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Gretzky the Great game in Greenwood thriller

August 14, 2021

TORONTO, August 14, 2021 – Sovereign Award winner Gretzky the Great delivered a gutsy performance to win Saturday afternoon’s $125,000 Greenwood Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack.

The Greenwood Stakes featured a field of seven three-year-olds, running seven-furlongs on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

Bred by Anderson Farms Ontario, and owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, Gretzky the Great came ready to fight in his Woodbine return and first start since a fifth-place effort in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 27 at Turfway Park. The son of Nyquist, with jockey Kazushi Kimura, gamely fought off County Final and Artie’s Storm down the long E.P. Taylor stretch to win a thrilling contest.

“Top of the stretch, I already saw two horses from the outside, actually I said, ‘oh he’s not today’, but he had extra passion,” said Kimura following the victory. “When I asked him so many times, he (kept) coming back and just keeping a head to them. He just had extra passion.”

Gretzky the Great (inside, #2) fights off Final County (middle, #5) and Artie's Storm (outside, #4) to win Saturday's $125,000 Greenwood Stakes.
Gretzky the Great (inside, #2) fights off Final County (middle, #5) and Artie’s Storm (outside, #4) to win Saturday’s $125,000 Greenwood Stakes. (Michael Burns photo)

Gretzky the Great broke strongly from post-two to run alongside rail starter Red River Rebel through the opening-half mile in :22.56 and :45.02. Taking top spot swinging into the lane, Gretzky the Great was immediately confronted by Artie’s Storm and County Final setting up a long grueling stretch battle. Not to be denied, Gretzky the Great dug in to best his rivals by a head at the finish line. County Final edged Artie’s Storm for second.

The final time was 1:20.70.

Voted Canada’s two-year-old Champion Male at the 2020 Sovereign Awards, Gretzky the Great has now won four of five lifetime starts at Woodbine and is four for eight overall. The Casse student captured last year’s Grade 1 Summer Stakes before concluding his two-year-old campaign with a sixth-place effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. His Woodbine return victory on Saturday improves his 2021 record to a win, third and fifth in three starts.

Gretzky the Great also continued his success on Woodbine’s famous turf course, improving to three for three in races on the E.P. Taylor.

A $2 win ticket on Gretzky the Great returned $4.90. The $2 exacta with County Final paid $26.50, while a $2 trifecta concluded by Artie’s Storm returned $81.60.

Live racing continues Sunday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack. The Grade 2 King Edward headlines a 10-race card. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.

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