TORONTO, August 28, 2019 – Three-time Kenora Stakes winner Pink Lloyd was among the star-studded cast that delivered winning performances during the seventh annual Canadian Millions Sales Stakes Night, sponsored by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. (OLG), on Wednesday at Woodbine Racetrack.
The stakes-filled program showcased graduates of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s yearling sale competing for $750,000 in purses across six events.
$100,000 OLG HALTON STAKES PRESENTED BY TIPPERARY EQUESTRIAN
Cooler Mike and jockey Luis Contreras kicked off the stakes action with a 2-1/4-length victory over 1-1/2 miles on the grass in the Halton Stakes for three-year-olds and up.
Cooler Mike took the lead heading down the backstretch and shook clear of stalkers Eskiminzin and Ethical Funds with a half-mile to go. He completed the route in 2:27.77 over firm turf.
The four-year-old Giant Gizmo-Executive Affair gelding, who was a runner-up in the Simcoe Stakes (won by Eskiminzin) as a juvenile and hit the board in both the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, broke through for his first stakes win.
Cooler Mike was cross-entered in the Elgin Stakes, but his connections ultimately opted for the E.P. Taylor Turf test tonight and that decision proved to be a winning one.
“We changed our mind about 50 times in the last week,” said trainer Nick Nosowenko, who co-owns and bred the chestnut gelding with his father Mike. “It really came down to if we got rain last night. It’s been so hard and I wasn’t going to run him if it was very hard like it’s been all week so I think we got lucky and he ran a huge race. He loved it out there.”
Sent postward as the 2-1 second choice, Cooler Mike paid $6.70 to his backers while winning for the fourth time in 16 career starts. Full Extreme and Prideofdistinction came on to finish second and third, respectively. Defending champion English Illusion, the 8-5 favourite, finished fifth in his season’s debut behind Eskiminzin.
$100,000 OLG KENORA STAKES PRESENTED BY HBPA OF ONTARIO
The win streak continued for Entourage Stable’s legendary Pink Lloyd in the six-furlong Kenora sprint for three-year-olds and up on the Tapeta.
With Eurico Rosa Da Silva aboard, the Robert Tiller-trained millionaire earned his third straight Kenora title and fifth straight stakes win in as many starts this year.
Carrying 127 pounds, Pink Lloyd collared his front-striding stablemate Circle of Friends at the top of the stretch then took off to score by 5-1/4 lengths in 1:08.28.
“That is his 18th stakes win, his 21st win of his career, he’s better than ever,” said Hall of Famer trainer Tiller, describing the seven-year-old son of Old Forester out of Gladiator Queen as the greatest horse he’s ever trained. “He’s won multiple stakes multiple times. If this is not the greatest sprinter there ever was in Canada and if this is not the next Horse of the Year twice in the last three years… I believe he will be. Watch out.”
The overwhelming 1-9 favourite returned $2.30 to win. Circle of Friends settled for the runner-up role after setting opening fractions of :22.73 and :44.78. Magical Man edged out Hold’emforransom in a photo for show. Dixie’s Gamble and Lokinforpursemonee completed the field.
Pink Lloyd, who was bred by John Carey, has a full-brother selling in tomorrow’s CTHS Canadian Premier Yearling Sale as Hip #103.
$100,000 OLG ALGOMA STAKES PRESENTED BY CTHS (ONTARIO)
Piano Bar Racing’s Red Cabernet followed up her Eternal Search Stakes victory two weeks ago with another winning performance in the Algoma for fillies and mares over 1-1/16 miles on the Tapeta.
Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson was able to get Red Cabernet into a nice rhythm stalking pacesetter Crumlin Queen through comfortable early fractions before winning a four-way stretch duel into steady wind. Joined on the outside by Bear Paw and a drifting Alice’s War, Red Cabernet forged 1-1/4 lengths ahead as the wire approached to win in 1:45.45 for trainer Ian Black.
“I think she a good horse. She’s versatile, she does the best every time she comes out to play,” said Wilson. “My biggest concern was what the pace structure was going to be like early. I was hoping to have a little more in front of me to cover her up, but she stalked the pace happy, you know, outside of cover, and she was confident and gained the whole way down the lane.”
Bred by Paul Buttigieg, the five-year-old Signature Red-Gold Leaf Rose mare now has seven wins from 24 starts.
She paid $6.10 to win as the 2-1 second favourite. Bear Paw was the bridesmaid for the second year in a row in this event finishing second over Crumlin Queen. March of Dreams closed from last to edge out Alice’s War for fourth-place.
