where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2021-10-15 18:49:44  
Irwin has a Livewire in BIG Woodbine Race

Barry Irwin knows exactly what he has in Keyflower (FR).

The founder and CEO of Team Valor, one of thoroughbred racing’s most successful and respected operations, has no shortage of high praise for the three-year-old filly he co-owns with Gary Barber, the one who will be making herNorth American racing debut in this Sunday’s Grade 1 $600,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine.

“She is all heart,” said Irwin, of Keyflower, a daughter of Kheleyf-Heather Flower (IRE) who brings a record of 2-2-2 from eight starts into the 1 ¼-mile E.P. Taylor.

The man who has worn many hats throughout his distinguished racing career, a list that includes writer, bloodstock agent, breeder and owner, is hopeful his sophomore can duplicate the effort that landed her in the winner’s circle in her most recent start.

On September 4 at Bordeaux, Keyflower notched a three-quarter length win at 7-1 over firm ground in the 1 3/16-mile Prix Occitanie.

It was a well-earned and hard-fought victory, one that earned kudos from Irwin.

“Her moxie [stands out]. She is a fighter. Last time out when she won the black-type race in France she was forced to bull her way between horses, and she relished the task.”

Keyflower launched her career on December 18, 2020, recording a one-length win in her debut at Lyon La Soie.

Second in her next start, the dark bay rebounded from a ninth-place finish and a sixth-place result on April 11 and 26, respectively, with a third at Saint-Cloud in June.

In her past three starts, Keyflower is 1-1-1, including a runner-up result at Vichy on July 22.

Trained by Mauricio Delcher Sanchez, and bred by Haras De Magouet, Keyflower will look to keep her strong form intact as she tackles the world-renowned E.P. Taylor turf for the first time.

“The longer the stretch the better, so it should suit her well,” said Irwin, a founding director with the equine-related charity Race for Education, which raises money to provide college scholarships to the offspring of backstretch and farm workers.

For the man who gave up fiction writing in 1969 and left his native California to pursue a career in non-fiction as a staff writer for The Blood-Horse in Kentucky, he’s hoping to add another chapter to his Woodbine success stories, which includes a 2006 Pattison Canadian International victory with Becrux, a horse he also owned with Barber.

One of thoroughbred racing’s bona fide good guys – he’s established numerous industry-related awards and scholarships – has a good chance to accomplish that goal with a tough-as-nails filly.

A win in the E.P. Taylor would be one more reason for Irwin, owner and breeder of the 2011 Kentucky Derby and 2013 Dubai World Cup winner, Animal Kingdom, to enjoy the Woodbine experience, on and off the racetrack.

“Besides the buffet for owners upstairs, I have always enjoyed racing at Woodbine because of its European-style course and general overall attitude. We have won some of the big races and they have always meant a lot to us.” 

Email link to a friend | Printable Version
  • United States of America
    Displaying 10 ResultsSee All
    canadian star bow's out in style 2 days ago

    Pink Lloyd, one of Canada’s greatest and most beloved sprinters, ended his remarkable career w...

    View | Add Comment
    record handle for breeders cup 2021-11-08

    DEL MAR, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2021) – Total all-sources common-pool handle for the two-day Breeders...

    View | Add Comment
    godolphin wins controversial breeders cup juvenile turf2021-11-06

    Modern Games unleashed a storming run for a decisive victory in a dramatic renewal of the G1 Breeder...

    View | Add Comment
    godolphin pair primed for juvenile2021-11-03

    Progressive duo Modern Games and Albahr look to provide Godolphin with a third victory in the G1 Bre...

    View | Add Comment
    jockeys dies after crash2021-11-01

    Miguel Mena, one of the winningest jockeys in Churchill Downs history and a two-time winner of the p...

    View | Add Comment
    essential quality and maxfield to retire 2021-10-25

    Darley in America will have two sensational new additions to its stallion roster for 2022 as Breeder...

    View | Add Comment
    gulfstream bans 5 trainers for drug violations 2021-10-01

    Gulfstream Park has suspensioned 5 trainers for clenbuterol violations. A total of 12 positives were...

    View | Add Comment
    arlington racecourse sold 2021-09-29

    Arlington International Racecourse owner Churchill Downs Inc. announced Sept. 29 that it has sold th...

    View | Add Comment
    young trainer at woodbine dies 2021-09-28

    Woodbine Entertainment and the entire Woodbine racing community is saddened to learn of the passing ...

    View | Add Comment
    american trainer banned from churchill downs 2021-09-25

    Popular American Trainer Karl Broberg has been banned from entering and stalling horses at Churchill...

    View | Add Comment