John C. Oxley’s Lockout rallied wide down the lane to capture Saturday’s $212,800 Grade 2 Connaught Cup, at Woodbine.
Trained by Mark Casse and patiently ridden by Gary Boulanger, Lockout overcame a six-month layoff to win the seven furlong sprint over an E.P. Taylor Turf Course rated as ‘good.’
Dimension missed the break and Conquest Top Gun was a step slow leaving the gate in the Connaught Cup as River Seven and Excaper, the reigning champ, burst to the lead through the rain setting splits of :23.59 and :47.25. Lockout saved ground through the early running from the back of the pack as Dimension and Conquest Top Gun rushed up to secure position.
Excaper, under David Moran, took command at the top of the lane as Justin Stein urged Phil’s Dream into motion with the advancing Lockout angling inside to outside to find running room. The four contenders spread across the track in the late running with Lockout, widest of all, finding the wire first for a one-length win. Phil’s Dream stayed on for place, a head in front of River Seven. Lockout covered seven furlongs in 1:22.64.
Lockout, a winner of the Remington Green Stakes at Remington Park in 2012, came into the Connaught Cup with multiple graded stakes placed status including a second-place run in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes at Woodbine last season.
The victory marked the second week in a row that Casse and Boulanger teamed up to win a turf stake at Woodbine, following up on Sky Treasure’s score in last Saturday’s Grade 2 Nassau Stakes.
Lockout, bred in Kentucky by Columbiana Farm, banked $120,000 in victory while improving his record to 6-7-2 from 23 career starts.
He paid $10.70, $5.40 and $3.30, combining with Phil’s Dream ($4.70, $3.40) for a $54.10 (10-2) exactor. A 10-2-7 triactor (River Seven, $4 to show) was worth $253.10, while a $1 Superfecta [10-2-7-8 (Excaper)] came back $363.45. Something Extra, Golden Sabre and Chart Topper were scratched.