Odds-on favourite Wyatt’s Town persevered in a hard-fought stretch duel to extend his win streak in Sunday’s featured $100,000 Ontario Jockey Club Stakes for three-year-olds over six furlongs at Woodbine Racetrack.
The Norm McKnight trainee set early fractions of :22.52 and :45.05 with Hemp Hemp Hurray stalking throughout before that rival launched his attack in the stretch. The top pair battled head-to-head down the lane with Wyatt’s Town digging in to score by a neck in 1:09.52 and earn back-to-back stakes titles.
Once again, Eurico Rosa Da Silva was aboard Wyatt’s Town, who had sprinted out to a quick four-length lead en route to victory in the six-furlong King Corrie Stakes on July 28 at Woodbine.
“I know how fast this horse is and I tried to relax as much as I could in a race,” said Woodbine’s meet-leading jockey of his strategy this time out. “He was running very, very relaxed. When we turned home, I thought it would be an easy game, but it was not. At the eighth pole, to be honest, it was not looking good for me. But you know what, he has a big heart. He fought very, very hard and it was a beautiful race.”
“Mid-stretch, I have to tell you, I thought we were in trouble, I thought we were collared,” agreed McKnight. “But he runs with a lot of grit and he just dug in and gave it his all and we held on.”
Wyatt’s Town remains perfect in three starts since being claimed off a May 17 winning effort at Churchill Downs for $50,000 by Henley Thoroughbreds Ltd. and Newtop Stables. Prior to his four-race winning crusade, the Speightstown-Natural Rush colt was a runner-up twice and earned four third-place finishes while racing stateside. In 10 career starts, he has banked more than $219,000 in purses.
Following his successful Woodbine debut in the King Corrie, Wyatt’s Town was sent postward as the 3-5 favourite and paid $3.30 to win and $2.10 to place. There was no show wagering. Second choice Hemp Hemp Hurray ($2.20 to place) completed the exacta worth $5.90.
Supplemental entry Driven by History rallied wide from the back of the compact field of five and closed within two lengths to complete the trifecta, which returned $13.85 for a $1 ticket. Captain Thunder, completing a $52 superfecta, and Run Away rounded out the field.
Live Thoroughbred racing continues at Woodbine on Monday afternoon. First race post time is 1 p.m.