TORONTO, August 6, 2023 – Dual hall of fame trainer Mark Casse swept the top three spots in Sunday’s $100,000 Hamilton Stakes, at Woodbine.
The Hamilton, a 7 ½-furlong inner turf event for 3-year-olds, went postward with six hopefuls (Dreaming of Kona was scratched), including the Casse trio of Conman, Lifetime of Chance and Eye On the King.
Sir Lancelot broke sharply from the gate and glided to the front, as Eyes On the King settled into second with stablemate Conman taking up residence in third through an opening quarter reached in :22.38.
It was status quo through a half-mile timed in :45.91, but Eyes On the King, under Rafael Hernandez, soon ratcheted up the pressure on the leader heading into the turn as Patrick Husbands, aboard Conman, kept close tabs on the lead pair.
Conman, the 3-2 choice, then took control in mid-stretch, before his stablemate, Lifetime of Chance, came calling, while Eyes On the King continued to dig in gamely.
At the wire, Conman was a 3 ¼-length winner. Lifetime of Chance was a further half-length ahead of Eyes On the King for second. Mehek was fourth, followed by Sir Lancelot and Keen Flatter.
The final time over firm ground was 1:28.65.
Husbands, in the irons for the first time on Conman, gave top marks to the son of Constitution-Rare Medal.
“I only saw him in the paddock and saw the Racing Form,” said Husbands. “I tried to ride him like he is the best horse. On paper, he’s showing you that he’s much the best horse. I eased back and then I got a perfect trip.”
Conman, owned by D.J. Stable LLC, had plenty left in the tank when Lifetime of Chance, also racing in the silks of D.J. Stable LLC, came calling late.
“He seems like he wants to go further,” noted Husbands. “The pony had to pull me up just now. I just tried to get him in the clear and get him over to his right lead. And when I tried to get him over to his right lead, that’s when the other horse came. But when he got to his right lead, he just took off.”
It was the first Woodbine start and first stakes win for the dark bay colt, who is now 3-2-0 from 10 starts.
Bred in New York by Fred W. Hertrich III & John D. Fielding, he returned $5 for the Hamilton win.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms