TORONTO, September 11, 2019 – Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller has admittedly run out of ways to describe one of Canada’s all-time great sprinters. But he was able to find one more ahead of Saturday’s Grade 3 $125,000 Bold Venture Stakes, at Woodbine.
Over a 26-race career that’s yielded 21 wins, 18 of which are stakes, multiple Sovereign Award recognition, including as Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2017, seven-year-old Pink Lloyd has established himself as a world-class champion, and bona fide fan favourite.
For his conditioner, words of praise have become a seemingly endless string of superlatives.
“You’re running out of words, there’s no doubt about that,” offered Tiller ahead of the 6 1/2-furlong main track Bold Venture. “I know I’m running out of words, that’s for sure. That’s a good sign. He’s a horse from outer space… there’s a new quote for you. He’s doing well and he’s happy. He’s amazing. He’s acting just fine and he looks sharp.”
On Canadian Millions Sales Stakes Night at Woodbine on August 28, Pink Lloyd earned his third straight Kenora crown and fifth straight stakes win in as many starts in 2019.
Bred by John Carey and owned by Entourage Stable, the son of Old Forester rhymed off three straight scores to launch his career in 2016. After fifth and second, respectively, in the Overskate Stakes and Grade 2 Kennedy Road Stakes, Pink Lloyd went on a remarkable added-money win streak.
From April 2017 to June 2018, Pink Lloyd took 11 consecutive stakes, including the 2017 edition of the Kennedy Road. Last year, highlights included victories in the Jacques Cartier Stakes (which he also won this year), and the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes.
Pink Lloyd will be looking for a measure of revenge on Saturday after finishing fifth to Yorkton in the 2018 Bold Venture.
“These are tougher than his last (race) and he’s running back after two-plus weeks,” noted Tiller. “It’s not what we really wanted to do – I like to have at least three weeks, or four, in between his races – but he’s doing great. The weight (128 pounds) and running back that quickly is a concern, but he’s acting just fine.”
Despite such concerns, Tiller is happy his stable star will share in the spotlight on a day that will have the eyes of the racing world focused on Woodbine.
“You know what? That’s just tremendous, and I really hope, wish, and pray that he will show his best. That is a thrill if we could win this race. And if he wins this race, he’d have a shot at being Horse of the Year again. Two out of three years would be pretty good, I’d say. The pressure is on. Every time he runs the pressure is on. But he just keeps coming up big. You have to have racing luck, but he’s acting like his old self.”
Which Tiller hopes translates to another win, this time with an international audience looking on.
“I think he’s better now than he’s ever been.”
The field also includes Curlin’s Honor, who is owned by John Oxley and Breeze Easy LLC, and has a 3-3-3 record from 13 starts. Trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer Mark Casse, the four-year-old son of Curlin won last year’s Woodstock Stakes at Woodbine.
Ikerrin Road is an 11-time winner from 32 starts. The Vito Armata trainee took last year’s Grade 2 Kennedy Road Stakes at Woodbine. The six-year-old gelded son of Iffraaj was bred in Ireland by Gerard Kerin.
O’Kratos, a four-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado, has won four of his 10 lifetime starts for conditioner Darwin Banach. The grey gelding arrives at the Bold Venture off a win at seven panels over the Toronto oval Tapeta on July 28.
Box Arrow Farm’s Sable Island finished second to Pink Lloyd in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes, and comes into the Bold Venture off a strong second-place performance to Silent Poet (who’ll contest the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile) in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes. The four-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding is trained by Gordon Colbourne.
Owned by Gary Broad and trained by Christopher Davis, Tringale will be making his Woodbine debut on Saturday. The dark bay son of Flat Out has three wins and a pair of thirds in 12 career starts. The Kentucky-bred won his previous start, a seven-furlong main track race at Arlington Park on July 7.
Defending Bold Venture champ Yorkton, a five-year-old Ontario-bred son of Speightstown, will try to duplicate his stunning 5 1/4-length score from 2018. Trained by Stuart Simon, the Chiefswood Stable homebred owns a 6-2-2 mark from 23 lifetime races.
The Bold Venture is race three on Saturday’s 12-race card, featuring the Grade 1, $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile. First post is 1:05 p.m.
Fans and can also watch and wager via HPIbet.com.
$125,000 Bold Venture Stakes (Grade 3)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Curlin’s Honor – Tyler Gaffalione – Mark Casse
2 – Pink Lloyd – Eurico Rosa da Silva – Robert Tiller
3 – Tringale – Flavien Prat – Christopher Davis
4 – Sable Island – Gary Boulanger – Gord Colbourne
5 – O’Kratos – Rafael Hernandez – Darwin Banach
6 – Ikerrin Road – Alan Garcia – Vito Armata
7 – Yorkton – Patrick Husbands – Stuart Simon