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Hunters Bay heads to the winner's circle after the Dominion Day Stakes.
The traditional stakes event on Canada Day at Woodbine is the $200,000 Dominion Day Stakes (G3), featuring the top older horses on the grounds going the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles on the Polytrack. Conditions were excellent, with partly cloudy skies, a light breeze, and temperatures in the high 80's. Hunters Bay was sent off as the 7-10 favorite in the short field of 5, exiting a victory in the Eclipse Stakes (G3) on May 26. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Stately Victor, third in this event last year and here off consecutive runner-up finishes in allowance company, and 4-1 third choice Straight Story, 7th in the Dixie (G2) at Pimlico last out.
Hunters Bay passes Pender Harbour in the stretch
Jockey Jesse Campbell sent Straight Story to the lead first time by and he set slow early fractions of 25.42, 50.75, and 1:15.35 while stalked by 9-2 fourth choice Pender Harbour and favorite Hunters Bay. Entering the stretch, Straight Story tired allowing Pender Harbour to assume the lead through 1 mile in 1:38.84. Hunters Bay steadily gained on Pender Harbour through the lane, and pulled away in the final 1/16 to win by 1 length in 2:04.11 over the fast Polytrack surface. It was a long 7 1/2 lengths back to Stately Victor third, and another 8 1/4 more to 40-1 longest shot Medidocihospisurg fourth. Straight Story bobbled at the 1/16 pole, was pulled up and vanned off. Show wagering was cancelled due to the small field.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Hunters Bay Wilson 3.40 2.40 - 6 Pender Harbour Contreras 3.40 - 3 Stately Victor Napravnik - Winning Time: 2:04.11 $2 Exacta 4-6 10.60 $2 Trifecta 4-6-3 19.30
Left: Hunters Bay in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson said, "He's so easy to handle. If you ask him to sit, he sits. If you ask him to move on up, he moves on up. Having that tactical ability makes it easier to ride these kinds of races. Inside the 1/8 pole, he really started to stride on and stride away from (Pender Harbour). I was pretty confident in my horse. I give kudos to Pender Harbour, he put up a brave fight."
Right: The trophy presentation with trainer Reade Baker on the far left.
Left: Hunters Bay in the post parade. Trainer Reade Baker said, "We'll probably go to the Whitney at Saratoga or possibly the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He's got speed and endurance and that's all you need."
Right: Hunters Bay in the paddock before the race.
Left: Second place finisher Pender Harbour in the post parade. The 9-2 fourth choice stalked the pace under regular rider Luis Contreras, gained the lead at the top of the the lane but was outfinished. The Mike DePaulo trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 14 starts, earning $1,076,420 for owners Dennis Andrews, Sandra Lazaruk, Rob and Roberta Griffin.
Right: Third place finisher Stately Victor returns after the race. The 3-1 second choice sat 4th early 3 lengths off the pace under new jockey Rosie Napravnik, finished well but failed to gain, finishing third beaten 8 1/2 lengths. The Mike Maker trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 4 seconds, and 6 thirds in 26 starts, earning $953,332 for owners Jack and Thomas Conway.
Shortly after the start of the Bison City Stakes
6-1 Casa Loma battled for the lead with 18-1 Simple as That through fractions of 25.45, 49.88, and 1:14.18, while stalked by Blue Heart the whole way. On the turn, Simple as that tired allowing Casa Loma to lead to mid-stretch. Blue Heart rallied late to win by 1 3/4 lengths over late-running Black Bird Rock in 1:45.77. It was just a nose back to pacesetter Casa Loma third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Blue Heart Solis 6.20 3.00 2.40 6 Black Bird Rock Husbands 2.90 2.20 4 Casa Loma Bahen 2.90 Winning Time: 1:45.77 $2 Exacta 3-6 16.60 $2 Trifecta 3-6-4 61.90
Left: Blue Heart in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Alex Solis said, "I waited down on the inside. When I asked her to go at the three-sixteenths (pole), she responded nicely. I felt like she had an easy race. She saved all the ground, and only ran 300 yards."
Right: Blue Heart heads back to the barn after the race.
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Black Bird Rock in the post parade. The 7-5 favorite sat fourth early under jockey Patrick Husbands, then rallied mildly to get second beaten 1 3/4 lengths. The Mark Casse trainee improved her record to 1 win, 1 second, and 0 thirds in 4 starts, earning $115,726 for owner-breeder Eugene Melnyk.
Right: Third place finisher Casa Loma returns after the race. The 6-1 fourth choice set the pace under regular jockey Steven Bahen, led to the 1/8 pole but faded to finish third just a nose back of second. The Bob Tiller trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 8 starts, earning $182,340 for owner Rolph Davis.
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