TORONTO, November 6, 2022 – Who’s the Star, a 4-year-old son of Tonalist-Shine Forth, lived up to his name once again in winning the Grade 2 $177,050 Autumn Stakes on Sunday at Woodbine.
Trained by Mark Casse for owner M Racing Group, LLC, came into the 1 1/16-mile main track race for 3-year-olds and up having notched two stakes scores in his past three races.
And while it didn’t appear he would be able to pull the rabbit out of his hat this time, a little late race magic and a strong ride from Emma-Jayne Wilson added another stakes title to the bay’s stat sheet.
Mighty Heart, Canada’s two-time Horse of the Year (in both 2020 and 2021) was guided to the front into the first turn, followed by Treason, Harlan Estate and Money Printer, while Who’s the Star sat last in the field of 10.
After taking his rivals through an opening quarter in :23.59, Mighty Heart was quickly engaged by Treason, who then struck front en route to a half reached in :46.78.
Treason and Mighty Heart continued their tete-a-tete into the turn for home with the former gaining the upper hand as the field straightened for home.
Midway down the lane, War Bomber (IRE) came calling and wore down the leader, but was confronted soon after by Who’s the Star, seventh at the stretch call and rolling.
At the wire, Who’s the Star got up to record a half-length triumph in a time of 1:41.10 on the Tapeta. War Bomber (IRE) was second, Novo Sol (BRZ) was third and Treason fourth.
“Inside speed was playing, it’s been playing good on the inside all week,” said Wilson, who was joined by her daughters, Avery and Grace, in the winner’s circle. “But speed started to carry a lot more and I was a little bit concerned. But on paper, there was a lot of conflicting speed as well. When they cut the half in :46 and change, my guy’s going to come running every time. He comes home fast, and he came home fast today.
“He’s huge. He’s not a small horse, so he takes a little bit to get his legs underneath him. Some horses, they can quicken really fast within two jumps, some horses quicken a little longer. He takes a little longer to get going, but when he does, that kick is vicious.”
It was the sixth lifetime win, accompanied by a second and two thirds from 16 starts for the gelding bred in Kentucky by Oscar and John Penn.
Who’s the Star, sent off as the 3-1 choice, paid $8.50 for the win.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms