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TORONTO, ON – Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s The Black Album fought gamely the length of the stretch with a tough Inventing Blame before just getting his head up to rock a tight photo finish in Saturday’s $100,000 Charlie Barley Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking from post 3 under Flavien Prat as the 3/1 second choice while wearing blinkers for the first time, The Black Album was able to cross over to the rail and save ground. Up front, Inventing Blame took the early lead and posted opening fractions of :23.98 and :46.90. After continuing to run along the inside through the far turn, Prat tipped The Black Album out at the top of the stretch and he began chasing down the pacesetter.
Though The Black Album was able to rally well enough to put his head in front in mid-stretch, Inventing Blame dug in and fought back strongly to retake the lead. The two raced noses apart in deep stretch, but at the wire, The Black Album ultimately won the bob by a head. The Rodolphe Brisset trainee completed the mile-long event over the firm turf course in a final time of 1:34.01.
The even-money favorite Global Access, winner of the Marine Stakes (G3) here last May, raced two-wide in mid-pack throughout before getting up late for third over the first-time gelding Mo Speed. Completing the order of finish came Inclusive, Curlin Grey, and True Dat.
The Black Album’s win was his first since taking the Prix la Rochette (G3) at Longchamp last September and improved his overall record to 10-4-0-2 with $167,230 earned. The French-bred 3-year-old son of Wootton Bassett relocated to North America following that victory but was only able to hit the board once in four starts, all against graded competition.
“We drew a good hole, so from that draw we were able to get a good trip, and I think the blinkers helped him quite a bit today,” Prat said.
The Black Album returned $8.60 to win, $5.10 to place, and $2.90 to show. Inventing Blame brought back $7.70 to place and $3.20 to show, while Global Access paid $2.10 to show.
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