TORONTO, ON – Racer’s Edge, Inc. and Maxis Stable’s Decorated Soldier shot to the front out of the gate and never looked back en route to wiring Sunday’s Grade 3, $125,000 Seagram Cup Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking sharply from the 5 post under Gary Boulanger, Decorated Soldier’s fast start was enough to propel him past his five foes and allow him to cross over heading into the first turn. Running along the inside with Shakhimat to his outside, Decorated Soldier set initial splits of :23.54, :46.69, and 1:10.77. Beginning to separate himself from Shakhimat in the far turn, Decorated Soldier drew off at the top of the lane and cruised home past the judges under only light urging. The Norm McKnight trainee crossed with a 2 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:43.71 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the synthetic surface.
“I know Gary’s rode him a few times for us, but right from day one when he rode him, he said, ‘This is a serious horse!’” McKnight said. “So we’ve just gone with that, and until he dropped the ball, we were just going to keep being aggressive with him and putting him in spots and let him show us whether he belonged or not.”
Gigantic Breeze spent much of the race tracking the winner but faded late in the stretch and was only able to just nose out the winner’s stablemate, Florida Won. The 3-2 favorite Are You Kidding Me didn’t fire his best and was able to only create a mild rally before necking out Melmich for fourth. Shakhimat weakened to the rear of the field and completed the order of finish.
Decorated Soldier’s win was second straight and third in four starts, all at Woodbine, since McKnight claimed him at Oaklawn back in April for $20,000. The 5-year-old gelded son of Proud Citizen increased his record to 17-6-2-0 with earnings of $275,825.
“He’s just been a diamond in the rough, a real treasure,” McKnight said. “We took a look at this horse in Oaklawn when we were down there. We liked everything we saw about him. The reason we were particularly interested is he’d never been on the synthetic and never been on the grass, so I thought they were two angles that he possibly might have a big move, but we never dreamt that he’d be doing what he’s been doing. We just thought he was a nice solid horse at the time, but he’s just kept getting better and better.”
Decorated Soldier returned $21 to win, $10.10 to place, and $6.90 to show. Gigantic Breeze brought back $7 to place and $5 to show, while Florida Won paid $6.50 to show.