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3/18/2017 - Woodbridge cruises to victory in City of Aiken Trophy

Everything didn’t go perfectly at the beginning of the race, but it didn’t matter.

Woodbridge recovered quickly and cruised to victory in the City of Aiken Trophy during the 75th Aiken Trials on Saturday at the Aiken Training Track.

At the finish, the 3-year-old bay gelding was way ahead of his three challengers.

“He was a little antsy in the starting gate, and he didn’t want to settle,” said Woodbridge’s jockey, Kaitlan Montgomery. “When we got out of there, we were a little crooked, but then we just kind of took off and it went smoothly. It was absolutely really easy for him.”

Woodbridge completed 4½ furlongs in 54 1/5 seconds.

“He got a little tired there at the end, but so did I, in all fairness,” Montgomery said. “This was the very first time I had ever ridden in a race, and I’m just thrilled to win it. It was a great feeling.”

Sweet Crimson finished second, followed by Carolina Courage and Brother Jerry.

Gustav Schickedanz bred Woodbridge and owns the gelding in partnership with Don Howard of North Augusta.

In addition, Schickedanz is the owner and breeder of Sweet Crimson.

“Aiken is such a lovely little town, and this is a pleasure,” Schickedanz said.

A member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Fame, Schickedanz won the City of Aiken Trophy last year with another horse he bred, Enoree.

Mike Keogh trained Enoree, and he also is the trainer of Woodbridge and Sweet Crimson.

Last year at Woodbine Racetrack in in Canada, Woodbridge won once in five starts and finished third in the Vandal Stakes.

The gelding is considered to be one of the top candidates for the Queen’s Plate, which will be run in July at Woodbine and is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

In February, Ron Gierkink and Alex Campbell of the Daily Racing Form and Woodbine Entertainment Group Communications Manager Keith McCalmont ranked Woodbridge fifth among all the Queen’s Plate contenders and assigned him odds of 10-1.

The favorite was Tiz a Slam at odds of 3-1.

Before the Aiken Trials, Keogh said he thought the City of Aiken Trophy would help get Woodbridge ready for the Woodstock Stakes in April at Woodbine.

R.B. McCutchen of McCutchen Training Center in Kingstree was the owner and trainer of the winners of two races during the 75th Aiken Trials.

Dialin captured the Gaver Trophy, and Sun Dress triumphed in the Post Trophy. Lamont Smalls rode both of the 2-year-old fillies, and both covered a quarter of a mile in 23 3/5 seconds.

McCutchen’s son, Jason, was the owner and trainer of Earned It, who captured the Iselin Hall of Fame Trophy. Smalls rode the 3-year-old gelding, whose winning time for 4½ furlongs was 54 seconds.

Trainer Cary Frommer, who is based at the Aiken Training Track, sent out an unnamed 2-year-old colt by the stallion To Honor and Serve to win the Coward Trophy. With Jose Benitez riding him, the colt completed a quarter of a mile in 23 2/5 seconds.

Frommer owns the colt in partnership with Allen Poindexter.

Eskimo Princess captured the von Stade Trophy while being ridden by Alfredo Roman.

Travis Durr is the trainer of the 3-year-old filly, and Ted Hoover is her breeder and owner.

Eskimo Princess covered 4½ furlongs in 54 seconds.

Dexter won the Foxhunter Race. Pierce Buckingham rode the 7-year-old gelding and also is Dexter’s owner and trainer.

Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.