The $150,000 Victoria Park Stakes for three-year-olds Sunday at Woodbine was to be a battle amongst highly-regarded imports Twinspired, Newsdad and Burj Alzain.
Instead, the mile and one-eighth feature turned into a rousing stretch battle between two locals who fought the length of the stretch before Moonshine Mullin prevailed by a nose over Alpha Bettor. The final time was 1:51.04.
Ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, Moonshine Mullin went immediately to the front, setting leisurely fractions of :25.26, :50.22 and 1:14.07 for six furlongs.
As the field started to close in around the far turn, it was Alpha Bettor who moved first to challenge the leader, poking a head in front as they straightened away for home.
But Moonshine Mullin, a Kentucky-bred son of Albert the Great, battled back gamely on the rail and got the bob on the wire. Newsdad, the 3-1 second choice trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Alan Garcia, shook loose late to outfinish Queen’s Plate-eligible Pender Harbour for the show award, one and one-half lengths further back. Another Plate possible Seawatch was fifth.
Meanwhile, the 2-1 choice Twinspired, runner-up to Brilliant Speed in the Blue Grass Stakes two months ago at Keeneland, pressed the leader early but eventually faded to seventh, five lengths in arrears. Burj Alzain, another runner from the United States sent postward the 7-2 third choice, didn’t fare much better in sixth.
“He took the first couple of jumps (out of the gate) nice and relaxed and knew it was game time,” said Wilson. “I was getting some comfortable splits and he relaxed for me down the backside, which I knew would help us down the lane. I knew if they didn’t blow by him, he was going to tough it out.”
It was only the second career win (and first added-money score) for Moonshine Mullin, who capped his juvenile season with a runner-up finish to Tiz Blessed in the Display Stakes. After two disappointing turf runs at Gulfstream Park, Moonshine Mullin returned to Woodbine and finished just a head back of Alpha Bettor in third in an allowance race on May 8. Today, the tables were turned.
“I thought he ran a winning race the other day (May 8 race),” said trainer Reade Baker. “He got a little fitter (from it). He wasn’t fit when I brought him home (from Gulfstream Park). I gave him a little break.”
Sent postward a 15-1 outsider, Moonshine Mullin picked up $90,000 for owner Viking Farms Limited. He paid $33.80, $16 and $7.90, combining with 26-1 Alpha Bettor ($24.80, $11.80) for a $380.80 (7-8) exactor. A 7-8-6 (Newsdad, $4 to show) triactor came back $1,983.60 while a $1 Superfecta [7-8-6-4 (Pender Harbour) lit up the tote board with a $7,367.25 payoff.