$175,000 OLG SIMCOE STAKES PRESENTED BY SAMUEL, SON AND CO. LIMITED
In just two career starts, two-year-old gelding Rockcrest has provided his trainer Nigel Burke with a pair of memorable victories. Following a maiden-breaking win for both horse and trainer on July 28, a victory in tonight’s Simcoe marked their first in stakes action.
“It’s an indescribable feeling so I’m just going to enjoy the moment and celebrate,” said Burke, who trains the Old Forester-Saint Judy gelding for longtime owner Paul Mouttet.
With Sahin Civaci aboard for the Tapeta test over 6-1/2 furlongs, Rockcrest sprang into action on the final turn, sweeping by leader Forester’s Fortune and holding 3-1/4 lengths clear at the finish in 1:18.14.
“He saw the outside horse and he ducked in a little bit [down the backside] but he does that sometimes in the mornings as well,” said Civaci, who picked up his first local stakes win. “I sat off the pace and I had a good position, so I was happy with that. Down the lane, he just came running so I’m really happy.”
Overlooked at 8-1, Rockcrest returned $19.10 for the mild upset. Red Astaire won the photo for place over the 7-5 favourite Goldmine Cat and survived the stewards’ inquiry involving a jockey’s claim of foul by Pinky Dude’s rider for action at the quarter-pole.
Rockcrest was bred by Northern Dawn Stables Inc., and purchased for $17,000 at the yearling sale.
$175,000 OLG MUSKOKA STAKES PRESENTED BY CTHS (ONTARIO)
Blessed Truly scored a maiden-breaking victory in the Muskoka filly companion race, bringing his connections more Canadian Millions Sales Stakes success.
“It looks like somehow I am blessed on this particular night and I want it to continue so that means I’ll have to buy another horse tomorrow,” said owner Derek Chin, who won last year’s Simcoe with Blessed Two and the Algoma courtesy of Trini Brewnette. “It’s very enjoyable, and a very beautiful night.”
Gelato Amore got the first call out of the gate, but the Kevin Attard-trained Blessed Truly quickly raced to the front and extended her lead approaching the final turn before pouring it on the stretch for a blowout victory in 1:16.51.
Eurico Rosa Da Silva was aboard for his second stakes win of the night after steering Pink Lloyd to a third Kenora win.
With blinkers on for her second career start, Blessed Truly was the 7-2 second choice and paid $9.40 to win. Tara Dawn rallied wide and chased the winner home five lengths behind in second-place while 3-5 favourite She’s a Dream finished third.
Bred by Ron Clarkson, the Souper Speedy-Cumulonimble filly was a $90,000 yearling sale purchase and is a half-sister to this year’s Queen’s Plate champion One Bad Boy.
“She had the class, she had the looks and the presence,” said Chin. “Of course, we didn’t know at that time her brother would win the Queen’s Plate so the mare is doing very well. I think her sister is Ms Bad Behavior and she has won over $300,000 at Santa Anita so it looks good. Everything hopefully points to a very nice horse in the making.”
$100,000 OLG ELGIN STAKES PRESENTED BY CTHS (ONTARIO)
Defending champion Kingsport earned millionaire status winning a three-horse tussle in the Elgin Stakes under Patrick Husbands for trainer Sid Attard and owners Goldmart Farms and Royal Laser Racing Inc.
Thor’s Rocket led briefly out of the gate before Aheadbyacentury took control with Kingsport stalking closely in third throughout the 1-1/16-mile contest on the Tapeta. The tight trio then duked it out down the lane with Kingsport ultimately coming out on top by a head in a final time of 1:44.18. Thor’s Rocket bested Aheadbyacentury by three-quarters of a length.
Kingsport paid $3.40 to win as the race favourite.
The field was reduced to just three starters as Cooler Mike and King and His Court were cross-entered in the Halton and opted to race there with the latter winning on the turf. Split My Pants was scratched.
Kingsport is two-for-two this year having also won the Steady Growth Stakes in mid-June. Lifetime, the seven-year-old Milwaukee Brew-Green Jewel gelding has compiled a record reading 13-7-3 from 33 starts with the lion’s share of the purse pushing his bankroll just over the million-dollar mark in Canadian earnings. He was bred by Richard Moylan.
Kingsport did not return to the winner’s circle as he was pulled up after the race at the three-quarter pole and vanned off.
This year’s CTHS Canadian Premier Yearling Sale kicks off tomorrow (Thursday, Aug. 29) at noon in the Woodbine Sales Pavilion.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes at Woodbine Racetrack on Friday, with first race post time set for 4:05 p.m.