On Wednesday night Woodbine hosted the Canadian Millions Sales Stakes, a series of Stakes races for horses who have passed through the ring of the CTHS Yearling sale. This was the second year that the event was held on a Wednesday night. The races were broadcast on national television by TSN.
The first of the Sales Stakes was the $125,000 Halton for three year olds and up going a mile over the E. P. Taylor turf course. Although winless since May 2013, Hampstead Heath ($6.10) took a drop from the Graded Stakes class, sat a stalking trip and won by a length and a quarter under leading rider Luis Contreras. Early pacesetter Blessed One, a filly facing males, held for second with Courtville finishing third. Brian Lynch was the winning trainer for owner Robert Smithen.
Following the Halton was the $125,000 Elgin, a 1 1/16 mile race on the polytrack for three year olds and upwards. Canadian Champion Pender Harbour ($2.80) dropped to last in the compact field of five, began a rally around the far turn and took over down the stretch to win by a length over pacesetter Phil's Dream. Luis Contreras rode for trainer Michael De Paulo and owners Dennis Andrews, Sandra Lazaruk and Rob & Roberta Giffin.
A second 1 1/16 mile race over the polytrack, the $125,000 Algoma featured a field of six fillies and mares. Searching for her first victory of 2014, I'm a Kittyhawk ($15.80) dropped back to last early and began a rally around the far turn, took the lead with 70 yards to go and won by a length over Wonder Where Stakes runner-up Skylander Girl and Sweater Weather. David Moran rode for trainer Robert Crean, who is part owner along with Jonathan Earle and Nicholas & Victoria Martin.
The $200,000 Muskoka was the first of two races for two year olds on the card, with fillies travelling six and a half furlongs. Trainer/owner John Ross won 2013's edition with eventual Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou, and doubled up this year with Brooklynsway ($14.20.) Stalking the pace from fifth early, Brooklynsway made a late rally up the rail to win by a length and a quarter under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson. Quidi Vidi finished second with Eff Bee Eye holding third.
Older horses returned to the spotlight for the $125,000 Kenora, a six furlong sprint. Black Hornet ($6.20) set stunning fraction of 21.72, 43.73 and 55.74, and kept going the entire way to win by three and a half lengths. Bear No Joke held second over Langstaff. Justin Stein rode the winner for trainer Pat Parente and owner Winview Racing Stable.
The final Stakes of the night was the $200,000 Kenora for two year old colts and geldings going 6 1/2 furlongs. Breaking from the rail, Phil's Cocktail ($18.20) showed early speed, dueling with and putting away heavy favourite Super Colerosa, and drew off to win by two and a half lengths under a drive. Entwistle completed a lasix-free exactor, with Ethical Funds rallying for third. David Moran rode his second winner of the night. Trained by John Le Blanc, Phil's Cocktail is owned by R. I. Clarkson.
Wagering on the eight race card totaled $2,051,117, an increase of $332,927, 16.3% from 2013. 63 betting interests competed tonight, up from 55 in 2013. Overall, a very successful night.
The CTHS Canadian Premier Yearling Sale runs September 2nd and 3rd at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion. The catalogue can be viewed here.
Have a good day.