Friday, September 1, 2017
TORONTO, August 30 - Wednesday night's Canadian Millions Sales Stakes program at Woodbine was highlighted by a trio of scores for jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva and a runaway victory by Pink Lloyd in the $125,000 OLG/OR Kenora Stakes, presented by the HBPA of Ontario.
The lucrative card, restricted to horses entered in past local Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (CTHS) Yearling Sales, featured six stakes worth $900,000 in total. The 2017 Canadian Premier Yearling Sale will follow on Thursday, Aug. 31 at 11:30 a.m. at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion.
Pink Lloyd, a serious candidate to be named Canada's Horse of the Year, took his sixth straight win to remain perfect for the season. Trained by Robert Tiller for Entourage Stable, the five-year-old chestnut son of Old Forester previously captured the Jacques Cartier, New Providence, Achievement, Grade 3 Vigil and Shepperton in what has been a remarkable season.
"He was running so relaxed today," said da Silva of Pink Lloyd's 3/4-length Kenora score. "He was a little distracted by the lights, but I knew I had horse. When the other horse (Jacks Escarpment) came to him, he kicked on. I knew it would be very hard for another horse to pass him. He galloped out really strong."
Da Silva, who has piloted Pink Lloyd through all six starts, recently returned from a trip to Japan where he captured the World All-Star Jockeys Challenge. The veteran rider also picked up Canadian Millions night scores on Melmich and Sweater Weather.
Melmich, a multiple graded stakes winner trained by Kevin Attard for owners Stephen Chesney and Cory S. Hoffman, put away a stubborn Field of Courage to earn his third successive Elgin title. Woodbine's leading rider with 111 wins on the campaign, da Silva also guided the Tiller-trained Sweater Weather to a rallying score in the Algoma Stakes.
Aside from da Silva, three different jockeys won stakes: Patrick Husbands, Luis Contreras and Jesse Campbell.
Tiller notched two stakes wins on the card and was joined by conditioners Ashlee Brnjas, Kevin Attard, Stuart Simon and Analisa Delmas
The following are recaps of the six stakes events.
Johnny Bear kicks off Canadian Millions Night with Halton victory
Johnny Bear and jockey Luis Contreras kicked off Canadian Millions Night with a victory in the $125,000 OLG/OR Halton Stakes, presented by Tipperary Equestrian, for three-year-olds and up.
Trained by Ashlee Brnjas for owners Coolbrook Farms and Bear Stables Ltd., Johnny Bear prevailed off a ground-saving trip in 2:27.20 in the turf event expanded this year to a distance of 1-1/2 miles. The six-year-old chestnut gelding followed the popular race leader, Eminent Force (Jesse Campbell), through a mile in 1:40.22 while Ethical Funds (David Moran) loomed outside in second. Down the stretch, Johnny Bear shot through along the rail and opened up three and a quarter lengths on top to score the victory. English Illusion (Eurico Rosa Da Silva) came on to finish second over Eminent Force and Ethical Funds.
Sent postward as the 9-2 third choice in the wagering, Johnny Bear paid $11.40 to win.
Bred in Ontario by Tall Oaks Farm, the son of English Channel out the stakes-winning mare In Return was the 2012 sales topper with a $275,000 price tag. He is a full brother to this year’s Breeders Stakes champion Channel Maker.
Johnny Bear has won half of his eight seasonal starts and now sports a career summary reading 6-7-5 from 32 races with over $325,000 in purse earnings.
Melmich scores an Elgin hat trick
Stephen Chesney and Cory S. Hoffman's Melmich put away Field of Courage in a hard-fought stretch battle to capture his third successive Elgin Stakes, presented by OLG/OR.
Trained by Kevin Attard, the six-year-old Wilko-Little Swoon gelding arrived at the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta route for older horses on a three-race win streak having taken an allowance event as well as the Grade 3 Dominion Day and Grade 3 Seagram Cup earlier in the season.
Melmich, with leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva up, kept his perfect record for the meet intact while taking his fourth win on the trot as he chases a first Sovereign Award as Champion Older Horse.
Star Contender set the early pace in the Elgin marking off splits of :25.19 and :50.79 under pressure from Field of Courage. Melmich, last of six through the clubhouse turn, advanced outside of horses down the back straight to sit third as a brave Star Contender clung to a precarious lead.
Luis Contreras asked Field of Courage for his best run late in the turn and overtook Star Commander, but there was no denying Melmich who grinded out a 3/4-length score in 1:44.97. Field of Courage held place, five lengths in front of Star Contender.
Melmich, bred in Ontario by Andrew Stronach, banked $75,000 in victory. He paid $2.40 to win.
