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Jockey Rafael Hernandez celebrates with the trophy.
The $500,000 Breeders' Stakes is the third and final race of Canada's Triple Crown restricted to 3-year-olds foaled in Canada. A field of 11 contested the 126th renewal of this 1 1/2 mile classic, one complete lap of the E.P. Taylor Turf Course on Sunday afternoon. Conditions were ideal at Woodbine, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 70's, but fields faced a stiff 20 MPH headwind through the stretch. Thankfully the originally forecasted rains failed to materialize. Conquest Daddyo was sent off as the 9-5 favorite off his Toronto Cup win after finishing third in the Charley Barley. In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice Amis Gizmo, winner of the Plate Trial and Prince of Wales Stakes, and 5-1 third choice Scholar Athlete, 4th in the Queen's Plate after winning an allowance on turf. Queen's Plate winner Sir Dudley Digges was the 8-1 fourth choice.
Down the stretch in the Breeders Stakes.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Camp Creek Hernandez 55.30 26.20 12.10 4 Sir Dudley Digges Albarado 10.00 6.20 2 Leavem in Malibu Boulanger 6.90 Winning Time: 2:29.45 $2 Exacta 3-4 526.80 $1 Trifecta 3-4-2 3,127.40 $1 Superfecta 3-4-2-6 13,497.50
Left: Camp Creek in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Rachel Halden said, "I can't say I was expecting it, but we were hopeful and thought he deserved a chance. To me, he was just an improving horse. I'd been looking to get him on the grass for awhile and when we did he won quite nicely and it looked like a stretch out in distance wouldn’t be an issue for him. Sometimes, when you have a three-year-old Canadian-bred you need to take a chance at these kinds of races."
Right: Camp Creek gets hosed off after the race.
Left: Camp Creek in the paddock before the race.
Right: Camp Creek behind the starting gate. Winning jockey Rafael Hernandez said, "He broke good. He settled back a little bit. I had a little trouble in the first turn. One horse came out a little bit. He grabbed a little bit of heels, so he settled back even more and he relaxed himself. At the 3/8 I started to ask him to pick it up. When we turned for home, I put him clear and he did everything on his own. When I hit the front (I knew I had it won). When I passed the wire, I said, ‘I won.’ I can’t believe it."
Left: Second place finisher Sir Dudley Digges returns after the race. Owner Ken Ramsey said, "I was happy. We beat the other favourites. I wasn't expecting a horse that just broke its maiden to beat us, but that's why they call it horse racing." Jockey Robby Albarado (replacing injured regular rider Julien Leparoux) said, "It was a great trip. I had to ride him a little bit early and I kind of inherited the lead on my own turning for home. He kept on but the winner ran by me with authority. It's a rare distance for these horses at this point in their career, but he handled it well."
Right: Third place finisher Leavem in Malibu behind the post parade. Jockey Gary Boulanger said, "In the middle of the turn I thought I had a big chance. It didn't look like Luis (Contreras aboard Amis Gizmo) had a lot of horse and I was running with Robby (Albarado aboard Sir Dudley Digges) and he was digging pretty hard. We were cruising along and he likes that kind of thing, it gets him motivated. Inside the 3/16 pole he took a pretty big breath and swapped back off his right lead back to his left and he struggled the last little bit, but he hung on for third."
Left: Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Conquest Daddyo behind the starting gate. the 8-5 choice raced 9th about 11 lengths off the pace early under Patrick Husbands, then passed tired horses to check in fifth beaten 6 1/4 lengths. The Mark Casse trainee has a record of 3 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 9 starts, earning $309.891 for owner Conquest Stables LLC. Conquest Daddyo and the rest of the stable's 114 horses will be sold in dispersal at Keeneland November. Co-owner Ernie Semersky said when making the announcement on Thursday, "Unfortunately, because of personal reasons, we have decided to step back from racing at this time. But we feel these up-and-coming horses would be at home in any international racing stable."
Right: The horses break from the starting gate for the Breeders' Stakes.
Messi wins the Sky Classic Stakes (G2)
Jockey Jesse Campbell sent 18-1 Fixador to the lead around the clubhouse bend through fractions of 25.84 and 49.59 while pressed by Messi and stalked by 35-1 longest shot Don Camillo. Down the backstretch Messi took over the front through fractions of 1:12.85 and 1:36.98. Are You Kidding Me, 4th early, put in a challenge at the top of the lane but Messi dismissed him, drwing clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 2:00.89 over the firm course. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to late-running favorite Up With The Birds third.
Left: Messi in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Graham Motion said, "I really like this horse and most of his disappointing races I have a pretty good explanation for. I thought he ran well last time at Arlington," said Motion. "We caught a really soft turf course at Churchill (River City Handicap) last year and he got a clod in his eye and had some pretty serious surgery. He had the winter off and we saved the eye and he's back better than ever."
Right: Messi heads into the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Edgar Prado said, "It seemed there wasn't much speed in the race. The only speed was the horse in front (Fixador), first time with blinkers. We traveled in second all the way and hoped to come home strong. He was doing everything so easy. He had plenty left in the stretch."
Left: Second place finisher Are You Kidding Me returns after the race. The Roger Attfield trainee improved his record to 7 wins. 5 seconds, and 6 thirds in 29 starts, earning $823,983 for owner-breeder Ron Kirk, John Bates and Mike Riordan.
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Up With The Birds in the post parade. The Malcolm Pierce trainee improved his record to 8 wins, 4 seconds, and 4 thirds in 26 starts, earning $1,827,669 for owner-breeder Sam-Son Farm.
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