TORONTO, August 20, 2022 – Two-year-olds Philip My Dear and Cairo Consort shared the spotlight on Saturday as Woodbine showcased the $144,300 Soaring Free Stakes and filly companion $132,350 Catch a Glimpse.
The 6 ½ furlong sprints contested on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course are local preps for the upcoming Grade 1 Pattison Summer and Johnny Walker Natalma, a pair of Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ one-mile turf stakes set for September 17 at the Toronto oval.
Kevin Attard, who will send out star filly Moira in tomorrow’s $1 million Queen’s Plate, will no doubt hope the Soaring Free result is a harbinger of things to come.
It was Poulin in O T, undefeated in his first two starts, who sped to the front, as Ninetyfourexpos and outsider Battle Strike kept close tabs on the leader through an opening quarter timed in :22.85. Kazushi Kimura, aboard Philip My Dear, was positioned in eighth of 10 in the early going.
Poulin in O T was still on the lead at the half, reached in :45.77, a head in front of a persistent Ninetyfour Expos, with Chiseler now in third.
As the field geared up for the long stretch drive to the wire, Philip My Dear and Kimura (who returned to action after a July spill) had plenty of work to do, sitting eighth at the stretch call in 1:10.03.
The pair was able to muscle their way between foes in the late strides and went on to record a three-quarter length win in a time of 1:16.31 over firm ground. Smoke Lightening, at 62-1, was second, while Stayhonor Goodside and Chiseler, finished third and fourth, respectively.
The victory was a near carbon copy of the dark bay’s debut on July 3. Eighth of 10 at the half of the 6-furlong turf race, Philip My Dear split foes late to earn a 1 ½ length win.
“I didn’t think he was going to make it,” said Attard, of the Soaring Free performance. “He showed a lot of grit and a lot of determination. He’s a nice colt.”
A colt that looks to be headed towards a date in the Summer Stakes.
“Absolutely,” said Attard. “That’s where we have been aiming for. We kind of thought he might need another race in between his maiden race and the Summer, and that fell today. We’re one step closer.”
Rajendra Maharajh, the man behind Raroma Stables, paid $100,000 (U.S.) for the son of Silent Name (JPN)-Involuntary at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
He was understandably pleased to have purchased the emerging star.
“We had to go a little high for him, but that’s how the sale was. But I’m glad we got him. Art Fisher, my very good friend in Ocala, he selected both [2-year-old filly] Courtly Ro and Philip My Dear. He also selected [2021 Woodbine Oaks winner] Munnyfor Ro, so we are doing quite well with his selections.”
Munnyfor Ro, who won the 2021 Sovereign Award as Canada’s 3-year-old champion female, will contest the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes Presented by the Japan Racing Association, one of three other stakes races on Sunday’s Queen’s Plate undercard.
“I’m hoping we have a good clean run this time and she does what she likes to do,” said Maharajh.
Attard, who trains Munnyfor Ro, will look to win his first Plate with 5-2 morning line choice Moira.
The daughter of Ghostzapper-Devine Aida will be ridden by Rafael Hernandez.
“So far, so good,” said Attard.
Philip My Dear paid $4.30 for the win.
Cairo Consort, contesting her first stakes race, was full of run along the rail in the stretch, powering to an impressive win in the Catch a Glimpse to notch her second straight score.
Grand Oak (IRE) set the early tone, guiding her 11 rivals through an opening panel of :22.87. Antonio Gallardo, aboard Cairo Consort, kept a patient hand aboard the daughter of Cairo Prince-Absolutely Awesome, the duo sitting in seventh after a half in :45.71.
As the field came off the turn and straightened for home, Cairo Consort was full of run to the inside and carved out a head advantage at the stretch call, going on to a 2 ½ length score in a time of 1:16.00 over firm ground. Adora was second, Collecting Flatter finished third, with Grand Oak fourth.
“Sometimes, you’re the lucky guy,” said Gallardo, who picked up the mount earlier in the day. “I had a really good trip. She’s really honest. Everything worked perfect. I watched the replay [of the filly’s last race] and what the trainer [Nathan Squires] explained to me about her and it’s true, she’s very easy to ride. Whatever position you put her, she stays there, and when it’s time to go or you need a little bit more, you ask her and she gives it to you. That’s pretty cool. It makes my job more easy.”
It was a job well done for Squires, who earned his first career stakes triumph.
The veteran conditioner had anticipated a strong effort from Cairo Consort, who was bred in Kentucky by Frankfort Park Farm.
“Any race is special to win, but when you go to the sales or breed them or you pick them out, or help pick them out, it’s extra special it’s a great feeling.”
The grey, owned by William B. Thompson, Jr., is now 2-0-1 from four starts. She broke her maiden in her previous start on July 23.
“She was always smart,” offered Squires. “She is getting better and better, and I think she’ll even be a better 3-year-old. We have to [look at running her in the Natalma]. She beat good company here today. I was just looking at her and screaming. Of course, if she’s healthy, we have to look at the Natalma. I think she will fit there.”
Sent postward at 9-2, Cairo Consort paid $11.20 for the win.
First post for Sunday’s stakes-filled card, headlined by the 163rd running of the Queen’s Plate, is 12:25 p.m.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms