Mason’s Gamble wins Ontario Jockey Club for first stakes score

Mason’s Gamble wins Ontario Jockey Club for first stakes score

TORONTO, June 19, 2022 – Mason’s Gamble, a four-year-old son of Gamble’s Exchange-Dynaco, held on gamely to take all the spoils in Sunday’s $100,800 Ontario Jockey Club Stakes, at Woodbine.

​It was an early scramble for the lead, as four horses left the gate running, with longshot Sunspear eventually emerging on top, as Mason’s Gamble, under Rafael Hernandez, was positioned a close third through an opening quarter in :22.62.

​Sunspear, at 59-1, continued to set the tone through a half timed in :45.29, as Mason’s Gamble, now second, and Souper Success, a head back in third, kept up the pressure on the pacesetter.

​As the 10-horse field made the turn for home, Hernandez called on the bay colt, and the Josie Carroll trainee responded, looming as a major threat as the field straightened for the stretch drive.

​A head back of Sunspear at the stretch call, Mason’s Gamble, bred by Ivan Dalos and owned by ATA Stables, Inc., dug in late and fended off a late-charging Candy Overload to record a half-length win. Secret Reserve was third and Red River Rebel was fourth.

​The final time for six furlongs over the Tapeta in the race Ontario-sired four-year-olds and upwards was 1:09.51. There was a short delay before the victory was made official, the result of a claim of foul by the rider of Eskiminzin.

​Mason’s Gamble, who came into the race off a sixth-place finish in his 2022 debut, notched his fifth lifetime victory, to go along with one second, from nine career starts.

​“He was awfully sharp off the winter off,” explained Carroll, of the effort prior to the Ontario Jockey Club. “He came into the paddock and was much edgier than usual. I think he was just too sharp and pushed too hard on himself early, and just folded up a little late. When I saw the fractions he was getting [today], those are the fractions he likes to run. I thought we’d be really tough where we were sitting, and I had a lot of confidence in Rafael pushing him home.”

​Carroll was pleased to see the horse net his first stakes win, and his connections celebrate the milestone moment.

​“These guys are having so much fun. They’re actually friends with the Dalos family, who bred this horse. There is a lot of camaraderie between them and the breeder, so it just makes it a whole lot of fun.” ​

​After a seventh-place finish to launch his career on October 4, 2020 – his only race that year – Mason’s Gamble broke his maiden next time out, in June 2021, and doubled up three weeks later. His only previous stakes experience was a second in last year’s Elgin Stakes.

​Mason’s Gamble returned $12.60, $7.10 and $5.10 and combined with Candy Overload ($10.10 $5.40) for a $118.50 exactor. Secret Reserve ($3.50) completed a triactor worth $552.30. A $1 superfecta (Red River Rebel) came back $975.35.

​Earlier in the card, Epilogue, a seven-year-old son of Smooth Bid-Gold Else, became the first horse to win three races at the 2022 Woodbine meet. Owned and trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Robert Tiller, the Ontario-bred gelding, under Skye Chernetz, paid $10.40 for the win. ​

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

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