The incomparable Pink Lloyd deployed his usual tactics, powering past the competition in the stretch to add more hardware to his collection as he won the 45th edition of the $100,000 Shepperton Stakes on Thursday at Woodbine Racetrack.
He earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure for his time of 1:16.44 for 6 1/2 furlongs. The Tapeta surface was yielding slow times throughout the day.
Winning his third Shepperton title, Pink Lloyd ties Paso Doble with the most wins in the main track stakes event.
The Robert Tiller trainee also won this race in 2017 and 2019, and finished third in 2018. Paso Doble took the 2011, 2013 and 2014 events.
Carrying a field high weight of 128 pounds, Canada’s reigning three-time Champion Male Sprinter stalked the leaders along the rail before jockey Rafael Hernandez maneuvered him outside in the stretch and took off.
Pink Lloyd paid $2.60 to win as the overwhelming 1 to 5 favourite in the six-horse field. There was no place or show wagering.
Early trailer Silent Jimmie chased the champion home and got up for second just ahead of the front-runners, Dun Drum and Not So Quiet, who had set fractions of :23.25 and :45.88. Magical Man and Souper Success completed the order of finish.
Silent Jimmie ran the race of his life to be a very solid second for owner/trainer Paul Buttigieg and jockey Daisuke Fukumoto, closing ground on the champion who was doing what he had to to get the win.
“He’s got the heart and desire to be probably the best sprinter in Canada the last 50 years,” said Tiller, who has won the Shepperton a record six times for a trainer. “He is amazing. He was in trouble all the way. We got the box trip with the one-hole, and it worked out well. Raffi waited and waited.”
“We’re very proud of him and I love him dearly,” said the Hall of Fame horseman.
Bred by John Carey and owned by Entourage Stable, the eight-year-old Ontario-bred son of Old Forester – Gladiator Queen by Great Gladiator now boasts 24 career wins from 29 starts and is approaching the $2 million mark in career earnings.
A 21-time stakes winner, Pink Lloyd previously put together an 11-race win streak in stakes action, beginning at the start of his 2017 Horse of the Year campaign. Pink Lloyd’s current streak is now at eight after going six-for-six in 2019 and winning a record fourth Grade 3 Jacques Cartier Stakes in his season’s debut on June 25.
“Last time, he gave me a little hard time – he had to work hard to get there – but after the race, I told Bob, ‘Now he’s ready 100 per cent,’” said Hernandez. “He showed up today. He just broke out of the gate, sat behind good and he just did the best thing he knows how to do… he just switched the lead in the stretch and ‘let’s go.’
“He knows how to do it, he knows how to win.” The Bold Vanture on Aug.15 is the next sprint race for older horses with the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on Sept. 5. Later, Oct. 31 is the overskate Stakes on turf and the Kennedy Road on Nov. 21. Pink Lloyd is scheduled to be retired to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement in Hillsburgh upon the conclusion of his career.
Race 1 Thursday – Manitoba visitor RAVEN’S CRY, a black gelding bred in Manitoba by Larry Falloon and Andrew Clarke, easily won his Woodbine and Tapeta debut for $7,000 claiming for owners Falloon, Clarke and Dennis Huberdeau. The Victor’s Cry fellow was ridden by Sahin Civaci for trainer Martin Drexler and the winning Beyer Figure was 77 for 58.42 at 5 furlongs.
Race 2 – Rick Pettifer’s ANITA GRIGIO won her maiden for $10,000 in her 9th career race working hard to win by a head under Steve Bahen. The winner, trained by Nick Gonzalez, is an Old Forester out of Pettifer’s champion My Vintage Port. Anita was claimed from the race by trainer Randy Thompson.
Race 3- Steve and Beverley Owens’ DANCING DRAGON won a 2-year-old maiden race worth a whopping $101, 168, collecting $57,000 for taking the 5 1/2 furlong dash by a nose over Mark Casse trainee Magic Spin. The winner was making his second career start and he is a very quick son of Old Forester from the Owens’ own mare Town Dance by Dance Brightly. This was the first win of 4 on the night for Hernandez.
Race 4 – LADIES SIGNATURE led all the way to win this 5 1/2 furlong dash for fillies and mares for $25,000 claiming and the winning owner is Elvis Waithe. Trained by Shana Lopez, who was getting her second win of the meeting, Ladies Signature had been eased in her most recent race for $40,000 but came back with a quick workout and she was bet down to 5 to 2. The winner was bred by Bob Watson and is by Signature Red.
Race 5- Mike Mailhot and Mark Hughes’ homebred POWER HOUSE was well prepared to win her season debut in this 1 mile turf race for claiming $15,000. Trained by Sylvain Pion, this Victor’s Cry mare is handy sort from the mare Sinhouse. This was her 2nd win from 9 starts, 6 on turf.
Race 6 – PIVEN was so happy to be back to his home track and he zipped up the rail to win this $62,500 claiming race by a neck over Circle of Friends. The horses staying off the hot pace duel did the best in this good race and Piven, claimed last year for $62,500 by Gary Barber and Mark Casse, was deftly ridden by Hernandez.
The gelding by prospective was out of sorts in his first two starts for Barber and Casse as he raced on dirt and grass but put up an 82 Beyer Figure for this 6th career win in 1:17.83 for 6 1/2 furlongs.
Race 8 – Bill and Al Ulwelling have an exciting 3-year-old filly for the Woodbine Oaks in Merveilleux but they have a mini-backup too in the improving BAYOU BELLE. Coming off a troubled sprint opener, the Kevin Attard trainee overcame an early pace battle with her own stablemate La Bonita and drew off to win by 5 1/2 lengths for a 72 Beyer Figure. She is a Silver Max – Honey Ryder filly bred by Adena Springs in Ontario.