TORONTO, ON – DARRS, Inc.’s Powell blazed himself a path down the middle of the lane to take home Sunday’s $100,000 Ontario Jockey Club Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking from the rail under Rafael Hernandez at 9/2 odds, Powell kept along the inside in mid-pack while Pemaquid Pete set early fractions of :22.57 and :45.04. Hernandez tipped Powell out a lane midway through the far turn and allowed him to slowly commence a bid to the front.
Straightening for home with a slight advantage over Pemaquid Pete, Powell tried separating in the stretch, but Pemaquid Pete wouldn’t let him get away easily. Despite his stubborn foe and late rallies from Big Drink of Water and Olympic Runner, Powell was able to hold sway to win by a 1/2-length. The Mike Stidham trainee completed the 6-furlong sprint over the fast synthetic surface in 1:09.23.
“I just tried getting a good break, and I know a couple of horses had some speed,” Hernandez said. “He can be able to relax a little bit. He can do anything. He loves the synthetic. I knew (Olympic Runner) was going to come flying, so I made sure I got the jump early, but my horse kicked in right away and he kept going down the lane. I still had a lot in the tank.”
Big Drink of Water came on late with a run to get up for second by 3/4 of a length. The even-money favorite Olympic Runner, who was undefeated in two prior starts over the local synthetic surface, rallied from last in the stretch but encountered just enough traffic trouble in the far turn to prevent him from advancing past third. After fighting hard along the rail in the stretch, Pemaquid Pete couldn’t quite hold on late and fell to fourth, missing third by just a head. Muskoka Wonder, Souper Success, Crawl From the Bar, and The Boss Factor completed the order of stretch.
Powell’s win was his first at the stakes level and his second at Woodbine, having broken his maiden on April 21 before finishing a close second just six days later in the local Woodstock Stakes. The 3-year-old son of Munnings improved his career record to 9-3-3-2 with $159,715 earned.
Powell returned $11.60 to win, $5.60 to place, and $3 to show. Big Drink of Water brought back $5 to place and $3 to show, while Olympic Runner paid $2.10 to show.