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Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva celebrates as Melmich heads to the winner's circle after the Dominion Day Stakes.
The feature race on Canada Day at Woodbine as part of the country's 150th birthday festivities, is the $125,000 Dominion Day Stakes (G3), featuring the top older horses on the grounds going the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles on the Tapeta, and this year is the highlight of Day 1 of the new two-day Queen's Plate Festival. Intermittent showers fell throughout the afternoon but the skies cleared for the feature race, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 70's, with the Tapeta rated fast (standard) and the turf rated good-to-firm (GoingStick reading 9.7). After Aldous Snow scratched (to run in the Singspiel Stakes on Sunday), a field of 6 went to post with last year's winner Melmich sent off as the 5-4 favorite, second in the Valedictory (G3) to close out 2016 and then winner of an allowance in May. In to challenge him included 2-1 second choice Are You Kidding Me, second in the Eclipse (G2) last out, and 7-4 third choice Scuba, winner of the Marathon (G2) at Santa Anita last year but here off a 5th place finish in the Flat Out at Belmont Park.
Melmich passes Gigantic Breeze in the stretch
Jockey Gary Boulanger sent 8-1 Gigantic Breeze to the lead first time by and he set slow fractions of 25.71, 50.67, 1:15.09, and 1:39.27 while pressed by 27-1 Ethical Funds and stalked by Are You Kidding Me. Turning for home, jockey Eurico Da Silva sent Melmuch, last early, out 4 wide for room as the favorite easily swept to the front through 9f in 1:51.36. Kept to task by Da Silva, Melmich opened up late to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Gigantic Breeze in 2:03.48. It was another 3/4 length back to Are You Kidding Me third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 Melmich Da Silva 4.60 2.90 2.10 6 Gigantic Breeze Boulanger 5.50 3.40 5 Are You Kidding Me Garcia 2.10 Winning Time: 2:03.48 $2 Exacta 4-6 10.60 $2 Trifecta 4-6-3 19.30 $1 Superfecta 7-6-5-2
Left: Melmich in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Eurico Da Silva said, "He was just behind Are You Kidding Me. He was running very, very relaxed. He was very sharp. When I asked him, he just took off from there. He's a happy horse right now and I'm happy too!"
Right: Melmich gets hosed down after leaving the winner's circle.
Left: Melmich enters the paddock.
Right: Melmich parades for the fans wearing his winner's blanket. Winning trainer Kevin Attard said, "He tries each and every time. He's never really disappointed us. He had a tough campaign last year. He had a great comeback race. I didn't expect him to run so well, so soon."
Left: Second place finisher Gigantic Breeze returns after the race. The 8-1 shot set the pace under Gary Boulanger but could not hold off the winner. The Alex McPherson trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 1 second, and 0 thirds in 14 starts, earning $147,775 for owner Hopefield Farm.
Right: Third place finisher Are You Kidding Me in the paddock The 2-1 second choice stalked the pace in 3rd under Alan Garcia but could not improve late finishing 3rd beaten 2 1/4 lengths. The Roger Attfield trainee improved his record to 10 wins, 6 seconds, and 7 thirds in 35 starts, earning $1,056,095 for owners Ron Kirk, John Bates, and Mike Riordan.
Financial Recovery wins the Ontario Damsel Stakes
Jockey Jerome Lermyte sent 23-1 Listenlindalisten to the lead through fractions of 23.62, 47.34, and 1:12.19 while pressed by Silver Priness and stalked by Ellan Vannin. Entering the stretch, 27-1 Greek Justice gained a short lead through 7f in 1:24.18, but 5-1 fourth choice Financial Recovery, last early under David Moran, closed with a rush in the lane to win by 1/2 a length in 1:36.48. It was a head back to Listenlindalisten third, and 1 3/4 more to favorite Ellan Vannin fourth.
Left: Financial Recovery in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Catherine Day Phillips said, "Fairly desperate for a bit, until about the 3/8 pole. I was concerned that she wasn't on the bridle and really wasn't looking to make up any ground, and David was niggling at her and she wasn't really responding." Jockey David Moran added, " I didn't think we'd be that far back. They were just going away from her a little bit so I let her find her feet and came running."
Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Ellan Vannin returns to the unsaddling area. The 2-1 choice stalked the pace in third but tired late to finish fourth beaten 2 1/4 lengths. The Tony Gattellaro trainee has a record of 2 wins, 0 seconds, and 0 thirds in 5 starts, earning $107,179 for owner Jonathan Lee.
Skylander Girl wins the Zadracarta Stakes
Jockey Eurico Da Silva sent Southern Ring to the lead through fractions of 22.91 and 45.70 while pressed by 33-1 Generous Touch and stalked by Jennifer Lynnette. At the top of the lane, 6-1 Skylander Girl, 4th early under Rafael Hernandez, swept to the lead through 3/4 in 1:09.90. Kept to task by Hernandez, Skylander Girl drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Jennifer Lynnette in 1:21.71. It was a neck back to 8-1 Niigon's Eclipse third, while favorite Southern Ring faded to finish 7th.
Left: Skylander Girl in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Rafael Hernandez said, "We got a good position. We just played it by ear and when horses showed speed she sat just off the pace, like the boss told me." Winning owner-trainer Al Patykewich added, "No matter what I've asked her to do, she's done it with no problem,"
Right: Seventh place finisher and beaten favorite Southern Ring in the post parade. The 7-5 choice set the early pace under Eurico Da Silva but tired late to finish 7th beaten 4 3/4 lengths. The Malcolm Pierce trainee has a record of 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 11 starts, earning $328,570 for owner-breeder Sam-Son Farm.
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