TORONTO, September 15, 2019 – Old Chestnut, a two-year-old son of Speightstown, made it two straight scores after taking Sunday’s $100,000 Ontario Racing Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Mark Casse for owner/breeder Live Oak Plantation, Old Chestnut came into the inaugural running of the five-furlong Toronto oval inner turf stakes off a smart maiden-breaking victory on the same course and same distance on August 9.
Today, under Tyler Gaffalione, the chestnut colt, sent off as the favourite, got out the gates quickly, and took the lead with authority. Aye Aye Sir, second choice on the toteboard, tracked the pacesetter to the outside through an opening quarter-mile timed in a sharp :21.77.
It was status quo between the top pair through a half-mile in :45.24. Down the lane, Gaffalione and Old Chestnut widened their advantage with ease, going on to convert a 1 ½-length lead at the stretch juncture into a 3 ¾-length triumph, in a time of :56.85 over ‘firm’ ground.
Barilko rallied for second, with Aye Aye Sir holding on to third by a neck over Goldmine Cat, another Casse trainee. Clear Destination, Divided Sky and Miss Understanding completed the order of finish. Chaos Kid was scratched.
“He has so much power,” praised Gaffalione, who teamed with the Casse pupil Real Money to take a five-panel inner turf race in his first Canadian start at Woodbine on Saturday. “He’s a very kind horse, very smart. He shot right out, and took care of business.”
Casse was pleased with the second consecutive strong showing from Old Chestnut, and with the decision to opt for the Ontario Racing instead of the Grade 1 Summer Stakes, also on tap at Woodbine on Sunday.
“I thought about it for a little bit, and then thought maybe go here and then go to Keeneland (target there would be the Indian Summer, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In,” at 5 ½ furlongs on turf). We won it last year with Strike Silver. That’s what kind of swayed my decision to come here. We’d go here, and then hopefully with a good performance there, he’d go to the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Florida-bred made his debut at Woodbine on July 7, finishing fifth in 5 ½-furlong Victoria Stakes.
Old Chestnut paid $4.50, $3.10 and $2.10, combining with Barilko ($6, $3) for a $30 (4-1) exactor. A 4-1-5 triactor (Aye Aye Sir, $2.60 to show) paid $74. A $1 superfecta [4-1-5-2], completed by Goldmine Cat, came back $150.25.