malton native has been coaching at Woodbine since 2007, establishing himself as a workmanlike coach, however with none large stars. Armata’s final stakes win previous to Ironstone successful the Simcoe this yr was when Daring Corky captured the Elegant ‘n Good Stakes in 2008.

So it has been a very long time coming and Armata is on prime of the world. And effectively he ought to be. After 14 years slugging it out and making an attempt to make a dwelling at Canada’s prime thoroughbred observe, Armata lastly has a horse that’s turning heads and, extra importantly, making large cash.

Ironstone has already pocketed near $200,000 this yr and good issues are anticipated in his three-year-old season subsequent yr.


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“I’ve been coaching plenty of backside claimers for a number of years. And I don’t thoughts coaching backside claimers, but it surely’s a special recreation when you’ve a extremely, very nice horse,” Armata stated. “It type of places you on the map and it advertises you for some attainable new homeowners down the highway.

“I’m nonetheless younger within the enterprise. I’m 39 years outdated and I’m hoping nonetheless to be an upcoming prime coach right here, like Kevin Attard. I take my hat off to Kevin Attard, he has plenty of horses and he’s very profitable and he works arduous,” Armata continued. “I hope to get there sooner or later like him.”

Like Attard, Armata was born into the racing recreation. His father Vito is a long-time prime coach at Woodbine with profession earnings of $19,327,175 and 759 wins.

“When highschool was over, it wasn’t college or school for me,” Armata stated. “It was 555 Rexdale Blvd.”


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Which, after all, is the tackle of Woodbine Racetrack.

The spotlight of his father’s profession was successful the 2002 Queen’s Plate with 80-1 longshot TJ’s Fortunate Moon. Willie remembers watching that race within the backstretch kitchen and the way excited he was. Successful Canada’s most prestigious horse race, like his dad, could be a lifelong dream come true for Armata. And that could be a actual risk now with Ironstone, although the gray colt has proven his class as a sprinter. The Queen’s Plate is run over 1 1/4 miles.

“We’re aiming for it, however you know the way it’s. When you’ve an excellent sprinter and then you definately need him to go lengthy, it’s two completely different tales as a result of the horse has acquired to have the ability to cool down going that far,” Armata stated. “He may very well be a Queen’s Plate contender, however I don’t wish to get too enthusiastic about that. I’m simply going to get pleasure from what I acquired proper now.


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“Subsequent yr we’ll begin specializing in whether or not he’ll be a Plate horse or not. I’m simply going to take child steps to get there.”

Armata has been requested if he’s aiming Ironstone in direction of the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8 mile race for two-year-olds, on Oct.30 at Woodbine. Due to the size, that received’t occur, however the personable coach stated it’s seemingly that Ironstone will race the identical day within the $125,000 Show Stakes, a seven furlongs dash.

“(Operating 1 1/8 miles) wouldn’t be honest to him,” Armata stated. “He’s a child. And with infants it’s a must to have plenty of persistence and take your time. Particularly when you’ve an excellent one like him.”

Armata is having a pleasant season general at Woodbine this yr, with seven wins, six second-place finishes and 4 thirds in 38 begins (heading into Saturday’s card), ending within the cash 45% of the time — a powerful document led, after all, by Ironstone.


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“It’s phenomenal to have a horse like that,” Armata stated. “It offers me the jittery-bugs in my abdomen.”


Veteran coach Debra Rombis was respiratory a serious sigh of reduction after her two-year-old filly Thatsitthatsall received the sixth race at Woodbine on Saturday, with Kirk Johnson within the saddle. The race marked the twenty second begin for Rombis on the west-end observe this yr, and she or he had but to win. However Thatsitthatsall, who had posted second-place finishers in all three of her profession begins this season (together with two stakes races), beat Load Overseas by a head for the win … Woodbine’s main coach Mark Casse received 5 extra races on Saturday, together with the $100,000 Overskate Stakes for three-year-olds and upwards with Not So Quiet, and now has 80 victories on the season, 44 greater than his nearest rival Attard … Main jockey Kazushi Kimura received three races and now has 89 on the season, 34 greater than Justin Stein in second place.



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