Saffie Joseph 1000 wins
Ken McPeek 3000 wins
Sovereign Award finalists
Derby Points List
Jockey Jono Jones and Canadian Stakes winner Essential Edge.
There were two other graded stakes events on the undercard of the Woodbine Mile (G1), each around 1 turn of the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. The $300,000 Canadian Stakes (G2) featured a field of nine older fillies and mares going "about" 1 1/8 miles on the grass, with Christophe Clement trainee Meribel sent off as the 8-5 favorite off a third place finish in the Ballston Spa at Saratoga. In to challenge the Arthur Hancock homebred were 2-1 second choice and local hope Sealy Hill, who finished first in all three legs of the Canadian Triple Tiara but was disqualified to second in the Bison City, and 9-1 May Night, a close second in the Dance Smartly last time out.
10-1 local hope Essential Edge was gunned right to the front exiting the chute by jockey Jono Jones and she was allowed an uncontested lead of as many as 5 lengths down the backstretch through easy fractions of 24.34 and 47.87 over the firm course. 12-1 Wedded Woman sat in second along the hedge while Sealy Hill stalked her in third just to her outside. Turning for home, Essential Edge continued to lead and looked homefree but Sealy Hill was gradually eating into her lead. Inside the final furlong, Sealy Hill made up the remaining 2 1/2 length difference but the tiring Essential Edge was able to hold her off to win by just a neck in 1:45.62. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to favorite Meribel in third, who also put in a late rally but was left with too much ground to make up.
Essential Edge in the winner's circle. Her owner Robert Krembil of Chiefswood Stables said, "She's a very difficult horse to ride. She's difficult to rate. I thought, when I saw Jono (on the front), 'I hope you know what you're doing.' I saw she was quite relaxed. That was the way to do it. We're very happy to see this. It was exciting to see."
Her jockey Jono Jones said, "I guess they left me on the lead a bit longer than they should have."
Second place finisher Sealy Hill in the paddock, with trainer Mark Casse giving jockey Patrick Husbands a leg up. 2-1 second choice Sealy Hill stalked from the second path under regular rider Patrick Husbands, launched a determined rally in the stretch gaining steadily but just missed at the line. The Mark Casse trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 10 lifetime starts, earning $803,122 for owner-breeder Eugene Melnyk.
Third place finisher and beaten favorite Meribel in the paddock. 8-5 favorite Meribel raced back in eighth down the backstretch under Garrett Gomez, and closed with a rush late but finished 2 1/2 lengths back of the winner. The Christophe Clement trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 5 thirds in 18 starts with earnings of $421,125 for owner-breeder Arthur B. Hancock III.
Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday was the $250,000 Summer Stakes (G3) for 2-year-olds at 1 mile on the turf. A field of nine entered the gate, with Bill Mott trainee Prussian sent off as the 1-2 favorite exiting a 7 length romp in his debut on the turf at Saratoga. In to challenge him were 5-1 second choice and local hope Briarwood Circle, undefeated so far in a maiden and an allowance, and 7-1 third choice Cryptonite Kid, winner of a maiden event last out.
22-1 longshot Brickyard Crossing battled on the pace with favorite Prussian through a quarter in 23.06 and a half in 46.04, with 16-1 Ya Think in stalking position third. Turning for home, jockey Kent Desormeaux asked Prussian for run and got it, as the favorite surged to the front and quickly opened a 2 1/2 length lead in mid stretch, getting 3/4 in a brisk 1:10.26. Briarwood Circle, who raced in seventh early, put in a strong rally but was no match for Prussian who easily held him safe by 1 1/4 lengths at the line, completing the distance in 1:35.26 over the firm course. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to late running 13-1 Your Round in third.
Prussian returns after the race. Jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "He was very eager early. He managed to settle. I kept him well away from the field down the backside. That helped him out tremendously. When I pulled him closer, next to the horse going into the turn, he really jumped into the bridle. It took a little bit of effort to make him wait, but when I let him go, there was a tremendous turn of foot. I think he idled a little bit, looking around. In the presence of the other horses, when galloping out, he got back into gear. I think there's more to come."
Trainer Bill Mott said, "I think (the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf) would be the most logical place for him to go. Obviously, he's still learning. As Kent said, he was a little anxious and jumped into the bridle maybe a little too early. The good part is, he has good tactical speed and he breaks well. For a course like Monmouth Park that would be beneficial."
Second place finisher Briarwood Circle. 5-1 second choice Briarwood Circle raced in mid pack early under regular rider Patrick Husbands, split horses on the turn, put in a late rally but hung late to finish second. The Mark Casse trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 0 thirds in 3 starts earning $133,940 for owner Woodford Racing LLC.
Third place finisher Your Round returns after the race. 13-1 shot Your Round broke in the air, raced at the back of the pack early while saving ground on the turn under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, came out wide early in the stretch to pass tiring horses then angled back to the inside for the drive finishing third. The Mark Hubley trainee improved his record to 1 win and 1 third in 2 starts, earning $40,125 for owner Lawrence Doyle.
Woodbine Mile results
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