Pender Harbour was an impressive repeat winner of Sunday’s $126,200 Bunty Lawless Stakes, at Woodbine.
The four-year-old chestnut, trained by Mike De Paulo and once again partnered by regular rider Luis Contreras, captured two-thirds of the Canadian Triple Crown last year en route to being named Canada’s outstanding three-year-old horse.
Pender Harbour stalked the early pace of front-running Red Eagle and Welloiledmachine in the one-mile turf route over good going. Contreras steered Pender Harbour to the lead at the top of the lane and held on strong for a 2 1/2-length score over a rallying Good Better Best, covering the mile in 1:36.83.
Chantal Sutherland, who finished seventh in the race aboard Pender Harbour’s full brother, Crushin Hard, retired following the race. Crushin Hard is owned in part by her father, Hugh Sutherland.
Contreras, who piloted Pender Harbour to both the Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes in dramatic photo-finish fashion, prevailing in each race by a nose, was thrilled to once again ride the strapping horse.
“He’s a gorgeous horse to ride,” said Contreras.
De Paulo was impressed with Pender Harbour’s strength as the top-weight in the 11-horse field.
“He’s an exciting horse and he tries all the time,” said De Paulo. “Carrying 126 pounds is always a concern, we gave up eight pounds, or more, to some decent horses, but he’s just a hard-trying horse. We’re very lucky to have him.”
In victory, Pender Harbour improved his record to eight wins, two seconds and two thirds from 18 lifetime starts.
He paid $4, $2.70 and $2.70, combining with Good Better Best ($3.90, $3.20) for a $15.50 (8-1) exactor. An 8-1-7 (Mey’s Rocket, $6.70 to show) triactor was worth $148.80 while a $1 superfecta [8-1-7-5 (Red Eagle)] came back $367.40.