MILTON, September 22, 2018 – Stag Party and driver David Miller put on a show to win the $890,000 Metro Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The Casie Coleman trained two-year-old pacing colt came first-up on the final turn from fourth and proceeded to turn the Metro final into a laugher by drawing away with ease in the lane for a 4 ¼ lengths victory in 1:50.4.
“My horse was full of pace the whole way and around the last turn I had a pretty good feeling that he was going to go all the way,” said Miller, who had never won the Metro before during his Hall of Fame career.
“It’s a great feeling, I can’t explain it. I had been wanting to win this race a long time too.”
De Los Cielos Deo blasted from post-ten to claim the early-lead, posting a :27.1 opener. Race-favourite Captain Ahab and driver Andrew McCarthy angled out from sixth heading towards the half, flushing out Stag Party and Miller from fourth.
After reaching the half in :55.4, De Los Cielos Deo faced final-turn pressure from Stag Party, while Captain Ahab was situated second-over. De Los Cielos Deo held a length advantage at three-quarters in 1:23.3.
In the stretch, Stag Party powered by De Los Cielos Deo and stormed away to the blowout victory. Captain Ahab, who came into the Metro final undefeated, came up empty in the lane after getting the perfect trip and faded to finish ninth.
Semi Tough finished second after a two-hole trip, while Shake That House and Lyons Night Hawk finished third and fourth, respectively.
“My plan all along was to try and get Andy (McCarthy) in front of me,” said Miller about his trip with Stag Party. “He wouldn’t take the bait and he ended up following me second-over, which I wasn’t happy about.”
A son of Bettors Delight, Stag Party’s dominating effort gives trainer Coleman her second Metro title to go with Sportswriter record performance in 2009.
“From day one he’s been real special,” said Coleman of Stag Party. “He stressed me out a little bit the last couple of weeks. I don’t think I’ve ever had a race where I honestly text the owners and said we might be scratching tonight and go on to win the final the next week.”
“His issues were all just colt soreness. I literally x-rayed this horse top to bottom two or three weeks in a row…I was ready to tell them we’re shutting him down for the season and bringing him back as a three-year-old.”
A $125,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Stag Party has now earned $642,489 for owners John Fielding, Mac Nichol, McKinlay & Fielding and West Wins Stable.
“We’ve had a lot of luck in this business and we’ve had a ton of fun and this one is really special because my thoroughbred partner Fred Hertrich actually bred the horse so it makes it extra special,” said John Fielding after capturing his first Metro. “I’ve had horses with Casie for a couple years now and been absolutely thrilled with the job she does. Her and her team have done an amazing job and this colt is really special.”
Coleman is currently undecided on when Stag Party’s next start will be but did note the Metro winner will be pointed towards the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and Breeders Crown.
Stag Party paid $5.30 to win.