TORONTO, June 1, 2019 – Sam-Son Farm’s El Tormenta out-finished the favourites to earn his first stakes victory in Saturday’s co-featured $175,000 Connaught Cup (Grade 2) contested over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course at Woodbine.
El Tormenta raced between horses stalking the front-runners Shakhimat and Hold’emforransom through the opening fractions in the seven-furlong sprint, which were clocked in :23.29 and :44.83. As the field spread across the track and converged on the pacemakers at the top of the stretch, El Tormenta split rivals and out-finished the oncoming favourites, winning in 1:20.29 over firm turf.
Irish-bred Emmaus came up just a neck short with Curlin’s Honor three-quarters of a length back in third. Yorkton, the post time favourite who was out front early before settling into an outer stalking position, finished 4-1/2 lengths behind in fourth over Savage Battle and the early leaders. Eminent Force was scratched.
“This horse was a little rank the last couple times he was here and today he was nice and relaxed,” said winning jockey Luis Contreras. “Gail told me about him. He was fine the whole way, so by the time I asked him to run, he just gave me everything he had. I’m so glad we won the race.”
El Tormenta, who was a runner-up in his only other stakes start in the one-mile Charlie Barley at Woodbine, recorded a pair of wins on the turf last year and now adds a graded stakes victory to his resume.
“He’s been a really nice horse to have and train, but he was just so speedy last year – hard to get him to settle and he certainly did today,” said trainer Gail Cox, who also won back-to-back editions of the Connaught Cup in 2012 and 2013 with Something Extra. “I think he’s just a little more mature this year… This is a big, big step up for him.”
With the lion’s share of the purse, El Tormenta doubled his bankroll, which climbed past the $200,000 mark. The four-year-old Stormy Atlantic-Torreadora gelding has won a third of his nine races lifetime.
Sent postward at odds of 7-1, he returned $16.70 to his backers at the betting windows.
Live Thoroughbred racing continues on Sunday at Woodbine, featuring the $100,000 Bold Ruckus Stakes. First race post time is 1:05 p.m.