Sweater Weather defends Algoma Stakes title
Frank Di Giulio Jr.’s Sweater Weather used an explosive late kick to successfully defend her title in the $125,000 OLG/OR Algoma Stakes, presented by Adena Springs Canada.
In the evening’s third Canadian Millions sales stakes for fillies & mares three years old and up, Sweater Weather and jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva followed in seventh-place before picking off horses around the final turn and surging to victory by two and a half lengths. The final time was 1:45.73 over 1-1/16 miles on the Tapeta track. Sparkles' Girl (Emma-Jayne Wilson) tracked pacesetter Neshama and finished second while Ellan Vannin (Jerome Lermyte) closed from the backfield to finish third.
Notching her first win of the year in four starts, Sweater Weather paid $8.60 to win as the 3-1 second choice.
Bred in Ontario by Osprey Stable and sold for $39,000 at the 2012 yearling sale, the six-year-old Milwaukee Brew-Susur mare surpassed the half-million dollar earnings mark with her seventh career win from 25 starts.
Da Silva picked up his second straight stakes win on the night in rein to the Robert Tiller trainee.
Summer Sunday strolls to Muskoka score
Summer Sunday raced gate to wire to capture Wednesday night's $201,200 OLG/OR Muskoka Stakes, presented by Signature Red.
Trained by Stuart Simon for owners Anne and William Scott, Summer Sunday arrived at the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for two-year-old fillies with a perfect record from two starts including a last-out score in the Nandi Stakes on August 6.
The Silent Name bay, out of 2007 Champion Two Year Old filly Dancing Allstar, was guided from the inside post by Jesse Campbell and found the front easily through splits of :22.88 and :45.71 as Hell N Wild, Hatch Gate and Clickity Clack tracked her early foot.
Campbell opened up a notch on Summer Sunday at the top of the lane and the filly responded in kind, racing away to a four-length score in 1:17.08. Loopety Loo and Line of Vision rallied from well back to complete the trifecta.
Summer Sunday was purchased for $95,000 at the 2016 Canadian Premier Yearling Sale.
"We liked the whole package,” recalled Simon. “Bill (owner, Scott) liked her pedigree and I liked her physically. She just seemed to have all the goods about her. Bill was pretty adamant about buying her."
Summer Sunday banked $120,000 in victory. She paid $4.30 to win.
Eskiminzin prevails in Simcoe Stakes
Jecara Farms’ homebred Eskiminzin earned his first stakes victory in the $200,000 OLG/OR Simcoe Stakes, presented by Samuel, Son and Co. Limited, for two-year-old colts and geldings.
Ellas My Love (Gary Boulanger) cleared Get My Gist (Jerome Lermyte) after a contested :23.11 first quarter and led through a half in :46.02 and three-quarters in 1:10.92. While Cooler Mike (Luis Contreras) launched his bid turning for home, jockey Patrick Husbands maneuvered Eskiminzin out mid-field and into contention on the far outside. The top three sprinted down the stretch in a battle to the wire, with Eskiminzin ultimately getting up in the final strides for the three-quarter length victory in 1:17.41 over 6-1/2 furlongs on the Woodbine main. Cooler Mike edged out Ellas My Love in a photo for place.
Eskiminzin paid $8.90 to win as the 7-2 third choice on the toteboard.
Trained by Analisa Delmas, the Cold Harbor-Ms. Forum colt won his career debut on July 9 and was a runner-up in the Clarendon Stakes on August 5 prior to his Simcoe score.
Pink Lloyd keeps streak alive in Kenora thriller
Entourage Stable's Pink Lloyd remained undefeated in six starts in 2017 with a gritty score in Wednesday's $125,000 Kenora Stakes, presented by HBPA of Ontario.
With leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva up for trainer Robert Tiller, Pink Lloyd arrived at the six furlong Tapeta sprint from scores in the Jacques Cartier, New Providence, Achievement, Grade 3 Vigil and Shepperton Stakes in what has been a remarkable season.
Pink Lloyd, a serious candidate to be named Canada's Horse of the Year, was quick from the gate and tracked Phil in the Blank through a sharp opening quarter of :22.84. Pink Lloyd, comfortable outside of the pacesetter, advanced late in the turn through a :46.12 half to emerge with a narrow lead.
Jacks Escarpment, with Luis Contreras up, rallied with purpose as Pink Lloyd straightened away and it was a case of 'us and them' as the duo separated in a fight to the wire. Under urging from da Silva, a brave Pink Lloyd found another gear to secure a 3/4-length win to keep his streak alive. The chestnut stopped the clock in 1:09.29.
The leading rider agrees the five-year-old Pink Lloyd has a shot at earning Horse of the Year honours off his current form.
"It's a big possibility," said da Silva. "He's a nice horse and lucky to have good people behind him."
Pink Lloyd, bred in Ontario by John Carey, paid $2.10 to win.