A game and determined Bear’sway won a thrilling stretch duel with Dragon Bay to capture Sunday’s $100,600 Wando Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Reade Baker for owner Bear Stables Ltd., Bear’sway made his seasonal debut a winning one in the 1 1/16-mile event for sophomores with a prominent rail-riding effort under leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva.
The undefeated Amis Gizmo, sent to post as the 4-5 mutuel favourite, was quickest from the gate to mark the opening quarter in :24.54 as Bear’sway tracked his early foot along the rail.
Amis Gizmo led the field through the opening turn with Dragon Bay and Conquest Daddyo advancing on his outside flank, but da Silva, spotting an opening along the rail, surged through to take command down the backstraight clocking a half-mile in :47.84.
Bear’sway and Amis Gizmo battled to the final turn as Dragon Bay and a rallying Conquest Windycity loomed large. Bear’sway put away the mutuel favourite and appeared to be in dire straits as Dragon Bay advanced with a menacing move, but da Silva urged Bear’sway onward to secure a neck victory. Dragon Bay completed the exactor, 3 ¼-lengths in front of Conquest Windycity. Bear’sway covered 1 1/16-miles in 1:45.04.
A stewards’ inquiry into the run through the backstretch concerning Conquest Windycity and Thatlookonyerface, and a claim of foul by the rider of Thatlookonyerface, Gary Boulanger, against Conquest Windycity, with Alan Garcia up, resulted in Conquest Windycity being disqualified and placed fourth.
A second stewards’ inquiry into the run through the far turn concerning Dragon Bay, Conquest Windycity and Conquest Daddyo, along with a claim of foul by the rider of Conquest Daddyo, Patrick Husbands, against Dragon Bay and Conquest Windycity for interference on the far turn was disallowed.
Da Silva made a quick decision to advance up the rail and challenge Amis Gizmo.
“I worked this horse and he was very relaxed in the morning and that’s what I wanted to do today. I wanted to be behind horses,” said da Silva. “The pace of the first quarter went pretty good, but the pace started slowing down and I saw a gap inside so I just let him go a little bit because he was getting tough on me.”
Although Dragon Bay appeared to be moving best of all in the late stages, da Silva had faith his horse would stay the course.
“I was very confident,” said da Silva. “My horse was very well prepared for this race and there was no doubt in my mind he would be very strong for the last quarter and he showed that. He’s a wonderful animal and I think this horse is going to get better and better.”
Bear’sway, bred in Kentucky by Tapestry Stud LLC., banked $60,000 in victory while improving his record to 3-1-0 from six starts.
He paid $9.90, $4.80 and $4.10, combining with Dragon Bay ($5.30, $5.20) for a $72.80 (1-3) exactor. A 1-3-5 triactor (Thatlookonyerface, $14.20 to show) was worth $1545, while a $1 Superfecta [1-3-5-4 (Conquest Windycity)] came back $2990.70.