On today – Jockey Club of Canada meets for year-end meeting; Pink Lloyd at Woodbine, Tampa Bay Downs opens, Churchill Downs has an all 2-year-old card with Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, Channel Maker in Del Mar Derby
THINK PINK – Lloyd goes for 8 straight stakes wins in Grade 2 Kennedy Road
Entourage Stables’ PINK LLOYD, a $30,000 yearling purchase from breeder John Carey, has been 2017’s most exciting Canadian Thoroughbred and today the lanky chestnut gelding will go for an amazing 8th straight stakes win in the Grade 2 Kennedy Road.
meeting the toughest rival of his season, IKERRIN ROAD, who has a pair of 100 Beyer Figures in his last 2 main track starts, Pink Lloyd is sure to be 3 to 5 or lower to win the 6 furlong dash.. Trained by Robert Tiller and ridden by Eurico da Silva, Pink Lloyd is in a big battle with the filly AMI’S MESA for Horse of the Year honours in the country. ‘Mesa won 3 stakes in her first four starts at Woodbine this year, sprinting and going 1 1/16 miles before missing by a nose in the Grade Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
The popularity of Pink Lloyd gives the son of Ontario sire Old Forester a bit of a leg up on the honour.
He’s a very, very nice horse. I get along pretty good with him. He’s a very, very talented animal and probably was the most talented I ever rode,” said Da Silva. “It’s unbelievable how he can hold his fitness. He’s very, very consistent. I just trained him last Thursday and he’s coming in great shape for this race.”
On the big stage at the Toronto oval, Woodbine’s resident rockstar has proven his versatility, which is one quality that has been key to the gelding’s success all season long.
“He’s so good during the race because he’s a horse you can put on the lead or you can put him in the middle pace or you can put him way back,” noted Da Silva. “It seems like nothing bothers him. When you ask him to run, he just runs.”
There will be six other rivals looking to out-run Pink Lloyd in the Kennedy Road, a six-furlong sprint for horses three years old and up, but Da Silva remains confident in his mount.
“He’s the horse to beat,” he said, assessing the field. “We don’t need to look much at the competition because he’s doing very, very well. All he needs to do is perform the way he’s been performing, and I think he will, and he’ll be very hard to beat.”
For Da Silva, a victory would move him closer to Woodbine’s single-season stakes win record with limited opportunities left as the meet begins to wind down. A 32-time stakes winner so far this year, he will have to take four of the final seven stakes remaining in the season, which concludes on December 10, in order to match the 36-win record set by Avelino Gomez in 1966 and matched by Todd Kabel in 2004. While the record is possible, the humble reinsman is more focused on doing his job.
“Two months ago, I was way more focused on and thought about the record,” said Da Silva. “But you know, I have seven stakes races [left] and I believe I will be riding in all of the seven stakes races and my job is to go there, do the best I can, make my horse do the best they can and I keep pushing my limits every day. Not only for the stakes races, but for every race, I’ll be pushing myself as hard as I can and I’m going to be very consistent until the last race I ride here. That’s my focus. We’ll see how close it will be. I don’t want to think much about it. Really my focus is to be very competitive until December 10. I’ve been very, very focused on that. I don’t work so many horses in the morning now so I’m training in the gym. That will be my focus: just giving my best every day.”
Here is a look at the complete field for Saturday’s Kennedy Road Stakes, which is scheduled as race eight on the 1 p.m. program:
$175,000 Kennedy Road Stakes (Grade 2)
1. Sweet Grass Creek – Slade Callaghan – Michael Keogh
2. Occasional View – Luis Contreras – Kevin Attard
3. Majestic Slew – Rafael Hernandez – Michael De Paulo
4. Pink Lloyd – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Robert Tiller
5. Tombelaine (S) – Gary Boulanger – David Cannizzo
6. Yorkton – Jesse Campbell – Stuart Simon
7. Ikerrin Road – David Moran – Vito Armata
PEPPERED TRIES TO JOIN THE CLUB, CHANNEL MAKER goes for 3yo of the year honours
Woodbine based 2-year-old PEPPERED, (Tapizar) has drawn a tough post (14) in the Kentucky Jockey Club today at Churchill Downs for owners Paul Braverman and Tim Pinch and trainer Reade
Baker. But the Grey Stakes runner-up is a stretch runner who can be a contender for champion 2-year-old in Canada with a big run.
At Del Mar at 6:30, Joey G Thoroughbreds, Gary Barber and Wachtel Stables’ CHANNEL MAKER (English Channel) is a contender for champion 3-year-old colt in Canada and he competes in the Del Mar Derby at about 6:30 p.m.
