TORONTO, October 16 —Erupt, invading from France, lived up to his name by exploding to the front in midstretch en route to a one-length victory under rider Stephen Pasquier here in the G1, $1 million Pattison Canadian International Stakes.
One of four European raiders in the 1 ½-mile mile turf race for three-year-olds and upward, Erupt was the most lightly-regarded of the quartet at 12-1 with Idaho sent off as the 7-5 favorite, Dartmouth at 3-1 and Protectionist at 5-1.
The opening mile of the Canadian International went much as expected with World Approval cutting out splits of :26.66, :52.79, 1:18.80 and 1:44.21.Dartmouth, who is owned by Her Majesty the Queen and was looking to give trainer Sir Michael Stoute his third consecutive Canadian International win, was in a perfect stalking spot in second place with The Pizza Man racing third on the inside and covered by Erupt.
William Buick, riding Dartmouth, finally put away World Approval with a furlong to run but at this point Erupt was finishing more strongly and would not be denied.
“I was a bit worried about my stall number (Post 8), but he started well,” said Pasquier. “We took good position right behind the leader and the race was perfect today. “I feel that I had a lot of gas, actually. It went easily.”
Wake Forest raced within striking range early and finished well to be third, just a half-length behind Dartmouth and a similar margin before The Pizza Man.The pair were renewing a rivalry from Woodbine’s Grade 1 Northern Dancer, which was won by a neck by The Pizza Man with Wake Forest second. Idaho was within range from the backfield but failed to pick up the pace while looking to give jockey Ryan Moore his fourth consecutive Canadian International score and finished fifth.
Rounding out the order of finish were Danish Dynaformer, Taghleeb, World Approval, and Protectionist, who did not break alertly and never got into the running. The final time, over a turf course rated as firm, was 2:30.87.
Buick and Castellano, rider of Wake Forest, had no complaints following the running.
“He ran good,” said Buick, who was riding Dartmouth for the first time. “The winner went off and won easy but he stuck on well for second. I’m delighted with the run, he did his best. He ran his heart out.”
Castellano, also, was full of praise for his mount, Wake Forest.
“I saved all the ground on the first turn and I’m very satisfied with how he did it,” said Castellano. “We were third best today. At the top of the stretch when I asked him he responded but I have to give the winner a lot of credit. The winner just took off and he was much the best.”
Erupt was the first North American starter for his trainer Francis-Henri Graffard and the second at Woodbine for Pasquier, who had finished ninth aboard Lucayan in the 2009 Canadian International. Pasquier was not without North American success, however, as he won the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile with Karakontie.
As for Erupt, Pasquier had been his pilot for all but the first (and winning start) of his 11-race career coming into the Canadian International. The colt had reeled off four straight wins starting out last spring but had been unable to find the range in subsequent appearances.
“We won a Group 1 in France at three-years-old but it was a difficult start to this year,” said Pasquier. “Today he came back very easily and I’m very happy to have found my horse again.”
Flaxman Holdings, the nom du course of the late Stavros Niarchos, owns the homebred Erupt, who was foaled in Ireland. Erupt returned $26.30, $9.50 and $5.60 and keyed an 8-5 exacta with Dartmouth ($4.70, $3.50) which was worth $77.50. Wake Forest ($5.10), sent off at almost 10-1, rounded out an 8-5-6 trifecta which returned $593.70 and the $1 superfecta with The Pizza Man getting the smallest slice came back at $1,385.95.
The mutuel handle on the day was an excellent $9,212,804, a record for the Pattison Canadian International card. The previous mark was $6,476,316, recorded in 2015.