TORONTO, September 19, 2020 – Credit River, a two-year-old son of More Than Ready, was exactly that in making his debut a winning one in Saturday’s $135,000 Ontario Racing Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Breeda Hayes for owner/breeder Hillsbrook Farms (Garnet Williamson), Credit River was the longest shot on the board for the second running of the five-furlong Inner Turf stakes for two-year-olds.
With Emma-Jayne Wilson in the irons, the Ontario-bred broke sixth and last in the sprint, as even-money favourite Amsden and Quick Tempo both broke sharply, and proceeded to go toe-to-toe on the front end, as Souper Classy and Too Legit took up residence in third and fourth, respectively.
The pacesetters continued to duel through a blistering opening quarter-mile timed in :21.43, as Wilson and Credit River endeavored to keep the duo in their sights.
After a half in :45.09, the field began to reel in the fleet-footed front-runners to their outside.
Credit River, still sitting last, was already in high gear, and soon began picking off rivals one-by-one down the lane, storming home to take the Ontario Racing by three-quarters of a length in a time of :57.06.
Sky’s Not Falling was second, while Souper Classy took the show award. Too Legit was fourth, while Quick Tempo, who crossed the wire fifth, was relegated to sixth after interfering with Amsden at the eighth-pole.
“It was a tough task and a tall task – I mean, a first-time starter – but he showed his talent today,” said Wilson. “I just let him get his legs, he got away from there okay, but he’s not nearly as quick as those guys were early and I didn’t expect him to be, so when I gathered him up and asked him to pick it up he didn’t even hesitate… he was all business.”
The victory marked the first stakes crown for Hayes, in what was the trainer’s fourth stakes appearance, and first since 2011.
Multiple stakes-winning rider Wilson was thrilled with the poise Credit River showed down the lane in his curtain-raising race.
“This horse comes by his talent honestly,” said Wilson. “You can see it in the form; his mom [Like a Gem] was a multiple stakes winner that I used to ride here, and one of his siblings [half-sister, Hard Not to Like] was a Grade 1 winner. So to see him flourish on the turf is no surprise.”
Credit River paid $84.20, $16.90 and $7.40, combining with Sky’s Not Falling ($3.70, $3) for a $223.20 (2-3) exactor. A 2-3-1 triactor (Souper Classy, $4 to show) paid $673.20. A $1 superfecta [2-3-1-6], completed by Too Legit, came back $1,113.30. Ready to Repeat, who was cross-entered in the Summer Stakes, will go postward in the Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ Grade 1 race Sunday at Woodbine.