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MONDAY MORNING QUARTER POLE @WOODBINETB: TRAINER KATERINA VASSILIEVA

FEBRUARY 5, 2024

TORONTO, February 5, 2024 – In the first edition of MMQP, trainer Katerina Vassilieva shares her thoughts on a career-best 2023 season and looks ahead to the 2024 Woodbine meet.

Katerina Vassilieva
Katerina Vassilieva

Starting Gate

  • 102 career wins  
  • 5 career stakes wins  
  • Top horses include Big Bazinga, Rondure, Roaring Forties, Witch Hazel, There’s No Joe, Lady Maeve, Jilli Marie, My Girl Sky, Novel    
  • Won 20 races and posted 44 top-three finishes, to go along with $871,923 (U.S.) in purse earnings in 2023 – all career-best numbers
  • Roaring Forties won the 2023 Sunshine Turf Stakes. Piper’s Factor was second in the Grey Stakes (G3) and Coronation Futurity

Opening Quarter

“I feel like it’s time for my career to take a meaningful turn. I have been training for over 10 years and from the beginning, I’ve sort of tried to keep my head down and keep focused on developing any horses I was given, to the best of my ability. I started off training mostly claiming horses, but I think that persistence and perseverance eventually enabled me to attract more owners and better-quality horses who can compete at higher levels. I’m welcoming and very grateful to all the opportunities now coming my way.” 

Half Mile

Piper’s Factor is a 3-year-colt for Chiefswood Stable who was a pleasant surprise last season. I could see early on in the season that he was talented and competitive. I couldn’t breeze him with any of my other 2-year-olds because none of them could keep up with him. He is down in Florida with me. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do on the dirt. But being an Ontario-bred, you have to think he is a potential King’s Plate prospect.

Piper's Factor and jockey Christopher Husbands winning Race 10 on September 10, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Piper’s Factor and jockey Christopher Husbands winning Race 10 on September 10, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Lady Maeve, we claimed her for $5,000 at the end of 2022, and she won four races – her last three in a row – and she became a very solid turf filly for us. She is also down here with me too.

Katerina Vassilieva trainee Lady Maeve
Katerina Vassilieva trainee Lady Maeve

Witch Hazel is a filly that I always liked and figured would have a successful racing career. In her 2-year-old year, and half of her 3-year-old year, we tried sprinting her, but when we stretched her out to route races, she really relished that. We were able to win two allowance races with her going long. I think she’ll mature as a 4-year-old and I’m looking forward to what she can do as well. Her owners, Borders Racing Stable, are breeders, so it would mean a lot to their program if this filly could step up and win a stakes race. I believe she is good enough to do that.

Witch Hazel and jockey Rafael Hernandez winning Race 5 on November 2, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Witch Hazel and jockey Rafael Hernandez winning Race 5 on November 2, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Novel, a filly by Frac Daddy, was placed in all four of her starts, which were sprints, including one win. She’s always shown to be athletic and competitive, and I think she will mature as a 3-year-old and stretch out in distance as well.”

Katerina Vassilieva trainee Novel
Katerina Vassilieva trainee Novel

Stretch Drive

“We were very happy with the way things went for our barn in 2023. There are always ups and downs, but looking back, there was a lot for us to be proud of. Everything came together nicely, and we were able to have strong years from multiple horses.” 

Finish Line

“There is always a reason to be optimistic, or at least there is that need to feel that optimism. It’s a tough game and you always have to look on the bright side.”

Winner’s Circle

Links to stories with Katerina Vassilieva:

https://woodbine.com/woodbine-news/5-furlongs-with-katerina-vassilieva/

https://newsroom.woodbine.com/these-three-things-rondure

https://woodbine.com/woodbine-news/cool-dude-roaring-forties-aims-to-defend-sunshine-turf-crown/

https://woodbine.com/blog/thea-eke-any-time-im-around-a-horse-im-happy/

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

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