TORONTO, ON – It wasn’t easy, but Henley Thoroughbreds and Newtop Stables’ Wyatt’s Town extended his win streak to four on Sunday after a hard-fought stretch battle against Hemp Hemp Hurray in the $100,000 Ontario Jockey Club Stakes at Woodbine.
Exiting post 3 as the 3/5 favorite under Eurico Da Silva, Wyatt’s Town quickly took command and ran 2-3 lengths ahead of Hemp Hemp Hurray through opening fractions of :22.52 and :45.05. Coming under pressure from his foe in the far turn, Wyatt’s Town dug in and fought back, but Hemp Hemp Hurray looked to pass him in the final furlong. The pair ran heads apart until the shadow of the wire, when the Norman McKnight trainee separated himself just enough to be named the victor by a neck in a final time of 1:09.52 for the 6-furlong sprint over the all-weather surface.
“I know how fast this horse is and I tried to relax as much as I could in a race,” said Da Silva. “He was running very, very relaxed. When we turned home, I thought it would be an easy game, but it was not. At the 1/8 pole, to be honest, it was not looking good for me. But you know what, he has a big heart. He fought very, very hard, and it was a beautiful race.”
For the second straight time, Hemp Hemp Hurray found himself the bridesmaid behind Wyatt’s Town, though he was much more threatening here than he was in July’s $100,000 King Corrie Stakes. Driven By History was 2 lengths back in third, while Captain Thunder outlasted Run Away to complete the order of finish.
Wyatt’s Town has now won three in a row since McKnight claimed him for $50,000 at Churchill Downs last May, the race that began his current streak. The 3-year-old son of Speightstown has a lifetime record of 10-4-2-4 with earnings of $205,438.
“Mid-stretch, I have to tell you, I thought we were in trouble, I thought we were collared,” agreed McKnight. “But he runs with a lot of grit and he just dug in and gave it his all and we held on.”
Wyatt’s Town returned $3.30 to win and $2.10 to place, while Hemp Hemp Hurray paid $2.20 to place. There was no show betting.