TORONTO, ON – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s Gretzky the Great scored his third straight victory, then survived a lengthy inquiry, in Sunday’s $250,000 Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine.
The Summer is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Gretzky receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Turf at Keeneland this November.
Gretzky broke from post 2 under Kazushi Kimura as the 2/1 favorite in the field of seven juveniles and settled into second while stalking outside of Secret Potion.
Ready to Repeat set the early tempo and posted fractions of :24.10 and :47.82 while racing 2 lengths clear heading into the far turn.
Kimura tipped Gretzky the Great out at the top of the stretch and soon swept past the pacesetter to clearly hold the lead.
Though he lugged in late, forcing Ready to Repeat to steady, Gretzky the Great crossed 3 1/4 lengths much the best while completing the one-turn firm outer turf mile event in 1:34.53.
“He is such an amazing horse,” Kimura said after his first career Grade 1 victory. “When I came to the final turn, then come through the final stretch, he had a tremendous explosion. He sometimes was a little bit lugging in, but he’s just still a baby.”
Ready to Repeat remained 1 length ahead of the winner’s stablemate Dolder Grand, who got up for third over American Monarch by a 1/2-length
Heat of the Night nosed out Secret Potion for in fifth, while Download (who stumbled out of the gate and trailed throughout) completed the order of finish.
Shortly after crossing, jockey Luis Contreras (aboard Ready to Repeat) lodged a claim of foul, alleging interference when Gretzky the Great lugged in, but the stewards opted to make no change to the original order of finish.
Gretzky the Great’s win was his third straight following the 6 1/2-furlong Soaring Free Stakes over the same course last month. The Ontario-bred Nyquist colt, privately purchased after he was an RNA for $295,000 now carries a record of 4-3-1-0 with $252,205 earned.
“He’s a so easy horse – I mean to control,” Kimura said. “If I want to do something, I can do anything.”
Grezky the Great returned $6.80 to win, $3.30 to place, and $3 to show. Ready to Repeat brought back $5 to place and $4 to show, while Dolder Grand paid $4.10 to show.