By Gene Kershner
TORONTO – A great day of thoroughbred turf racing was capped off by a 22-1 filly capturing the $1.5 million Pattison International at Woodbine Race Track. Sarah Lynx ($46.90), the lone filly in the 16-horse field, stole the $900,000 first place check and became the first filly in 23 years to capture the coveted International crown.
You could say it has been the year of the filly at Woodbine, earlier this year, Inglorious won the prestigious Queen’s Plate, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown. Sarah Lynx, the lone filly in the field, carried 123 pounds, was ridden by Christophe Soumillon. The French jockey crossed the Atlantic to ride his first ever International mount after winning the Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The filly, mid pack for most of the race, came through on the inside on the yielding turf course as the field turned for home. She grabbed the lead shortly thereafter and drew away from the field while Soumillon gave her a hand ride the rest of the way, winning by four lengths over last year’s International winner, Joshua Tree. The two dollar exacta returned $659.50 with 11-1 Joshua Tree and the $2 trifecta including third place finisher Treasure Beach paid a whopping $3,699.
The winning margin was the largest since 2005, and was 2-1/2 lengths behind the International record set by the great Secretariat in 1973. The victory was a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race and automatically qualified Sarah Lynx for an all-expenses paid trip to Louisville on November 5 in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Earlier in the day, Regally Ready ($21.60) won the $500,000 Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes and earned a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He won a very close photo over Bated Breath, the 2-1 post time favorite. He’s two for two at Churchill Downs, so keep an eye on this one as the Breeders’ Cup approaches next month. Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Corey Nakatani, the four year old gelded son of More Than Ready completed the six furlongs in 1:11.35.
The $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes also served up a big winner. 11-1 Miss Keller and jock John Velazquez, held off the European shipper I’m A Dreamer at the wire to pay a fat $25.30. Miss Keller also earned a trip to Louisville and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on November 4 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield, the five year old mare finished the 1-1/4 mile course in 2:06.98. Miss Keller, was sired by Montjeu, who also sired the International champion, Sarah Lynx.
The day had a very International feel to it, with a large number of European shippers coming over the pond attempting to win the coveted Breeders’ Cup challenge races. We now await the pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup so we can start studying up to the first weekend in November, where divisional championships will most likely be decided.