Ultimate Destiny, owned and trained by Alec Fehr, prevailed in a dramatic photo finish over Good Better Best to earn his first stakes score in Saturday’s $125,000 Steady Growth Stakes, at Woodbine.
Ultimate Destiny, purchased privately by Fehr near the end of last season, was a fixture on the Canadian Triple Crown trail in 2012 which included a good second-place run in the Prince of Wales Stakes, at Fort Erie.
The Dance to Destiny gelding, bred in Ontario by Minshall Farms, arrived in the 1 1/16-mile ‘Poly’ stake in good form on a two-race winning streak.
A rail-riding Haverhill took the field into the first turn with Seen It All Before and Fifty Proof stalking through a quarter in :25.16. Seen It All Before took over the lead down the backstretch through a half in :49.13 with Fifty Proof at his flank as Ultimate Destiny, expertly piloted by Eurico Rosa da Silva, settled into fourth position along the rail.
Fifty Proof was urged into contention through the turn with Good Better Best following his lead. Ultimate Destiny followed their cover into striking range at the top of the lane as an energetic Good Better Best emerged with the lead, but da Silva kept to task on his gelding and Ultimate Destiny reached the wire first, stopping the clock in a final running time of 1:44.33.
Da Silva was pleased with the trip he engineered for Ultimate Destiny in the Steady Growth.
“Everything worked right for my horse today,” said da Silva. “He positioned himself very close. He was very relaxed and just waiting for me to turn him loose. When I asked him, he responded pretty well for me.”
Ultimate Destiny is now perfect in three trips with da Silva aboard this season.
“I think he will go forward. He’s improved every time out,” said da Silva.
Fehr took over conditioning duties for the final start of Ultimate Destiny’s 2012 campaign, a second-place finish in an allowance route, and the investment appears to have paid off as Ultimate Destiny put together a pair of sprint wins to start his four-year-old campaign before today’s success.
“I thought if he grew a little bit and put on some weight that the way he’d been running against the tough horses (in the Triple Crown), that if we had any luck, he didn’t have to be a better horse, just be the same, and it would be worth my while,” said Fehr.
Ultimate Destiny banked $75,000 in victory, while improving his record to 5-6-1 from 17 career starts.
He returned $9.50, $4.30 and $2.80, pairing with Good Better Best ($4.80, $3.60) for a $33.70 (6-9) exactor. A 6-9-4 (Bobcaygeon, $4.40 to show) triactor was worth $241.40. Head Honcho completed a $1 Superfecta (6-9-4-1) worth $483.55.