TORONTO, ON – Live Oak Plantation’s Old Chestnut set a swift early lead, then aired it out in the stretch to win Sunday’s inaugural running of the $100,000 Ontario Racing Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking best of all from post 4 under Tyler Gaffalione as the 6/5 favorite, Old Chestnut cleared his inner foes almost immediately and angled in while securing command. The bettors’ choice set the pace through opening fractions of :21.77 and :45.24 as Aye Aye Sir watched closely from off of his right hip.
Gaffalione asked the question once they straightened for home, and Old Chestnut responded immediately, kicking clear and running unopposed to the wire. The Mark Casse trainee crossed 3 3/4 lengths ahead in a final time of :56.85 for the 5-furlong sprint over the firm inner turf course.
“He has so much power,” Gaffalione said. “He’s a very kind horse, very smart. He shot right out and took care of business.”
Barilko saved all the ground after breaking from the rail and was able to close along the inside to get up for second. Aye Aye Sir yielded late and narrowly held third by a neck over a rallying Goldmine Cat on the outside. Clear Destination, Divided Sky, and Miss Understanding completed the order of finish.
Old Chestnut’s win was his second straight following a maiden-breaking effort going the same distance over the local course on August 9. The juvenile son of Speightstown’s debut was a fifth in the Victoria Stakes over Woodbine’s synthetic main track. He’s now earned $78,885 to date.
“I thought about (entering the Summer Stakes [G1]) for a little bit, and then thought maybe go here and then go to Keeneland (for the Indian Summer Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint ‘Win and You’re In’),” Casse said. “We won it last year with Strike Silver. That’s what kind of swayed my decision to come here. We’d go here, and then hopefully with a good performance there, he’d go to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Old Chestnut returned $4.50 to win, $3.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Barilko brought back $6 to place and $3 to show, while Aye Aye Sir paid $2.60 to show.