TORONTO, June 20 – Pender Harbour, off since his impressive Bunty Lawless score last October, returns to action in Sunday’s Grade 2 $200,000 King Edward Stakes, presented by TVG, at Woodbine.
Pender Harbour, a chestnut son of Philanthropist trained by Mike DePaulo, earned honours as Canada’s champion three-year-old male after winning two-thirds of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales & Breeders’ Stakes, in 2011.
Last season, as a four-year-old, Pender Harbour continued to be competitive while racing against graded company finishing second in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes to Hunters Bay; third in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes, defeated less than two lengths by King Edward rival Riding the River; and fourth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes, won by Forte Dei Marmi.
DePaulo was particularly impressed with Pender Harbour’s effort in the Dominion Day when the chestnut pushed champion older horse Hunters Bay to the limit.
“He was excellent in the Dominion Day when second to Hunters Bay. He made that horse run a little bit,” said DePaulo.
Bred in Ontario by Gardiner Farms Limited, Pender Harbour was perfect in three 2012 starts in restricted company winning the Steady Growth, Elgin & Bunty Lawless Stakes.
Pender Harbour had chips removed from his back ankles over the offseason and has trained well for his seasonal debut.
“He’s been training forwardly and a mile on the turf is a decent distance for him,” said DePaulo. “He’s won the Bunty Lawless twice going a mile on the grass. He turfs real well so it’s a good place to get him started and see where we’re at.”
Although Pender Harbour will face open company in the grassy one-turn mile King Edward, the chestnut’s best efforts, of late, have come on the grass including the last two starts of 2012 in the Elgin and Bunty Lawless – – the latter effort earning a lofty 94 Beyer Speed Figure.
In the Bunty Lawless, Pender Harbour pressed the early pace under Luis Contreras before taking command at the top of the lane en route to a 2 1/2-length victory, stopping the clock in 1:36.83.
DePaulo is cautiously optimistic about his chances in Sunday’s King Edward.
“We’ll shift some weight. In the Bunty Lawless he carried 126 pounds and we’ll get in with 119 pounds here. Still, he may need a race,” said DePaulo, who is looking forward to another strong campaign. “Hopefully he’ll race well in some open races again and maybe win one.”
Eurico Rosa da Silva will take over aboard Pender Harbour on Sunday as Contreras pilots Prospective.
Casse sends out a pair of John C. Oxley starters in the competitive nine-horse field including Grade 3 Ohio Derby champ Prospective as well as Lockout, a two-time turf winner.
Prospective made his first lifetime start on the Woodbine turf when second, defeated less than two lengths, in a maiden allowance sprint won by Salvatore G.
Since then, the well-travelled son of Malibu Moon has posted seven wins including scores at Tampa Bay Downs in the Pasco Stakes and Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby; at Thistledown, in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby; at Delta Downs, in the Delta Mile; as well as at home at Woodbine with wins in the Grade 3 Grey and Victoria Park Stakes.
Last time out, Prospective finished third in an allowance route over the Woodbine ‘Poly’.
Lockout, a four-year-old son of Limehouse, sports a record of 2-1-1 from six turf starts. He earned a career-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Remington Green Stakes on September 20, at Remington Park. Gary Boulanger will ride the dark bay colt.
Defending King Edward champion Riding the River, who posted a bullet five-panel workout in :59.40 over the Woodbine main on June 16, will be heard from in the stretch run over the expansive E.P Taylor Turf Course.
Riding the River, a six-year-old son of Wiseman’s Ferry trained by Dave Cotey, captured a pair of Grade 2 events, the King Edward and Nijinsky Stakes, at Woodbine last season with dramatic stretch runs orchestrated by jockey Todd Kabel.
In his 2013 debut, Riding the River rallied from off the pace to be second, defeated less than a length by Something Extra, in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup, over a distance of seven furlongs.
The classy Riding the River will once again by partnered by Kabel as the gelding looks to add to an impressive turf resume of three wins and three second-place finishes.
Hotep, trained by Malcolm Pierce for Sam-Son Farms, boasts a productive record of one win and three second-place finishes in seven starts over the Woodbine lawn.
The six-year-old son of A.P. Indy, opened his campaign a troubled fourth at Keenland in a one-mile turf allowance. Last time out, with Emma-Jayne Wilson up, Hotel rallied to be fifth, defeated less than three lengths, in the Connaught Cup.
Valentino Beauty, Incredicat, So Long George and Any Given Royal complete the field.
The King Edward Stakes is slated as race 8 on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on the card via Horseplayer Interactive.
FIELD FOR THE GRADE 2 KING EDWARD STAKES
POST / HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER
1 / Valentino Beauty / Edgar Prado / Barbara Minshall
2 / Riding the River / Todd Kabel / David Cotey
3 / Pender Harbour / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Mike DePaulo
4 / Incredicat / Steve Bahen / Ian Black
5 / So Long George / Tyler Pizarro / John Charalambous
6 / Hotep / Emma-Jayne Wilson / Malcolm Pierce
7 / Prospective / Luis Contreras / Mark Casse
8 / Lockout / Gary Boulanger / Mark Casse
9 / Any Given Royal / Jesse Campbell / Robert Martin