TORONTO, May 16 – Stronach Stables homebred Shaman Ghost found his best stride late en route to a stirring victory in Saturday’s $154,600 Grade 3 Marine Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Brian Lynch, the Ghostzapper bay lacked running room at the top of the lane, but was deftly angled out by Rafael Hernandez in time to capture the 1 1/16-miles event for three-year-olds, while taking his first added-money score.
The Marine win boosts Shaman Ghost’s Queen’s Plate credentials as the talented colt continues a win streak that started with a maiden score at Gulfstream on March 14 and was followed by a neck victory in a Keeneland allowance route on April 9.
Bears Personality set a swift early pace in the Marine marking off splits of :24.37 and :48.37 as U S Marshal and Decision Day tracked from a length back. Shaman Ghost, settled in seventh position in the early running, launched his rally through the final turn following the run of an energetic Seventhfleethumor. Seventhfleethumor put away Bears Personality and held a brief advantage late in the lane, but Shaman Ghost overcame traffic trouble and unleashed a tremendous kick to secure a 1/2-length win. Seventhfleethumor held on for place by a 1/2-length over the rallying Danish Dynaformer. Shaman Ghost covered 1 1/16-miles in 1:43.35.
Hernandez was pleased with the trip, despite a little trouble in both turns.
"We were a little wide into the first turn as we were carried out a little bit," said Hernandez. "I wanted to make one run and turning for home I tried to go between horses I but had no room. It took me a little bit of kick, but this is a good horse. I took him out in the clear and he was gone."
Undefeated in three attempts around two turns on the main track, Shaman Ghost will now be among the favourites for the $1-million Queen’s Plate, slated for Sunday, July 5.
"I think a mile and a quarter will be good for him," said Hernandez. "He was very relaxed behind horses and I think the farther he goes the better. He was very good in the stretch."
Shaman Ghost banked $90,000 in victory, while improving his record to three wins from five starts.
He paid $28.30, $10.60 and $6.10, combining with Seventhfleethumor ($20.40, $10.40) for a $388.10 (7-2) exactor. A 7-2-5 triactor (Danish Dynaformer, $4.40 to show) was worth $2858.70, while a $1 Superfecta [7-2-5-6 (U S Marshal)] came back $5407.65.