TORONTO, ON – Chiefswood Stable’s homebred Neepawa, twice a stakes-placed colt that never seemed to have the winning trip, finally put it all together en route to wiring the field of nine in Saturday’s $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking sharply from post 7 under Jerome Lermyte, Neepawa quickly took command and led under splits of :24.49, :49.98, 1:14.66, and 1:39.91 for the opening mile. Quickening through the far turn, Neepawa hit the top of the stretch with a growing lead and was put to a drive. No foe was strong enough to cut into his massive lead, and the Mark Casse trainee was able to cross with a 3 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 2:31.18 for the 1 1/2-mile event over the yielding turf course.
“The plan was to keep him comfortable,” Lermyte said. “He went to the lead. He actually jumped somewhere around there, he jumped whatever he saw on the floor, but then he relaxed quite a bit, even though he was going a little bit faster than what I was planning on going. The main thing is I wanted him to be comfortable so he could produce the best effort at the end.”
Say the Word was no match for the winner but still finished strongly, taking second by 5 1/4 lengths over Flight Deck, who in turn was a 1/2-length ahead of Eskiminzin for third. Hot Cash crossed in fifth ahead of Real Dude and Ginger Sky, while the 2/1 favorite Aheadbyacentury was never a factor and finished a disappointing eighth. Absolution completed the order of finish.
“I was a little worried when I saw him on the lead so early, but the pace was slow and the track was heavy and he can run all day, so it was good,” said Robert Krembil of Chiefswood Stable.
Neepawa’s win was just his second and improved his overall record to 11-2-1-3 with earnings of $285,683. The 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy returned $6.80 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.10 to show. Say the Word brought back $4.50 to place and $3.40 to show, while Flight Deck paid $7.90 to show.