Mr Havercamp provided his connections with another thrill at the 2018 Woodbine meet, winning the $175,000 Autumn Stakes (Grade 2) on Saturday.
With Mr Havercamp’s stablemate, the Woodbine Oaks champion Dixie Moon also recently a winner two weeks ago in the Carotene Stakes, owner/breeder Sean Fitzhenry is riding a high.
“We dream of this stuff and you just have to ride it out and enjoy it while it lasts because it won’t last forever,” said Fitzhenry, who owns both stakes stars with his wife Dorothy.
Settling just off the pace while Shakhimat dueled past Decorated Soldier through fractions of :24.59, :47.44 and 1:10.96, Woodbine’s leading jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva was brimming with confidence in his chances aboard the popular Mr Havercamp.
“Sometimes the race just falls everything your way,” said Da Silva after his 24th stakes win of the meet. “This fell with two speed horses on the front end putting up fair fractions and my horse was running relaxed. He’s a very focused horse. He’s a super nice horse. I’m just grateful to be part of this team. Catherine [Day Phillips] is awesome to work with and Sean [Fitzhenry] is great. I’m just so grateful.”
Da Silva made his move in the final turn and Mr Havercamp struck the front at the top of the stretch before drawing off by 1-3/4 lengths to win the 1-1/16-mile affair in an impressive time of 1:42.36. The Roger Attfield-trained millionaire Are You Kidding Me, a two-time winner of the Autumn Stakes, finished second and defending champion Gigantic Breeze was third.
“I was just really confident in him,” said trainer Catherine Day Phillips. “He’s been training so well. He’s happy, he’s focused. I was just really confident in him.”
Mr Havercamp was sent postward as the 4-5 favourite following a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile in mid-September and returned $3.80 to win.
“He’s a tough, resilient horse,” said Day Phillips. “We gave him a break after the Woodbine Mile. He just jogged for a couple weeks and he came back to hand very fairly quickly, to be honest, for this race.”
“He’s a versatile horse, he runs great on both surfaces and he gives everything he’s got every time and that’s all you can ask for in a horse,” said Fitzhenry.
Mr Havercamp has won three of five starts during his four-year-old campaign including the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes on yielding turf and his season’s debut in the Steady Growth on Tapeta. The Court Vision-Tennesse Lamb gelding is now seven-for-11 lifetime with earnings just shy of $600,000.
“I think we have two choices to make,” said Day Phillip of future plans for Mr Havercamp. “We’ll either give him a break and look to race south or maybe we’ll give him just a break and see him next summer.”
Florida Won, Shakhimat, Lookin For Eight and Decorated Solider rounded out the order of finish. Lookin to Strike and Giant Storm were scratched.