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Black Hornet returns to defend Vigil title

May 4, 2016

TORONTO, May 4 – Black Hornet, whose last start was a 3/4-length score in the 2015 edition of the Grade III Vigil Stakes, returns off a lengthy layoff to defend his title in Saturday’s $150,000 renewal of the seven furlong sprint, at Woodbine.
Trained by Pat Parente for owners Joey Gee Thoroughbreds and Aldo Ventresca, the now six-year-old son of Pioneering owns a career mark of 5-4-4 from 18 starts.
The versatile dark bay gelding is graded stakes placed on the grass having finished a good second in the 2014 edition of the Grade II Nearctic Stakes, but made his name on the Woodbine main in 2013 with wins in the Queenston, Achievement and Kenora Stakes prior to making the grade in the Vigil last May.
Black Hornet was put on the shelf following his Vigil score with a bruised foot.
“We worked him back off the Vigil and he came up with a foot bruise. The vet recommended three months off and I just opted not to bring him back,” said Parente.
Although a winner on debut in a maiden claiming event back in 2012, Black Hornet does not boast a great record first off the shelf.
“He notoriously usually needs a race,” admitted Parente. “The first race of each year always seems to be a prep. It’s just the way he runs. Hopefully this race will help him out a lot.
“He’s been training since November 1 down at Ocala at Classic Mile,” continued Parente. “He ended up at Gulfstream around February 1 and had been training there before shipping up here to start the year. He’s grown and filled out real nice. He’s much bigger and stronger this year than he has been.”
Parente is hopeful that the winter conditioning may see an improved first-out effort for Black Hornet.
“He’s got a lot of bottom in him. We’ve been going for awhile now and hopefully that helps him. Most other years, we just prepared here and he needed a race,” said Parente.
Black Hornet boasts a trio of sharp works preparing for his first race over the newly-installed Tapeta main track, including a four furlong effort in :46.60 that was ranked second of 103 efforts at the distance on April 30.
“He absolutely loves it,” said Parente of the new surface. “He gets over it better than he was getting over the ‘Poly’. He just glides over it.”
Jesse Campbell will pilot Black Hornet on Saturday.
A strong Vigil lineup includes graded stakes winners Dimension and Stacked Deck.
The British-bred Dimension, trained by Conor Murphy for his Riverside Bloodstock LLC., is no stranger to Woodbine. The dark bay son of Medicean has made six appearances in Canada topped by a 2 1/2-length score in the 2013 edition of the Play the King Stakes, a seven furlong sprint over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
The eight-year-old gelding was winless in four starts last season and was off the board in his 2016 debut, a one-mile turf allowance at Keeneland. The classy fellow will be piloted by David Moran as he looks to regain his top form.
Stacked Deck, Canada’s champion sprinter of 2015, will make his belated seasonal debut after scratching at the gate of the opening day Jacques Cartier Stakes. The dark bay son of First Samurai, trained by Barb Minshall for owner-breeder Bruce Lunsford, earned a career-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure when winning the Grade II Kennedy Road Stakes to complete a tremendous 2015 campaign that also included a victory in the Grade III Bold Venture. Luis Contreras will ride.
The talented field is completed by stakes winners Goodoldhockeygame, Passion for Action and The Great War.
The Vigil is slated as Race 8 on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1 p.m. Saturday also marks the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky. Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:34 p.m. EDT. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIBet.com.
FIELD FOR THE GRADE III VIGIL STAKES
POST / HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER
1 / Stacked Deck / Luis Contreras / Barb Minshall
2 / The Great War / Alan Garcia / Wes Ward
3 / Dimension / David Moran / Conor Murphy
4 / Goodoldhockeygame / Patrick Husbands / Robert Tiller
5 / Passion for Action / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Mike DePaulo
6 / Black Hornet / Jesse Campbell / Pat Parente
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