TORONTO, July 11, 2021 – Easy Time put forth a strong showing in the $150,000 Marine Stakes for three-year-olds on Sunday, giving trainer Mark Casse a sweep of the Grade 3 stakes this weekend at Woodbine.
Tidal Forces and Haddassah left well with the latter gaining the upper hand after a quarter in :24.49. As they headed down the backstretch, Haddassah pulled clear on top and clocked middle fractions of :48.56 and 1:13.16.
Meanwhile, Easy Time was forwardly placed and stalked the top pair towards the outside. Tidal Forces showed hustle between foes on the turn but levelled off as a three-wide Easy Time went charging past Haddassah down the stretch for the two-length victory.
Easy Time earned his first graded stakes victory, covering the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.62 under Rafael Hernandez.
“It was unbelievable today,” said Hernandez, who was also aboard the Kentucky-bred colt for his victorious career debut at Woodbine last October. “They told me, ‘Raffi, just ride with confidence, get in good position and he’s going to do the rest.’ He did it.”
Easy Time paid $11.10 to win as the 9-2 fourth choice. Keep Grinding, one of four Queen’s Plate eligibles in the race, closed well to finish second while Haddassah held on for third by a neck over Frosted Over, another Kentucky-bred trained by Casse, and Tidal Forces. Candy Overload completed the line up.
Owned by Breeze Easy LLC, the Not This Time-Running Creek colt is now two-for-four in his career.
Sam-Son Farm homebred Tio Magico took the co-featured $125,000 Queenston Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for Canadian-foaled three-year-olds, in front-running fashion with Luis Contreras aboard for trainer Gail Cox.
The Uncle Mo-Magic Broomstick gelding broke sharp and cruised through fractions of :23.85 and :46.95 en route to the 2-1/2-length victory in 1:22.54.
“I just love this guy. I think you haven’t seen the best of him,” said a beaming Contreras after the victory. “He has something that attracts me and makes me feel good.”
Cutting back to seven furlongs after finishing fifth in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race here on June 19, Tio Magico paid $6.50 to win as the 2-1 second choice. The winning effort improved his record to 2-1-1 from eight career starts.
“We’ve always liked this horse a lot,” said Cox. “He ran so well last year, and I think we just probably messed around with his style a little bit. This is how he wants to run, and I think he’ll run a distance like this. His gallop out was huge. So, it was so nice to be able to win like this.”
Tio Magico was a top three Queen’s Plate contender, assessed at 6-1 odds in the Winterbook predictive rankings. When asked about targeting the 1 1/4-mile first leg of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown, which takes place on Sunday, Aug. 22 at Woodbine, Cox said the date would be up for discussion among the connections.
Artie’s Storm angled out wide from mid-pack on the final turn and came on to finish second in the Queenston, with Queen’s Plate eligible Red River Rebel, the 9-5 favourite, chasing from the rail in third. Del Griffith finished fourth and was followed by Master Spy, another Plate contender who pressed the pace near the turn, and Download.
Gretzky the Great was scratched along with Candy Overload, who was cross-entered in the Marine.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes at Woodbine Racetrack on Thursday. A reminder that the new post time of 1:10 p.m. for Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays will go into effect this week. Post time for Fridays will remain at 4:50 p.m.