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Big-time performance from Big Invasion in Grade 2 Nearctic 

October 8, 2023

TORONTO, October 8, 2023 – Big Invasion, who had been entered in Sunday’s Nearctic (G2T) after being programmed for Saturday’s Belmont Turf Sprint, left New York for Woodbine in search of firmer going. 

And while the turf here ended up being listed as “yielding,” downgraded following some afternoon rains, Big Invasion appeared to relish the footing as he rallied under jockey Dylan Davis to prevail by a head in the $250,000 sprint for 3-year-olds and upward. 

“He handled the ground well, that was no question,” said Davis, who had picked up the mount on Big Invasion for trainer Christophe Clement. “I had to settle on into the two-path into the turn and back out. He responded great for us and fought tooth and nail to the wire. I love him. I’ve been watching him all year round in New York and in Florida, he’s a nice, big, strong horse.”  

Big Invasion was sitting seventh early as Masen (GB) led through a quarter mile in :22.32, pressed to his inside by Remuda, and began to improve his position as that pair reached the half in :45.33. 

Looming into serious contention as the field turned for home and the front-runners began to falter, Big Invasion was closing in on surprise 104-1 shot leader Rockcrest with a furlong remaining and outlasted a plethora of closers to reach the wire in 1:11.31 and return $9.60 as the lukewarm choice. 

Lucky Score and Ice Chocolat (BRZ), both conditioned by Mark Casse, were among those flying late and emerged with second and third money, respectively, a head apart. 

Dhabab (IRE), who had trailed early, also finished strongly to miss show money by just a nose. Dream Shake was next, another head back and a head before Rockcrest, who in turn had a nose on Oceanic. 

War Bomber was eighth, a neck behind Oceanic and beaten three-quarters of a length for all the money. Masen, County Final, Jazz Hands, Last American Exit and Remuda rounded out the order of finish in the field of 13. 

Big Invasion and jockey Dylan Davis winning the Nearctic Stakes on October 8, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)
Big Invasion and jockey Dylan Davis winning the Nearctic Stakes on October 8, 2023 at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Racing on going other than firm for the first time in his 14-race career, Big Invasion notched his second graded stakes score for owners Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. 

The colt by Declaration of War had won Saratoga’s Grade 3 Quick Call last summer and now sports an overall record of 8-3-1, which also includes five listed stakes wins. 

Big Invasion had traveled to the UK this June for Ascot’s Queen Elizabeth Jubilee (G1T), finishing up the track in that difficult six-furlong fixture, but rebounded with a solid effort in Saratoga’s 5 ½-furlong Harvey Pack Stakes five weeks ago and topped that performance here in the Nearctic. 

“He’s a cool horse and he’s got natural speed,” said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. “The question we had today was the ground. We were not sure about the ground, but he was pure class. He is a top-class horse and today proved that even on that kind of ground he can be effective.”  

Bill Tallon, for Woodbine Communications 

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