TORONTO, September 22, 2022 – Secret Reserve, a 4-year-old son of Giant Gizmo-Smart Suzie, chases his second straight stakes score, this time in Sunday’s Grade 3 $150,000 Vigil, at Woodbine.
Fresh off a triumph in the Grade 3 Bold Venture on August 13, Secret Reserve, trained by Mike Mattine, will look to add another stakes score to his stat sheet when he takes on eight rivals in the 6-furlong main track sprint for 3-year-olds and up.
The dark bay, owned by Carlo D’Amato and Stacey Van Camp, has compiled a mark of 5-1-1 from 10 career starts, which includes victories in last year’s Elgin and Lake Superior Stakes, along with a second in the Lake Ontario.
Mattine points to the gelding’s most recent performance as one of his top efforts to date.
“It was a really nice effort,” said the veteran conditioner. “He came with a nice run at the end and was really running well down the lane. I thought it was an excellent all-round effort. Eswan [jockey, Flores] was really happy with how the horse ran. It was Eswan’s first Woodbine stakes win, so it was extra special for him too. Obviously, we were all happy with the result.”
Secret Reserve won at first asking in what was the only start of his 2-year-old campaign, a 2 ½-length victory at 5 panels over the Toronto oval Tapeta on September 12, 2020.
After a fifth to launch his 3-year-old season, Secret Reserve then won three consecutive starts.
“We liked him right away,” said Mattine. “He trained well early on and really started to put things together quickly. He is one of those horses that’s easy to train, easy to be around, and is all business when he’s on the track. Definitely the type of horse you love to have in your barn.”
A disappointing sixth in the 1 1/16-mile Steady Growth last December was followed by a seventh in the 6-furlong Jacques Cartier on May 7 to open up his 2022 season.
Third in his next outing, the 6-furlong Ontario Jockey Club on June 19, Secret Reserve pulled off the 10-1 upset in the 6 ½-panel Bold Venture, a rallying half-length score in 1:16.19.
“He came out of that race in great shape and he’s coming into the race well,” offered Mattine. “When you look at his record, he’s only been out of the top three just three times, and he had some excuses in those ones. That last race was really nice, so hopefully, he can step up again and go out there and have another strong effort.”
Trainer Barb Minshall won three straight editions of the Vigil, two with Kiridashi (1996-97) and the other with Sea Wall (1995). Pink Lloyd won four straight runnings, from 2017-20.
The Vigil is slated as race 8 on Sunday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1:10 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
FIELD FOR THE GRADE 3 VIGIL STAKES POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
1 – Forester’s Fortune – Daisuke Fukumoto – Rodney Barrow
2 – Clayton – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard
3 – Warp Ride – Justin Stein – Andrew Smith
4 – Red River Rebel – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard
5 – Candy Overload – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
6 – Lucky Score – Leo Salles – Willie Armata
7 – Avie’s Flatter – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
8 – Secret Reserve – Eswan Flores – Mike Mattine
9 – Rockcrest – Keveh Nicholls – Nigel Burke
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms