Breaking Lucky picked up his first graded stakes win with a perfect stalking trip in Holiday Monday’s Grade 3 $168,600 Seagram Cup, at Woodbine.
Trained by Reade Baker for owner Gunpowder Farms, the chestnut son of Lookin at Lucky arrived at the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta route for older horses from a second-place run behind Seagram Cup rival Melmich in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes.
Royal Son, who broke outward from the outside post, was pointed to the lead and marked off splits of :24.73 and :48.94 with even-money favourite Are You Kidding, Canada’s champion older horse of 2015, pressing the early pace. Breaking Lucky, patiently handled by Luis Contreras, settled into third position down the back straight while Melmich settled next to last in the field of seven.
Melmich was urged into motion by Eurico Rosa da Silva as Royal Son led the field into the final turn but Are You Kidding Me was first to find the lead with Breaking Lucky hot on his heels. Are You Kidding Me fought bravely to the wire but there was no denying Breaking Lucky, full of run, a 3/4-length victory. Are You Kidding Me held place by a neck over a wide-rallying Melmich. Breaking Lucky covered 1 1/16-miles in a swift 1:42.70.
Contreras, notching his seventh stakes win of the meet, was aboard Breaking Lucky for the first time in the Seagram Cup, taking over from an injured Jim McAleney.
“I was happy the whole way, I just stayed behind the speed and Reade told me to let him kick before everyone else started to make their move. We did and we got the win,” said Contreras. “He (Are You Kidding Me) was very game the whole stretch, but I knew I had a lot of power underneath me.”
It was the first victory for Breaking Lucky since capturing the 2015 edition of the Prince of Wales Stakes, second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, at Fort Erie Race Track. The hard-trying chestnut, out of the Sky Classic mare Shooting Party, had hit the board in five of six outings prior to the Seagram Cup including runner-up efforts in the Grade 2 Eclipse, won by Are You Kidding Me, and Grade 3 Dominion Day, won by Melmich.
Baker noted the move from sophomore ranks to facing older horses is a difficult one.
“It’s a tough move. These are good horses,” said Baker. “If you move too early, Melmich will run you down. If you don’t get close, Are You Kidding Me will outsprint you. It’s tough. It took a perfect trip, but he got it today.”
Breaking Lucky, bred in Ontario by Christine Hayden, banked $108,000 in victory while improving his record to 3-3-3 from 13 starts.
He paid $11.90, $3.70 and $2.60, combining with Are You Kidding Me ($3, $2.30) for a $33.40 (2-6) exactor. A 2-6-5 triactor (Melmich, $2.30 to show) was worth $75.50, while a $1 Superfecta [2-6-5-7 (Royal Son)] came back $106.