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TORONTO, ON – Augustin Stable’s Utmost reigned supreme en route to taking his first graded score in Sunday’s Grade 2, $175,000 Sky Classic Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking well under Alan Garcia from the outside of the stout five-horse field, Utmost sat just off of early leader and 4/5 favorite Tiz a Slam through opening splits of :25.43, :50.25, 1:15.29, and 1:40.47 for the opening mile. With 3 furlongs remaining, Utmost drew alongside the leader as they made the far turn for the second time, and the two front-runners engaged for the stretch run home. In the final furlong, Utmost had put himself securely in front, and under a continuing drive, Utmost hit the wire with a length advantage in a final time of 2:17.61 for the 1 3/8-mile turf marathon.
“He broke well, and then after that, I put my head down and he was on cruise control,” Garcia said. “I was only worried about the horses in the back. Before turning for home, I saw in the back nobody was coming, and I said the only horse to beat is in front of me, so I said let me take my time… He was the best today.”
Though not strong enough to hold on in the end, Tiz a Slam was much the best of the rest, taking second by 9 1/4 lengths. Seeking Albert necked out third over Black Sea, while Drumcliff‘s saddle slipped near the end of the backstretch and he was pulled up as a safety concern. Danish Dynaformer was scratched.
Utmost’s win was his first since shipping to the barn of Graham Motion, for whom he has now started twice after making the first eight starts of his career overseas. The 4-year-old intact son of Giant’s Causeway now sports a record of 10-3-0-3 with earnings of $160,012.
“I talked to the assistant and I talked to Sheena Ryan, because she gets on him in the morning sometimes, and asked how he was doing,” Garcia said. “She said, ‘He’s a nice horse, he’s very relaxed. He’s a classy horse, you’re going to love him.’ And she was right.”
Utmost returned $5.60 to win and $2.70 to place, while Tiz a Slam paid $2.20 to place. There was no show betting.
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