TORONTO, July 1 – Melmich overcame a slow pace and rallied from last to record a second straight Dominion Day Stakes victory here Saturday.
The Grade 3 Dominion Day, a 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, attracted a field of six which also included Are You Kidding Me, winner of the Sovereign Award for top older male in 2015 and 2016.
Eurico Rosa da Silva, who partnered Melmich in last year’s Dominion Day, was winning his fifth stakes race with the gelding since he was claimed for $20,000 in September of 2014 by trainer Kevin Attard.
“He was just behind Are You Kidding Me,” said Da Silva, who was keeping an eye on that rival while trailing the field early through the opening half-mile. “He was running very, very relaxed. He was very sharp. When I asked him, he just took off from there. He’s a happy horse right now and I’m happy too!”
Melmich, rallying four wide into the stretch, continued to grind away down the lane and prevailed over Gigantic Breeze by 1 ½-lengths. Gigantic Breeze, who was looking for his fourth straight win but stepping up sharply and stretching out from 1 1/16 miles, was very game in defeat.
Gary Boulanger wasted little time sending Gigantic Breeze to the front and maintained a clear lead with Ethical Funds in closest attendance and Are You Kidding Me a couple of lengths back in third. Gigantic Breeze led through a quarter in :25.71, a half in :50.67 and three-quarters in 1:15.09 as the top three remained unchanged. Melmich had started to launch his rally around the turn as Are You Kidding Me, carrying topweight of 126 pounds in his first Tapeta try at 1.25-miles, moved into second place.
Gigantic Breeze hung up the mile clocking of 1:39.27 but Melmich, who had assumed the lead at the eighth pole, got the money in 2:03.48.
The 4-year-old Gigantic Breeze held second money by ¾-lengths over Are You Kidding Me with Scuba another 2 ¼ lengths back in fourth as the 2.85-1 third favorite.
Scuba, who had finished third in last year’s Dominion Day but had defeated Melmich in dirt routes at Belmont and Santa Anita last fall, was within striking distance throughout but came up empty and ended fourth as the 2.85-1 third choice.
Ethical Funds and Thunder Point completed the order of finish. Aldous Snow, who was cross-entered in the Dominion Day and Sunday’s Singspiel, scratched in favor of tomorrow’s Grade 3, 1 ½-mile turf race.
Attard, who conditions Melmich for owners Stephen Chesney and Cory Hoffman, continues to be amazed by his charge’s honesty.
“He tries each and every time,” said Attard. “He’s never really disappointed us. He had a tough campaign last year.“
Melmich was making just his second start of this season after an impressive score at 1 1/16 miles here May 31.
“He had a great comeback race,” said Attard. “I didn’t expect him to run so well, so soon.”
Melmich was 2-1 when favored in the Dominion Day last year but attracted more support this time while returning $4.60, $2.90 and $2.10. Gigantic Breeze ($5.50, $3.40) made for a 7-6 exacta of $26.40.
The 7-6-3 trifecta with Are You Kidding Me( $2.10) was worth $49.20 with Scuba rounding out the 7-6-5-2 superfecta worth $50.00 for a dollar.