TORONTO, ON – Sean Fitzhenry’s homebred Mr. Havercamp continued his Woodbine dominance on his owner’s birthday en route to his first career graded score in Saturday’s Grade 2, $175,000 Play the King Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking as the 4/5 favorite under Eurico Da Silva, Mr. Havercamp was unhurried early and raced near the rear while the field’s lone filly La Sardane set opening splits of :23.92 and :47.59. Forced to steady at the top of the stretch while lacking running room, Mr. Havercamp eventually found a hole and surged through it before proving to be much the best. The Catherine Day Phillips trainee crossed with a widening 2 1/2-length lead in a final time of 1:23.94 for the 7-furlong sprint over the yielding turf course.
“It was pretty tight,” said Da Silva the stretch run. “When you have so much horse, you just have to wait for the opportunity to come and he just did everything himself. He’s just a very, very nice horse, and when you need him, he’s there for you. He’s a wonderful horse to ride.”
A three-way photo finish for second came behind him, with Vanish nosing out second over Sweet Little Man and Holding Gold just a neck behind them. La Sardane gave way late and outlasted only Boreal Spirit to complete the order of finish. The turf course’s condition was enough to force Sweet Grass Creek, White Flag, and Yorkton to scratch.
Mr. Havercamp’s win improved his overall record to 9-6-0-0, with an eye-popping 7-6-0-0 record at Woodbine. The 4-year-old gelded son of Court Vision has now earned $346,022 in his career.
“I knew he had a ton of horse and I just hoped he would get through,” said Day Phillips. “I felt he would get through and luckily, he did. (The off going is) an unknown factor, he’s never run on a soft turf, and so I don’t like unknowns. I was confident in him on a regular turf, so it was a new element in his racing, but he handled it.”
Winner returned $ to win, $ to place, and $ to show. Place brought back $ to place and $ to show, while Show paid $ to show.