TORONTO, October 23, 2022 – Ironstone, under leading rider Kazushi Kimura, was at the top of his game in taking the Grade 3 $177,300 Ontario Derby, Sunday at Woodbine.
A headstrong The Minkster quickly grabbed the lead in the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds, and was joined by an equally strong-willed Ironstone, who settled into second spot as the field navigated the first turn.
The Minkster clicked off an opening quarter in :24.47, as Kimura kept close tabs on the leader, with Bringer of Rain, Mannix (IRE) and late-closing Luckman rounding out the early order.
Not long after the opening panel, Luckman made a rapid move from last to second, just to the outside of The Minkster, as Ironstone remained nestled along the rail through a half reached in :48.67.
Still on top as the field straightened for home, The Minkster was soon confronted by the presence of Ironstone, who eventually wore down his rival just past the furlong marker to earn a 2 ¾-length victory in a time of 1:49.15 on the Tapeta. Bringer of Rain was third and Mannix (IRE) was fourth.
“We’ve been teaching him to be a little more comfortable in the morning time,” said Kimura.
For the connections of Ironstone, the afternoon result was indeed a sweet one.
The son of Mr Speaker-Casey’s Dreamin’ had posted a trio of thirds in 2022, along with a fourth in the Queen’s Plate and a runner-up effort in the Prince of Wales, the opening two jewels in the Canadian Triple Crown Presented by OLG.
On this day, the multiple stakes winning grey colt delivered his finest triumph to date.
“This win is very special for me,” said trainer William Armata. “This horse has taken me places I’ve never been in my career, the Queen’s Plate, and the Prince of Wales. It was just a phenomenal run. I was very happy with both performances. Unfortunately, we couldn’t win, but we were in the big dance. He showed today he was the boss.”
It was the third win, to go along with four seconds and a trio of thirds, from 12 starts for the Tequesta Racing Inc. and Jupiter Leasing Co. sophomore, who was bred in Ontario by Kingview Farms.
Last year, Ironstone went 2-3-0 from six engagements, the victories coming in stakes events, the Simcoe and Clarendon.
“I’m very proud of myself and I’m proud of my crew and everyone that deals with the horse,” said Armata. “It’s all a team effort. I know there’s an ‘I’ in Ironstone, but I’m proud of everybody. I just want to thank the owners for giving me an opportunity to train a horse like Ironstone. It’s just been an unbelievable run.”
Sent off at 7-5, Ironstone paid $4.80 for the win.
In other Sunday stakes action at Woodbine, Souper Hoity Toity, ridden by Patrick Husbands, took the $127,250 Ontario Damsel for 3-year-old fillies, contested at 1 1/16 miles over the Tapeta.
After lively opening splits of :23.86 and :47.93 set by Crystal Ship, Souper Hoity Toity, the 1-5 choice, third and gaining steadily around the turn for home, assumed command just after the stretch call and went on to notch a half-length score in a time of 1:43.44. Love to Run was second and Crystal Ship finished third.
“I was getting the perfect trip,” said Husbands. “I put her in the clear by the three-eighths pole and she flattened right out on me by the three-eighths pole, going into the quarter-pole and down the lane, but she’s all class and she just fought to win. She’s all class from day one.”
Owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by dual hall of famer Mark Casse, the daughter of Uncle Mo-Town Tour finished fourth in her career bow at Ellis Park last August before reeling off two straight scores at Woodbine. She launched her sophomore campaign with back-to-back Grade 3 victories, taking the Selene on July 2 and the Ontario Colleen on August 6.
She arrived at the Ontario Damsel off a troubled trip in the Duchess Stakes, where she was checked on heels at the quarter-pole but still came running to secure the runner-up prize.
Now 5-1-0 from eight starts, Souper Hoity Toity was bred in Kentucky by Dr. Richard Holder and Coolmore.
The dark bay paid $2.70 for the win.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms on Twitter