TORONTO, November 5, 2022 – Hal, with Justin Stein in the irons, emerged victorious after a lengthy stretch duel to take the $130,750 Display Stakes, for 2-year-olds, Saturday at Woodbine.
Ticker Tape Home paraded to the front in the six-horse field (Alpha Meister and Forever Dixie were scratched) followed by Hank Ollie and Keen Flatter, while Stein kept Hal nestled in comfortably along the rail in fourth through an opening panel reached in :23.02.
It was Ticker Tape Home, the 9-5 choice, still on top through a half in :45.29, with Hal moving up to second spot, intently tracking the leader.
Heading into the turn for home, it appeared Ticker Tape Home had plenty left in the tank as Hal ranged up to his outside, setting the stage for a slugfest down the lane.
Hal was able to get by his rival mid-way down the lane, but the Mark Casse trainee dug in gamely along the rail, neither 2-year-old throwing in the towel.
At the wire, Hal emerged a half-length in front in a time of 1:22.00. Firing Bullets was third and Chiseler fourth.
It was the second win in as many starts for the son of Accelerate-Purely a Dream, who broke his maiden via a 1 ¼-length triumph, also at 7 furlongs on the Tapeta, on October 2.
Stein lauded the maturity of the rookie chestnut owned by Suzi Shoemaker and First Corp. Thoroughbreds.
“He’s very chill. He’s a cool customer and just comes over and does his job. He was happy where we positioned ourselves early in the race, and it’s kind of where I wanted to be with Hal. He showed in his first start how much of a strong finisher he is, and I didn’t want to take that away from him. I had to ride a little tight down the lane and kind of pull out all the stops, but Hal was game.”
For Darwin Banach, the Display victory was extra special, after Bushido, also two-for-two, didn’t draw in to contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint.
“It’s all great,” said Banach. “Our horse [Bushido] was doing fantastic down there [in Keeneland] and we were just waiting for an opportunity to get in there and let him show his stuff. It didn’t happen and the whole Bushido team was good with that. He couldn’t be doing better.”
Just like his stablemate, Hal.
“For the owners, it’s awesome,” said Erika Smilovsky, a former jockey and now assistant trainer to her partner, Banach. “Especially with Bushido not getting in, it just kind of seals the deal with a good weekend. Both these two horses have incredible personalities. They’re old souls, as I call them. They don’t act like those frisky, young, colty 2-year-olds. They are just classy boys.”
Hal was bred in Kentucky by Lantern Hill Farm LLC and First Corp. Thoroughbreds.
He paid $6.90, $3.30 and $2.60, combining with Ticker Tape Home ($2.90, $2.40) for a $16.50 exactor. Firing Bullets ($3.60) completed an $89.10 triactor, while a $1 superfecta with Chiseler came back $96.55.
Collecting Flatter broke away from her rivals down the lane to notch her second career stakes victory, this one coming in the $129,500 Glorious Song Stakes, Saturday at Woodbine.
Bred and owned by Ivan Dalos, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Flatter-Recollect broke alertly in the 7-furlong Tapeta race for 2-year-old fillies and was joined to her outside by Play the Music, with the latter leading the way through an opening quarter in :23.21.
Collecting Flatter, under Kazushi Kimura, then took over top spot, holding a half-length advantage after a half reached in :46:03.
As the field rounded the turn for home, Collecting Flatter turned away the challenge of Play the Music, then turned up the pressure on her foes by playing catch-me-if-you-can in the run to the wire.
Ahead by 1 ½ lengths at Robert Geller’s stretch call, the bay filly, who won the My Dear Stakes at Woodbine in July, added another impressive victory to her resume, crossing the line three-quarters of a length on top in 1:22.94. Forever Dixie was second, Anam Cara rallied along the inside to net third, and longshot Helluva Holiday got up to finish fourth.
After running her past two races on the turf, Collecting Flatter, who won her first two starts, both on the Tapeta, kept her unbeaten record on the Toronto oval main track intact courtesy of her Glorious Song score.
“We were anxious to get her back on the Tapeta surface,” said Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame conditioner Josie Carroll. “She seems to really love that.”
Kimura, who crafted the winning journey, was pleased with the rookie’s strong start and energetic finish.
“Last time, I saw that this horse loves to keep in the clear, that’s why I get the break. It worked.”
Colleen Dalos, daughter of Ivan Dalos, had a loud cheering section on hand for the win.
“I’m always trying to get that next generation involved. My daughter is here with a whole group of her friends. I keep bringing them in and they are having the time of their lives. It does not hurt that they got to come to see a winning stakes race and be in a photo.”
Collecting Flatter is now 3-0-1 from five career starts.
She paid $9.50, $4.70 and $3.80, combining with Forever Dixie ($3.90, $3.50) for a $30.40 exactor. Anam Cara ($5.80) rounded out a $379.90 triactor. A $1 superfecta with Helluva Holiday returned $2,192.20.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms