With a record closing day handle of $8,530,593, Woodbine's 2021 Thoroughbred meet concluded Sunday with meet titles for trainer Mark Casse, jockey Kazushi Kimura, and owner Gary Barber. Casse secured the leading training title with 110 wins from his 539 starts and earnings of $8,189,186. Martin Drexler trailed in second by wins with 56. It was Casse's 13th time atop the Woodbine leaderboard and his 27 stakes victories at the Toronto oval in 2021 were 19 more than his closest rival. Casse, who is a member of the Hall of Fame in both the U.S. and Canada, has won Canada's Sovereign Award as the country's top trainer 13 times.
In contrast, Kimura was earning his first Woodbine jockey title. The 22-year-old is the first Japanese-born rider to achieve the feat. He notched 138 wins at the meet from 717 starts, including wins in eight black-type events, with $6,360,203 in earnings. The Eclipse Award winner as North America's outstanding apprentice, Kimura also won the Sovereign Award equivalent in both 2018 and 2019.
“It's a special achievement, and it was one of my dreams,” said Kimura. “Everybody wants to be a leading rider, but it's not easy. We just need great riding skills and good horses, good support from the trainers and owners for the whole season to be able to get the title. This year, I'd say I improved, and I got good support from trainers and owners. I appreciate that help for me to get the riding title.”
Barber was the leading money-winning owner at Woodbine for the third straight year although official statistics were not immediately available. Live racing will return next spring to the Toronto oval with opening day tentatively scheduled for the penultimate weekend in April.