Touch of Disney, so named for the unique Mickey Mouse marking on his nose, rallied wide down the lane to capture Saturday’s $125,000 Overskate Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Norm McKnight for owner-breeder Bruno Schickedanz, the six-year-old Mr. Scotty gelding rose from claimer to stakes winner with a perfectly timed trip under Omar Moreno. The resurgent chestnut, who was supplemented to the event, arrived in the final stride to put a head in front of multiple stakes winner Kingsport for a narrow score in the seven furlong Tapeta sprint for Ontario-sired stock.
The victory marked the first stakes win of the meet for jockey, trainer and owner.
Boreal Spirit, the 72-1 longest shot on the board in a field of seven, showed the way through splits of :23.05 and :45.50 under pressure from Jacks Escarpment. A group of four including Ted W, previously undefeated mutuel favourite Pink Lloyd, Kingsport and Thor’s Rocket lined up behind the pacesetters into the turn with Touch of Disney, patiently handled by Moreno, content to settle at the back of the pack.
Touch of Disney was urged into motion late in the turn as Boreal Spirit and Jacks Escarpment stubbornly refused to give up the lead to the stalking presence of Kingsport and Pink Lloyd. Kingsport kicked into gear in midstretch to take a narrow advantage but there was no denying the flying Touch of Disney. Jacks Escarpment, 1 3/4-lengths back of Kingsport, stayed on to complete the trifecta, just a neck in front of Boreal Spirit. Touch of Disney stopped the clock in 1:21.51.
Moreno was pleased with the trip he engineered for Touch of Disney.
“He just settled where he wanted to be. I was a little wider than I wanted to be in the turn, but once I asked him I had so much horse underneath me,” said Moreno.
The journeyman rider was piloting the improving chestnut for just the second time. Last time out, Moreno guided Touch of Disney to a similar rallying win in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance tilt over the Woodbine main.
“Last time I got into a little bit of trouble but when I asked him, he gave me his all. It really helped me to get to know him a bit,” said Moreno.
The lightly raced Touch of Disney graduated on September 28, 2014 but raced only twice last season including a runner-up effort in a $7500 claiming event when trained by Abraham Katryan. Schickedanz transferred Touch of Disney to McKnight’s barn for the 2016 campaign and the gelding has responded with three wins from five starts.
“He’s been a great horse all season,” said McKnight. “He’s been training like a good horse. We picked out some allowance races and he happened to get home.
“He’s had some unsoundness issues in the past,” continued McKnight. “But, Bruno has given the horse a lot of time. We’ve done what we had to do this year and he’s responded.”
Touch of Disney, bred in Ontario by his owner, banked $75,000 in victory while improving his record to four wins and four seconds from 10 starts.
He paid $25.30, $6.60 and $4.60, combining with Kingsport ($3.70, $3.10) for a $108.50 (2-4) exacta. A 2-4-8 trifecta (Jacks Escarpment, $3.80 to show) was worth $402, while a $1 Superfecta [2-4-8-7 (Boreal Spirit)] came back $1258.45. Goodoldhockeygame was scratched.