TORONTO, July 6, 2019 – Jockey Rafael Hernandez completed a sweep of the two-year-old stakes races at Woodbine this weekend when the Roger Attfield-trained Mr. Hustle took Sunday’s featured $100,000 Victoria Stakes.
The popular Attfield student hustled out of the gate with a brief lead between rivals and pressed inside front-runner Old Chestnut down the backstretch before taking over command turning for home. Mr. Hustle then romped away down the lane to record his second straight victory in 1:04.60 over 5-1/2 furlongs with the debuting filly Curlin’s Voyage closing from last to finish second 4-1/4 lengths behind. Longshot Forester’s Fortune was in contention and blew the turn, but still managed to check in third way out near the grandstand side.
Bred in Kentucky by Gail Ray, the Declaration of War-Ready Ready Ready gelding was a $235,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland sale last September for owner William Werner.
“We’ve been working the horse and he’s the kind of horse that has everything,” commented Hernandez after the victory. “He can show his speed and go to the front, he can sit off the pace, he can do anything, he’s such a good horse and Roger’s a great trainer.”
“He’s always trained well and his mental attitude is unbelievable, which is a very good thing when you think they’re a pretty good horse in the first place,” said Attfield, who previously won the 1991 Victoria Stakes with eventual Queen’s Plate champion Alydeed as well as one of the 1995 divisions with Intrepid Son. “He’s always trained and just did whatever I’ve wanted to do with him. We’ve never pushed on him at all and he’s got a lot of ability, no question about that.”
Mr. Hustle, who won his five-furlong career debut on June 16 by more than five lengths, was the even-money favourite and returned $4.20 to win.
“He did that first race so well, he walked back to the barn like an old professional horse and he’s been like that,” noted Attfield. “He came into the paddock today the same way, which is a big plus if he’s going to be a good horse. That mental attitude is very, very important. Hopefully, he goes on and what distance he’s capable of running, I couldn’t tell you, but I’m pretty sure he’ll run two turns no problem.”
Hernandez was also victorious aboard the undefeated two-year-old filly Fast Scene in Saturday’s $100,000 My Dear Stakes for trainer Timothy Hamm.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes on Wednesday evening with an eight-race program that will be capped off by the opening leg of the Woodbine Turf Sprint Series on the new inner turf course. First race post time is set for 6:45 p.m.