Blueblood, confidently piloted by Patrick Husbands, wore down a stubborn rival to take Saturday’s $112,000 Victoria Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Mark Casse for Fox Hill Farms, the City Zip bay came into the five-furlong sprint for juveniles off a polished debut on May 19, going wire-to-wire to score by 1 ¼-lengths over 4 ½ furlongs on the Toronto oval Tapeta.
It was Tenacity Zip, under Jesse Campbell, who took control at the outset of the Victoria, while Husbands kept Blueblood, just to the outside of the pacesetter through early splits of :22.59 and :46.00.
With the rest of the field looking to play catch up, Tenacity Zip and Blueblood continued their front-end tête-à-tête through the turn and down the lane.
Blueblood was finally able to get by the gritty Tenacity Zip in late stretch, going on to secure a three-quarter length triumph. Tigerbeach finished third in the race timed in :58.37.
Husbands wasn’t concerned being in a tracking position in the 110th running of the Victoria after the veteran jockey and Ontario-bred colt called the shots from in front in the career bow.
“From day one, since he’s been at Woodbine, he’s a more mature horse,” praised Husbands. “In other words, he’s more like a three-year-old. Everything I wanted him to do, he does. It’s a pleasure being around him as a jockey.”
Kathryn Sullivan, assistant trainer to Casse at Woodbine, was equally impressed with another strong performance.
“He’s done everything right so far,” she said, of the horse that was bred by Tall Oaks Farm. “You can’t ask for anything more. He’s been really professional – two wins, two starts – that’s about as good as it gets.”
Sullivan also praised the gumption shown by Blueblood to track down a tenacious Tenacity Zip.
“He just powered right past and he looked really professional,” she offered. “I think he’ll only get better.”
It was Victoria crown number three for the team of Husbands and Casse. The duo won the 2001 edition with Expected Hour and in 2014 with Conquest Tsunami.
Blueblood, the 3-5 mutuel favourite, paid $3.30, $2.50 and $2.10, combining with Tenacity Zip ($4.20, $2.90) for an $11.10 (5-3) exactor. A 5-3-1 triactor (Tigerbeach, $2.60 to show) was worth $36.80, while a $1 Superfecta [5-3-1-2 (Afterburner)] came back $39.55.