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Windward Islands heads to the winner's circle after the 2011 Nijinsky Stakes
The $300,000 Nijinsky Stakes (G2) at Woodbine Racetrack is one of the prep races for the major turf races later in the season including the $1 million Woodbine Mile (G1) in September and the $1.5 million Canadian International (G1) in October. A field of 6 older horses went 1 1/8 miles around one turn of the E.P. Taylor Turf Course on Sunday afternoon, under sunny skies and temperatures near 80. Despite drought conditions and record heat for July, localized heavy rains Saturday night downgraded the course to yielding. Eclipse Stakes (G3) winner Fifty Proof was sent off as the 9-10 favorite off a close second in the King Edward Stakes (G2) last out. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Musketier, winner of the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland and the Singspiel (G3) at Woodbine, and 7-2 third choice Windward Islands, winless since capturing this race a year ago and third in the Singspiel last out.
Down the stretch in the Nijinsky Stakes
Jockey Luis Contreras sent Fifty Proof to the lead exiting the chute and he set easy fractions of 25.47, 49.39, and 1:13.23 over the yielding course while as many as 1 1/2 lengths in front of 9-1 Hailstone stalking him second. Into the stretch, Fifty Proof continued to lead but Windward Islands, 5th early, came out for room after saving ground on the turn and was quickly closing the gap. Fifty Proof got the mile in an easy 1:37.01, but Windward Islands collared him inside the 1/8 pole and outfinished him to win by 3/4 length in 1:49.82. It was just a neck back to Hailstone third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Windward Islands Wilson 9.70 3.20 3.00 2 Fifty Proof Contreras 3.70 2.50 6 Hailstone Campbell 3.80 Winning Time: 1:49.82 $2 Exacta 3-2 29.60 $2 Trifecta 3-2-6 153.80
Left: Windward Islands in the winner's circle with trainer Mark Frostad at his hip. Her jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson said "We can analyze a race on a chalkboard all day but when the doors open you can wipe out all that you wrote. My break was a little rough, Fifty Proof broke into me and he's not a little horse. But my horse regained his composure, got settled, and when we turned into the lane I angled him out for room and he powered home. I remember how he powered by me in last year's Nijinsky so I was confident he would surge along for me today."
Right: Windward Islands heads back to the barns after the race.
Left: Windward Islands in the paddock before the race.
Right: Windward Islands in the post parade. Jockey Wilson, when asked about the loss last out, added, "Horses have personalities, they know when they haven't won and want to come back and redeem themselves and he did that here."
Left: Second place finisher Fifty Proof returns after the race. The 9-10 favorite set the pace for 1 mile under new jockey Luis Contreras, but failed the hold off the winner when challenged in the final furlong. The Ian Black trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 5 seconds, and 0 thirds in 14 starts, earning $701,920 for owners Kinghaven Farms, J. Fielding and B. Hutzel.
Right: Third place finisher Hailstone in the paddock before the race. The 9-1 shot stalked the pace early under jockey Jesse Campbell, came out 3 wide for room and was all-out late to finish third beaten 3/4 length. The Mark Casse trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 8 starts, earning $135,122 for owners Woodford Racing and Westrock Stables.
Embur's Song leads first time by in the Ontario Matron Stakes
Jockey Patrick Husbands sent Embur's Song to the lead first time past the stands and she set fractions of 23.59, 47.63, and 1:12.01 while 2 lengths in front of 19-1 Hooh Why stalking her in second. Entering the stretch, Embur's Song continued to maintain her 2 length advantage through 1 mile in 1:36.80. 8-1 Ariana D, last early, closed with a rush 5 wide late but Embur's Song easily held her off late to prevail by 3/4 length in 1:43.39. It was another 3/4 length back to late-running Biofuel third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Embur's Song Husbands 4.70 2.90 2.20 7 Ariana D Moreno 6.70 3.10 3 Biofuel McAleney 2.20 Winning Time: 1:43.39 $2 Exacta 5-7 25.50 $2 Trifecta 5-7-3 65.40 $1 Superfecta 5-7-3-2 157.35
Left: Embur's Song in the winner's circle. Her jockey Patrick Husbands said, "(The pace) played a big factor last time on the road at Presque Isle (Windward Stakes). Swinging home I had no horse, but the quality of her took me to the wire. Today, in the post parade, she was on her game. She's just a nice horse."
Right: Embur's Song gets hosed off before heading to the barns.
Left: Embur's Song in the paddock before the race. Jockey Patrick Husbands added, "I took a little hold of her after the turn and she was relaxed from there. She was travelling easy."
Right: Embur's Song in the post parade. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 10 starts, earning $550,782 for owner Fares Farm.
Left: Second place finisher Ariana D in the paddock before the race. The 8-1 shot was last for the first 1/2 mile under regular rider Omar Moreno, came out 5 wide for room and closed well but just missed, finishing 3/4 length back in second. The Laurie Silvera trainee improved her record to 7 wins, 5 seconds, and 3 thirds in 21 starts, earning $409,780 for owner Maple Lane Farm.
Right: Third place finisher Biofuel returns after the race. The 3-2 second choice settled in 4th 4 lengths off the pace under new jockey Jim McAleney, came out 6 wide into the strench and closed late to get third beaten 1 1/2 lengths. The Reade Baker trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 13 starts, earning $801,900 for owner-breeder Brereton C. Jones. The next day Baker announced that a chip was found in her ankle and she has been retired from racing. She will be bred to Majesticperfection at Jones' Airdrie Stud in the spring.
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