Conquest Enforcer, racing off a seven-month layoff, boosted his Queen’s Plate credentials with a strong score in Saturday’s $150,000 Queenston Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Mark Casse for owner Conquest Stables, the Into Mischief bay was last seen on October 11 winning the grassy Cup and Saucer Stakes by 6 ¾-lengths over Butterfly Dance and Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite Shakhimat.
Conquest Enforcer arrived at the Queenston, a seven furlong Tapeta sprint for Canadian-foaled sophomores, with a series of sharp works and the confidence of regular pilot Patrick Husbands.
Sent to post as the 1-5 mutuel favourite, Husbands sent Conquest Enforcer to the lead in the compact field of four and never looked back through splits of :24.08 and :47.69 en route to a facile 7 ¾-length score. Songs and Laughter, prominent throughout, won a place battle by 1 ½-lengths over Ultraflame. Conquest Enforcer covered seven furlongs in 1:23.73.
Husbands was full of praise for Conquest Enforcer following the impressive score.
“With him, it’s all about talent. You can’t take anything away from a good horse,” said Husbands. “Only six weeks ago he worked his first three-eighths. He came into this race on pure talent.”
The victory marked the first stakes win of the meet for the veteran rider, a win he felt confident of securing.
“I’ve always had confidence in this horse. I’ve been breezing him since day one and I knew coming into this race it was going to take a good horse to beat him,” said Husbands.
The main question for Conquest Enforcer now is whether or not he can make the $1-million Queen’s Plate, the 1 ¼-mile Canadian classic, slated for July 3.
“There’s about five weeks left and we’ll see how he comes out of the race. We just have to keep our fingers crossed and go from there,” said Husbands.
Conquest Enforcer, bred in Ontario by Tall Oaks Farm, banked $94,500 in victory while improving his record to two wins from three starts.
He paid $2.60 and $2.10, combining with Songs and Laughter ($3.40) for an $8.40 (4-3) exactor. A 4-3-1 triactor (Ultraflame) was worth $10.60. Conquest Cavalry was scratched.