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Trainer Roger Attfield leads Are You Kidding Me to the winner's circle after the 2015 Nijinsky Stakes
The $200,000 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. Conditions were tropical at the Toronto oval, with partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the high 80's, high humidity, and a stiff 20 MPH headwind in the stretch. After 1 scratch a field of 9 older horses went to post in this 1 1/8 mile trip around one turn of the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, with Are You Kidding Me sent off as the 5-2 favorite off his win in the Eclipse Stakes (G2). In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Za Approval, fourth in the Frank Kilroe Mile (G1) in March and 3rd in the Eclipse last out, and 5-1 Lucky Speed, winless since the 2013 Deutches Derby (G1), shipping in from Germany after finishing 9th in the Grosser Preis vin Baden (G1).
Down the stretch in the Nijinsky Stakes
Jockey Omar Moreno sent 8-1 Platinum Glory to the lead exiting the chute and he set fractions of 24.61, 48.34, and 1:11.98 while pressed by 15-2 Excaper and stalked by Are You Kidding Me. Entering the stretch, the pacesetters tired allowing Are You Kidding Me to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:34.84. 7-1 Golden Sabre, 4th early, put in a late rally between horses but Are You Kidding Me held him off by 1/2 a length in 1:46.69 over the firm course. It was another 2 lengths back to Za Approval, who nosed out Lucky Speed in a close photo for third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 Are You Kidding Me Garcia 7.20 4.30 3.00 3 Golden Sabre Contreras 7.50 5.00 1 Za Approval Husbands 3.30 Winning Time: 1:46.69 $2 Exacta 7-3 45.10 $2 Trifecta 7-3-1 139.80 $1 Superfecta 7-3-1-4 273.90
Left: Are You Kidding Me in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Roger Attfield said, "He's a really nice horse. He always has been. He's had some problems with his wind. He's had some fairly significant throat surgeries. I didn't think they could beat him. The only thing I was concerned about was they said it was supposed to be the hottest, most humid day of the summer. We obviously have his breathing problems corrected very well."
Right: Are You Kidding Me gets hosed off after the race. Winning jockey Alan Garcia said, "I was very confident. He'd been training super in the morning, working very great. I only needed at trip. He did spectacular today. He broke good, and I saw two horses go to the lead. I took my time, because I knew he was going to come with a big run, and he did."
Left: Second place finisher Golden Sabre in the paddock before the race. The 7-1 fourth choice rated in fourth early under jockey Luis Contreras, then rallied well but just missed. The Malcolm Pierce trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 10 starts, earning $181,419 for owner-breeder Sam-Son Farm.
Right: Third place finisher Za Approval returns after the race. The 7-2 second choice was unhurried under jockey Patrick Husbands, then rallied to get third beaten 2 1/2 lengths. The Mark Casse trainee improved his record to 8 wins, 8 seconds, and 4 thirds in 30 starts, earning $1,344,204 for owner-breeder Live Oak Plantation.
Her Majesty's Flag leads first time by in the Duchess Stakes
Jockey Alan Garcia sent 9-1 Midnight Miley to the lead exiting the chute and she set fractions of 22.96 and 45.29 while pressed by Pohdi Pohdi. At the top of the lane, 19-1 longest shot Her Majesty's Flag, 4th early, swept 4 wide to take the lead. Kept to task by Omar Moreno, Her Majesty's Flag held off late-running Roaming by 3/4 length for the win in 1:22.91. It was a neck back to favorite Pohdi Pohdi third.
Left: Her Majesty's Flag in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Omar Moreno said, "I thought we were going to be a little further away, but she was so comfortable being up there and when I asked her she just kept going. She felt good today."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Pohdi Pohdi returns after the race. The 4-5 choice pressed the pace under Eurico Rosa da Silva but gave way in the lane to finish third beaten 1 length. The Bob Tiller trainee improved her record to 4 wins and 2 thirds in 6 starts, earning $192,692 for owner 3 Sons Racing Stable.
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