TORONTO, ON – Despite jockey Luis Contreras dropping his whip in the stretch, owner/trainer Mark Casse’s Field of Courage held on gamely to win Sunday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine.
Conquest Tsunami led through initial fractions of :22.88 and :45.93 while Field of Courage remained in nearby through the far turn. Making a three-wide bid at the top of the stretch, Field of Courage drew off and, despite Contreras losing the whip, drove clear to hit the line first by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:12.07 for the 6-furlong turf race.
“I just broke and I let my horse be really close,” Contreras said. “I don’t want to be too far back on this kind of track. Everything worked out very well for us and I’m very happy.”
Cotai Glory was up for second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of favored White Flag. Another 1 3/4 lengths back, Ikerrin Road took fourth. Conquest Tsunami faded to fifth, finishing a head past Dowse’s Beach, with Yorkton and Circle of Friends completing the order of finish.
A Woodbine regular who was supplemented for $50,000 and was offered for a $62,500 claiming tag as recently as July 23, Field of Courage improved his record to 17-6-2-1. Casse purchased the 5-year-old gelded son of Marchfield as a yearling for $66,374; he’s since earned $429,693.
“He was (awesome),” said assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan. “Luis gave him a great ride, for sure. He was doing very well, but it was a very big step up in company for him, and maybe the conditions today worked out well for him, because he certainly looked pretty happy out there.”
Field of Courage returned $82.70 to win, $28 to place, and $10.70 to show. Cotai Glory brought back $5.70 to place and $3.60 to show, while White Flag paid $2.50 to show.