TORONTO, ON – Trainer Christophe Clement’s Decorated Invader lived up to the recent buzz his morning works had created, employing a strong stretch drive to score in Sunday’s $250,000 Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine.
The Summer is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Decorated Invader receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita Park this November.
Breaking from post 2 as the co-2/1 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Decorated Invader appeared to be a step slow and found himself toward the rear. Up front, several horses jostled for command before High Connelly ultimately secured top position. The 109/1 longest shot on the board posted opening fractions of :24.26, :48.43, and 1:13.08 while under a tight early hold.
Midway through the far turn, Decorated Invader tipped out so that as he rounded to the top of the stretch, he was in prime position to power forward. Running wide down the middle of the lane, Decorated Invader began gobbling up ground with every step until he had collared the pacesetter near the 1/16 pole.
Digging in with a final burst, Decorated Invader kicked clear in the final stages before crossing 1 3/4 lengths ahead. He completed the mile-long event over the yielding turf course in 1:36.34.
“We were just looking for him to relax in the first part of the race and then let him run in the end,” said Ortiz, Jr. “We know he can run, so we just wanted to relax him and teach him the first part.”
A three-way photo for second ultimately went to High Connelly, who yielded late but held onto the place by a head over Vitalogy, with Proven Strategies missing them by another head. Fifth went to Pleasecallmeback by 3/4 of a length over Talking, while behind them came Cucina, Zoological, the other co-favorite Mystic Lancelot, and Keep On Truckin to complete the order of finish. Secret Stash scratched when her connections opted to run her in the Natalma Stakes (G1) later in the card, where she finished fifth.
Decorated Invader’s win was his second straight following a maiden-breaking effort at Saratoga on August 10 and improved his career mark to 3-2-1-0. The son of Declaration of War, purchased for $200,000 last September, has now earned $180,375 for co-owners West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman, and William Sandbrook.
“I know he broke a touch poorly, but with the rain we had and everything, I was pretty comfortable,” said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. “He was moving well and I was happy where he was. We were just very confident with our ride. He was just biding his time. He showed up today.”
Decorated Invader returned $6.80 to win, $4 to place, and $3 to show. Cadet Connelly brought back $55.20 to place and $17.20 to show, while Vitaogy paid $4.50 to show.