TORONTO, ON – Al and Bill Ulwelling’s Pumpkin Rumble dueled with his very game stablemate Melmich for the length of the stretch run before prevailing late and scoring big in Sunday’s Grade 3, $125,000 Valedictory Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking well from post 9 as the 1/2 favorite under leading rider Eurico Da Silva, Pumpkin Rumble settled comfortably in midpack while A. A. Azula’s Arch posted opening fractions of :49.69, 1:15.12, 1:42.31, and 2:07.28 for the opening 10 furlongs. Beginning to close the gap as the field ran down the backstretch for the second time, Pumpkin Rumble made his bid along the pacesetter’s outside as they made the far turn for the final time. With Melmich hot on his heels and beginning to make an outside bid himself, Pumpkin Rumble hit the top of the stretch with the lead, but his fellow Kevin Attard trainee soon poked his nose in front. The pair battled fiercely through to the wire, with the bettors’ choice ultimately coming out victorious in a final time of 2:56.16 for the 14-furlong marathon event over the fast all weather track.
Though he was outfinished late, Melmich remained much the best of the rest, as Vintage Matters crossed 8 1/2 lengths back in third. Bangkok took fourth by a length over a weakened A. A. Azula’s Arch, who headed English Illusion for fifth. Bowsprit, Ethical Funds, and Seeking Albert completed the order of finish.
Pumpkin Rumble’s win was his first in a graded event, his third straight overall, and improved his overall record to 42-9-8-8. The 7-year-old gelded son of English Channel, fifth in last year’s running, increased his lifetime bankroll to $550,453.
Pumpkin Rumble returned $3.10 to win, $2.50 to place, and $2.10 to show. Melmich brought back $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show, while Vintage Matters paid $3.90 to show.