ONTARIO DERBY | PURSE: $158,934 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 3 | 1 1/8 MILES
Stealcase, sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 3, $158,934 Ontario Derby, certainly did not disappoint at Woodbine on Sunday. Coming off a subpar seventh in the Grade 1 Travers, he bounced back here to earn his first graded stakes win.
Jockey Patrick Husbands had to overcome a slow start aboard the three-year-old colt. He was left chasing the pacesetter, Gung Ho, who posted fractions of: 24 3/5, :49 4/5 and 1:14. Stealcase found himself having to go four and five-wide along the far turn, but the Mark Casse trainee was able to run down the leaders in the stretch.
"He's had some bad racing luck," assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan said. "He had a really bad trip in the Haskell. He sort of fell out of the gate. He ran so hard and for so long that day and he should have done better than third, and he did great to be third in that race. I'm really glad today that he finally got the win he deserves."
Stealcase and Any Given Royal were both coming on strong down the stretch, but it was Stealcase who was able to drive clear in the end by 1 1/4 lengths. The Lawyer Ron colt ran the 1 1/8-mile race on the Polytrack in 1:50 4/5 and paid $6.20, $3.30 and $2.50 to his backers. His lifetime record now stands at 11-3-1-2, $313,619.
River Rush was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third, while Gung Ho finished out the top four. Colleen's Sailor, Peyton and Ultimate Destiny completed the order under the wire.
Originally Stealcase's stablemate Prospective was entered into the race but he was a race day scratch. Both owned by John C. Oxley, it looked to be a good decision on the scratch.
Stealcase was sold as a two-year-old in training at the 2011 OBS March sale for $320,000. Bred in Kentucky by Secret Whispers Partnership, he is out of the Cat Thief mare Steal the Show.