Chart-topping Pink Lloyd, Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year, seeks an 11th straight stakes score at Woodbine Racetrack in Sunday’s $125,000 Achievement Stakes.
The ultra-consistent son of Old Forester-Gladiator Queen heads into the six-furlong main track event off yet another impressive performance, a thoroughly dominant 6-1/4 length triumph in the $100,000 New Providence Stakes on May 13.
It prompted Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller to offer up in the aftermath of the win, “The LeBron James of Canadian horse racing, does that fit? That’s what I’m saying.”
Not many could argue the comparison between the NBA megastar and Canada’s rock star, the one who set a track record in the Jacques Cartier Stakes on Opening Day of the 2018 Woodbine meet.
For John Carey, the man who bred Pink Lloyd, watching the chestnut gelding’s unprecedented run is both deeply rewarding and nerve-wracking.
“When he first started out doing his good stuff, I remember saying, ‘If he wins today, it’s going to be great for him,’” said Carey, who operates T. C. Westmeath Stud Farm. “Now, we kind of expect it. But it brings out the nerves. All I can say is that I came to this country 41 years ago and I never thought I’d breed a nice sprinter like this guy. I thought I had the capabilities of being a good manager, but I never thought I could breed a top-of-the-line sprinter like him.”
There’s absolutely no doubt Carey has.
Pink Lloyd, who launched his career in 2016 with three straight scores, now has 13 lifetime wins from 15 starts, along with $980,080 in purse earnings for Entourage Stable.
“There’s no question he was a very nicely-made horse and he had beautiful conformation,” recalled Carey. “The biggest thing with him was that he had the potential to be a good racehorse. I saw it and so did the trainer (Tiller), who made sure he got over all his baby issues before he raced him.”
Champion jockey and regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva doesn’t mince words when it comes to where Pink Lloyd slots in on his top horses list.
“Definitely I can say this is the best horse I ever rode,” said da Silva after the New Providence. “A very special horse.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Glenn Sikura, Chief Steward of the Jockey Club of Canada who owns and operates Hill ‘N’ Dale Farms.
He sees Pink Lloyd’s compelling streak as a win-win for racing.
“It’s good for John Carey, a local guy, and Old Forester who has been a staple in Ontario racing for a long time,” Sikura said. “He’s been a really good regional sire for a long time and it’s good for the sale to know that you can get a top horse out of the Toronto sale as well.
“I hope it carries on for a long time and I hope there’s a groundswell beyond the nucleus of horse lovers. I really hope he can reach another audience.”
Another bring-the-fans-to-their-feet encore certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Carey would love to see Pink Lloyd make that familiar trip to the winner’s circle on Sunday.
“His dam, there’s a great story behind that,” he continued. “I delivered her as a baby for clients. They raced her and when she was done…the trainer asked me if I would buy her. I did buy her for peanuts. The mare had great potential. She’s a big, good-looking mare, who is by Great Gladiator. I also owned him at the time. I thought she could produce runners.
“I’m just proud of everything when it comes to Pink Lloyd. Most of all, it’s all Ontario Sired power behind this horse. I have the mother here, the father here and the grandfather is buried on this farm. I have the whole foundation here.”
It’s something Carey was reminded of as he looked out his dining room window.
“Even early on, Pink Lloyd was a powerful horse with a strong attitude,” he said. “The mother had a full-brother just over a week ago. He’s a big, beautiful horse as well, but really strong-minded just like Pink Lloyd. I’m sitting here looking out and I’m facing west and the only horse I can see is his mother. It’s a lovely sight.”
The Achievement Stakes is slated as race eight on Sunday’s 11-race card. First post time is 1 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
$125,000 Achievement Stakes
Post / Horse / Jockey / Trainer
1 / Yorkton / Steve Bahen / Stuart Simon
2 / Conquest Lemonraid / Patrick Husbands / Mark Casse
3 / Occasional View / Chantal Sutherland / Kevin Attard
4 / Lokinforpursemonee / Rafael Hernandez / John Ross
5 / Pink Lloyd / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Robert Tiller