TORONTO, November 21, 2020 – It looked as though Field Pass would be standing on the sidelines rather than the winner’s circle, but a late burst of speed netted the son of Lemon Drop Kid top prize in a thrilling edition of the $134,000 Ontario Derby (Grade 3), Saturday at Woodbine.
Ridden by Kazushi Kimura, Field Pass found a seam in deep stretch and recorded a one-length win as the 5-2 second choice, as he held off Breeders’ Stakes champ Belichick and a game Malibu Mambo to win the 1 1/8-mile added-money event. Mutuel favourite, Mighty Heart, who won the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, finished fourth.
It was Mighty Heat who seized control of the three-year-old race early on, with Malibu Mambo, Field Pass and Dune of Pilat keeping tabs on the Maryland-bred grey through an opening quarter-mile in :24.30 and a half-mile clocked in :47.92.
As Rafael Hernandez urged Mighty Heart to continue his front-running ways, Malibu Mambo, under Justin Stein, and Belichick, with Luis Contreras in the irons, began to circle in on the leader. Meanwhile, Field Pass found himself in traffic trouble, as Kimura worked to find an opening with the Three Diamonds Farm silk bearer.
In deep stretch, Kimura and Field Pass bulled their way between Belichick and Malibu Mambo en route to the Michael Maker trainee’s sixth career win in 15 starts.
The well-traveled colt covered the distance in an impressive 1:48.35, just missing the track record of 1:48.24 established by Global Access on September 28, 2019.
“My planning was that I didn’t want to get too forward, but I didn’t want to send him to the front,” said Kimura. “That was the perfect position, just waiting for room.”
The win was the fifth from nine starts on the campaign for Field Pass, who now has a trio of Grade 3s (the others are this year’s runnings of the Jeff Ruby Steaks, and Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes).
He arrived for his first Woodbine start after back-to-back finishes in a pair of Grade 2 events, the American Turf Stakes on September 5 at Churchill Downs, and the Twilight Derby on October 18 at Santa Anita.
With the Ontario Derby win, Field Pass, who broke his maiden in his second start on July 13, 2019 at Saratoga, is 6-2-3 from 15 starts.
“Such a classy horse,” praised Kimura. “I’ve watched him many times, winning replays. He’s nice, a nice horse.”
Field Pass paid $7.70, $4.50, and $2.80, while Belichick returned $5.30 and $3.40. Malibu Mambo, the 2020 Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite, paid $3.90 to show. The 1-2 exactor paid $27.60, while a 1-2-8 triactor came back $144. A $1 Superfecta of 1-2-8-6 (Mighty Heart) returned $214.55.