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Banff wins Lake Superior thriller

October 21, 2022

TORONTO, October 21, 2021 – The $100,000 Lake Superior Stakes, part of the Ontario Sire Heritage Series, saw Banff edge a game and equally determined Hunt Master, Friday at Woodbine.

The 7-panel turf event for 3-year-old colts and geldings is part of the Ontario Sired Heritage Series (see Thunder Bay recap for more info).

After an early tussle for top spot, Giant Teddy grabbed the lead with Bossy Holiday and Uncle Joe in close pursuit. Sahin Civaci, aboard Banff, kept the gelding at the back of the pack through an opening split of :23.40.

Giant Teddy was on top by two lengths through a half in :45.63, as Uncle Joe maintained his spot in second, and Hunt Master took over third, while Banff, supplemented to the race, could still see them all.

When the field straightened for the long stretch run, Giant Teddy was still on top, but Hunt Master loomed a major threat as did Banff, who began to roll from the back.

Mid-way down the lane, Banff, the 3-5 choice, and Hunt Master, at 10-1, commenced their compelling battle to the finish line, both horses and their respective riders not giving an inch.

It was Banff who put a head in front with one final surge, eking out a gutsy win over a tenacious foe. Uncle Joe was third, a neck ahead of Full Screen.

The final time was 1:22.05 over good ground.

“I was a little worried,” said trainer Martin Drexler, of his horse having to come from well back. “We did kind of want to be off of it. He seems to make that run every time, so I was hoping the turf was playing fair enough to make up the distance.”

Bred by Hill ‘N’ Dale Farms, the dark bay, a $25,000 claim earlier in the season, recorded his first stakes win and delivered the same for owners Douglas and Bridgette Cheetham.

“Really nice horse,” praised Douglas Cheetham. “My wife had her eye on this horse from the beginning. He’s a lovely horse. I’m speechless.”

A son of Silent Name (JPN)-El Tara, Banff, now 4-1-0 from seven starts, paid $3.20 for the win.

“He likes the grass a lot,” said Drexler. “It just kind of worked out that he took to the grass. He’s a developing 3-year-old who is getting better and better.”

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