TORONTO, ON – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Mark Casse’s Gretzky the Great timed his shot perfectly, getting up to score late in Sunday’s $100,000 Soaring Free Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking briskly from post 5 under Kazushi Kimura as the 2/1 second choice, Gretzky the Great settled into second and allowed Into the Sunrise to set the opening pace.
With Justin Stein aboard, Into the Sunrise set an unpressured opening tempo, posting initial fractions of 23.16 and :45.51 while Gretzky the Great gave closest watch.
Kimura tipped his colt out at the top of the stretch, but Into the Sunrise still had another gear to find and kept his advantage for much of the stretch run.
Gretzky the Great ranged up at the 1/16 pole and lunged past the tiring pacesetter in the late stages to win by a neck. The Mark Casse trainee completed the 6 1/2-furlong firm outer turf sprint in a final time of 1:13.83.
The even-money favorite Ready to Repeat was unable to win his third straight, finishing third beaten 1 1/4 lengths.
Well behind him came Gospel Way and Exceed to complete the order of finish.
Gretzky the Great’s win followed his maiden-breaking effort over the local synthetic surface on August 2 and improved his overall record to 3-2-1-0. The Ontario-bred juvenile colt became the first stakes winner for his freshman sire Nyquist, the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) champion.
“I was so satisfied the last time and today that was the best performance of his life,” Kimura said.
Gretzky the Great returned $6.70 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.20 to show. Into the Sunrise brought back $4 to place and $2.30 to show, while Ready to Repeat paid $2.10 to show.