JC / Railbird

Joshua Tree

Woodbine Wrap-Up

The horse, the jockey, and, of course, the roast beef sandwich. It’s Canadian International day 2012, as seen by Ernie Munick:

A few odds and ends from International weekend …

Next Question will be the sole Breeders’ Cup Challenge winner from Sunday to ship to Santa Anita. Prepping for the Turf Sprint in the Nearctic Stakes worked for Regally Ready in 2011, but Next Question will have to contend with the downhill turf course and reproduce the best race of his career to win.

Is there a bigger international racing star than Frankie Dettori? People love him. They love his exuberance. They love his flying leap. It’s no exaggeration that the second loudest cheer of International day, after the cheer at the International finish, came from the crowd when the rider launched himself off Joshua Tree in the Woodbine winner’s circle.

The roast beef sandwich sold in the grandstand really was as good as it looks in Ernie’s video, but the dishes and desserts — seasonal cold salads and roasted vegetables, short rib sliders and spicy shrimp and fava bean croquettes, pumpkin brûlée and florentines dipped in chocolate — turned out by the Woodbine kitchen, headed by chefs Joseph Lesch and Michael Mortensen, and served at the Canadian International draw luncheon and cocktail party, were exceptional. I haven’t eaten so well at a racetrack, ever.

Also notable was Chef Joseph’s chocolate plum cake.

And the avocado panna cotta, part of the raw bar spread.

My thanks to Woodbine media coordinator Keith McCalmont (@tripledeadheat) for inviting me to visit, and to everyone I met for their hospitality. It was a terrific weekend, and I hope to make it back next year.