In this week’s report, trainer Gail Cox shares her thoughts on the 2022 campaign and looks ahead to the upcoming 2023 Woodbine season.

Inside Track: Gail Cox

* 152 career wins
* 16 career stakes wins
* Top horses include Something Extra, Simply Splendid, Hard Not to Like, Rideforthecause, Say the Word, El Tormenta, Dancin in Da’nile, Ready to Repeat and Tio Magico.
* Won 14 races and posted 45 top-three finishes, to go along with $919,979 in purse earnings in 2022. Swoop to Finish was second in the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes, and Silent Fortune took runner-up honours in the Frost King. Ladywearsthering finished third in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen.

The 2022 campaign

“I think Whimsical Dance was a big highlight. Swoop to Finish was also one that stands out for us too. She ran so well in the Wonder Where. We have Confusing, who broke his maiden with a really nice effort at Woodbine in October. Overall, I was happy with the year. We didn’t have the stakes success we were chasing, but I thought in the grand scheme of things we did have a really good year. Just like everyone else, you strive for that consistency throughout the season. The purses are so good at Woodbine, including the stakes, so it’s an ideal place to race your horses.”

All systems go

“It’s really been pretty good here at Payson Park. We’ve only run a couple and we don’t have many to run here in Florida. There might be a few we have to run at Keeneland before we head back to Woodbine. We have some new 2-year-olds here that are pretty nice. I have a Malibu Moon colt out of Scarlett Flutter, and he’s really nice. I also have a half to All Canadian, who we also like. I have some other new 2-year-olds that aren’t with me but are in Ocala. There, I have a Palace Malice colt who came out of the Canadian sale and a Mendelssohn, who is Ontario-bred but came out of the Keeneland sale. I have Silent Fortune in Ocala, a Silent Name (JPN), who won his first start, and was second in a stakes race. He needed a little bit of time after that, so we didn’t run him back. He should have a good year in the Ontario sired division.

“We managed to keep (multiple stakes winner) Dancin in Da’nile as well. He has a new ownership now and he’s training great. We’re hoping to have a race in Keeneland on the turf for him before we come back to Woodbine. I also have Whimsical Dance, who is a really nice filly. She won the day before she went to the November sale. She sold very well. She’ll run at Woodbine this year and might have one start at Keeneland ahead of that. Winston Blue, who ran once, is also training very well. He has another start coming up soon on the Tapeta at Gulfstream. Ready to Repeat will be back. He’s doing really well.”

A good mix

“We have a nice blend of younger and older horses. With the 2-year-olds, you always look forward to seeing them develop, and watching that journey. The older ones, you know what to expect, and it’s always nice to have those familiar faces in the barn. I’m very happy with the balance we have this year and hopefully, the young ones keep pushing forward and the older ones do what they are capable of.”

Excitement building

“When everybody is closer to running – most of my horses here in Florida had time off – that’s when you really start to get excited about the Woodbine season. When they start working 5/8ths and getting closer to running, you really begin to feel that excitement.”

Finish line

“It’s nice to have time down here in Florida to get out and ride the bike, go walking or go for a swim. It’s just that little bit of time where you can relax, unwind and give yourself a chance to exhale.”