With a well-timed stretch run, Bourbon Stritta got up at the wire to win the $100,000 Bull Page Stakes for Ontario-sired two-year-old colts on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack.
With Woodbine’s meet-leading jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva working out the winning trip, Bourbon Stritta blazed home from the backfield and edged out Souper Hot to win the six-furlong sprint in 1:11.99 and remain perfect in his first two career starts for owners Danny Lococo and Mary Biamonte.
Stolen Identity, the 3-2 bettors’ choice, sprinted to the lead from the outside post with Souper Hot advancing alongside, and those two took off racing well ahead of the field through fractions of :23.16 and :46.20. Souper Hot overtook the fading favourite entering the stretch, but the Robert Neumann-trained Bourbon Stritta launched his attack on the far outside and got up just in time to prevail by a neck in the photo finish. OLG Simcoe Stakes winner Blessed Two closed well to finish third despite early interference caused by News Flash, who crossed the wire in fourth but was placed eighth after also interfering with Sandretti at the start.
After Bourbon Stritta set a pressured pace en route to winning a five-furlong maiden claiming race in his career debut on July 21, Da Silva opted for an off-the-pace strategy when released from the gate this time out.
“Trust me, this was not in the plans,” said Da Silva, who leads all jockeys with 20 stakes wins this season at Woodbine. “I could not gallop him to the gate today. He was so fresh, feeling so good. I just jogged him to the gate. I thought he would break there and just go to the lead, but he was a little anxious inside the gate. He didn’t have that clear break and the pace was so nice and they were going very, very fast in the lead. In the turn, I looked, I didn’t make any judgement, I said ‘we have a long ride to go here, boy’ and I just started riding, riding, riding and he just started to pick it up and pick it up, pick it up. You know what, we got lucky and we got there.”
Bred in Ontario by Ralph Biamonte, the Old Forester-Ritta gelding is a half-brother to Danny Lococo and Mary Biamonte’s 2013 Bull Page Stakes winner Flashy Margaritta.
Sent postward as the 3-1 second choice, Bourbon Stritta paid $8.40, $4.50 and $3.50 while topping a $2 exacta with Souper Hot ($4.50, $3.30) that was worth $32.70. Blessed Two ($3.40) completed a $1 trifecta worth $57.95 while the superfecta with Summer Retreat returned $407.
Street Chopper, Bens Last Call, Sandretti, News Flash and Stolen Identity completed the order of finish.