SOUL MAN- Seeking the Soul gives Charles Fipke another big win
Beautifully bred Perfect Soul colt’s 3rd dam is Personal Ensign
The team of owner/breeder Charles Fipke, trainer Dallas Stewart and jockey John Velazquez did it again.
Three weeks after landing the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Grade I) at Del Mar with Fipke’s homebred mare Forever Unbridled, the trio teamed to win Friday’s 143rd running of the $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) – the most lucrative race of Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall Meet – with homegrown 4-year-old colt Seeking the Soul, who ran down pacesetting favorite Diversify and turned back late runs by 3-year-old Good Samaritan and $4.2 million-earner Hoppertunity.
“It’s a great honor to win a race like this for Mr. Fipke and Dallas,” said Velazquez, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning New York-based rider who won the Clark for a third time. “It’s been a really good month.”
The well-bred Seeking the Soul, by Perfect Soul (IRE) out of Fipke’s Seeking the Gold mare Seeking the Title, broke through with his first stakes win in a 17-race career by defeating eight 3-year-olds and up and clocking 1 1/8 miles over a “fast” track in 1:48.88.
The lofty $297,600 first prize more than doubled the bay Kentucky-bred’s earnings to $551,162 with a record of 5-3-5 in 17 starts.
“It’s been a great month,” Stewart said. “I’m so happy to win another Grade I for Mr. Fipke. He’s allowed me to space out his races and I think that’s helped in his development. It was a great effort and a great accomplishment to win the Clark.”
New York-bred Diversify, who was sent to post as the 7-5 favorite after winning the prestigious Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) at Belmont Park on Oct. 7, did not help himself as he pulled jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the early stages while dictated terms through a first quarter mile in :23.34, the half in :47.35 and six furlongs in 1:11.14. Meanwhile, Seeking the Soul, Jim Dandy (GII) winner Good Samaritan and Hoppertunity comprised the last three runners in the field of nine down the backstretch.
Diversify had a 1 ½-length advantage around the turn and into the stretch as the closers commenced their late charges.
Seeking the Soul, who broke from post 2, went around rival Destin as the field left the far turn and looked as if he might try to slip to the inside of front-running Diversify. But Velazquez shifted Seeking the Soul to the outside of Diversify’s right hip at the three-sixteenths pole, took over with a furlong to run and turned back late runs from Good Samaritan and Hoppertunity, who both rallied from the far outside and finished a half-length and one-length back of the winner, respectively.
Hoppertunity’s jockey Florent Geroux lodged a claim of foul against the winner, claiming Seeking the Soul drifted outward in the final stages and possibly costing him a placing, but the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards made no change after reviewing the video tape.
“I had to steady a little bit at about 50 yards (from the finish), so I didn’t really know if (Seeking the Soul) really came out,” Geroux said.
Seeking the Soul, who carried 116 pounds, rewarded his backers with mutuels of $17.80, $8.60 and $5 as the 7-1 sixth-betting choice in the field of nine. New York-based Good Samaritan, at 118 pounds with Joel Rosario aboard, returned $7 and $4.40. Hoppertunity, the Southern California-based horse and 2014 Clark winner who was making his fourth appearance in the race, paid $4.40 to show under Geroux at 123 pounds – the co-high weight with Diversify.
Diversify faded 1 ¾ lengths back of the third place finisher and was followed by 4-1 second-betting choice The Player, Destin, Goats Town, Mo Tom and Honorable Duty. The latter was eased in the stretch but walked back to his barn.
“He broke a little slow, but he’s so fast so he made the lead on his own,” said Diversify’s jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. “He was cruising, but about the three-eighths pole it seemed he didn’t handle the track well. He was stumbling a little bit, and I think he lost the bit. But he still ran a good race. He got beat by good horses.”
Prior to the Clark, Seeking the Soul won a conditioned allowance/optional claiming event over 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland by nine lengths on Oct. 21. Before that, he finished third in the $200,000 Lukas Classic (GIII) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 30.
The winning connections had high hopes for Seeking the Soul last year as a 3-year-old and entered him in the Belmont Stakes, but the colt tired and beat only one rival.
“He doesn’t really like the whip he gets all over the racetrack,” Stewart said. “I told (previous jockey) Brian (Hernandez Jr.) in his last start to not hit him with the stick and try it out and it really worked. He’s mean but he’s a big and healthy horse. After he won the allowance race in his last start at Keeneland I really wanted to run him right back in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) but I settled down and thought about it and pointed him for this race. I think we got a bit aggressive with him early in his career when we tried in the Belmont Stakes but I knew he was that caliber of horse.”
JAPAN CUP (Sunday)
KITASAN BLACK defends Japan Cup crown facing IDAHO and others