Multiple graded stakes winner and 2017 Canadian Horse of the Year, eight-year-old Pink Lloyd, faces eight rivals in the $125,000 Vigil Stakes (Grade 3), Saturday at Woodbine.
Sovereign Award winner and 22-time stakes champion Pink Lloyd chases another stakes crown in a race he has owned the past three years. Trained by Robert Tiller for Entourage Stable, the eight-year-old gelded son of Old Forester goes after his fourth consecutive Vigil score.
The chestnut, bred by John Carey, has rhymed off a perfect three straight victories this season, his latest tour de force coming in the Bold Venture (G3) on August 15.
Pink Lloyd launched his current campaign with a triumph in the Jacques Cartier (G3) on June 25. That was followed by a win in the Shepperton Stakes on July 23.
Riding a nine-race win streak, the Ontario-bred could go double platinum in earnings with a first or second-place finish in the Vigil.
Tiller, who would love to see Pink Lloyd reach the $2 million (CDN) mark in career purse earnings this Saturday, is keeping his focus strictly on the race itself.
“I try not to think about things like that,” said the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee. “I’ve reached the point where if I start thinking about winning another race with him, or any other accomplishment… we just try to keep carrying on and what will be will be. Thank God I have enough horses in the barn to keep my mind occupied. Winning another race with Pink Lloyd… we just try to our best with him. If we win, I’m thrilled, obviously. But I try to stay as grounded and focused as possible.”
Admittedly, it’s not always an easy task.
But watching the multiple stakes champion make his way to the winner’s circle is a scene that never gets old for Tiller.
“They’ll never be another one like him, and they’ll never be another one close to him. I’m always trying to come up with a new phrase or new way to talk about him. It’s hard, but I’ll think of something soon. He’s just a phenomenal animal and athlete. He’s amazingly perfect. The more he wins, the more you realize that.”
As does everyone who works with Tiller.
“The groom, the exercise rider, the hotwalkers – everybody loves him. No question. We’re all very much in love with him.”
Win or lose this weekend, Pink Lloyd isn’t ready to hang up his horseshoes for now.
“The party, it’s still on,” said Tiller.
Trainer Mark Casse sends out the trio of Blind Ambition, Not So Quiet, and Olympic Runner. A four-year-old son of Gio Ponti, Olympic Runner finished second, just a neck back of Pink Lloyd in the Bold Venture.
Multiple stakes placed Silent Jimmie, bred, owned, and trained by Paul Buttigieg, was second to Pink Lloyd in the Shepperton.
Trainer Barb Minshall won three straight editions of the Vigil, two with Kiridashi (1996-97) and the other with Sea Wall (1995).
Post times for the Thoroughbred racing programs on Friday, Sept. 4, and Saturday, Sept. 5 at Woodbine Racetrack have been shifted earlier to 12:50 p.m. ET. Sunday’s first race post time will remain unchanged (1 p.m. ET).
The Vigil is slated as race nine on Saturday’s 11-race card. First post time is 12:50 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIBet.com.
FIELD FOR THE GRADE 3 VIGIL STAKES
POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
1 – Silent Jimmie – Daisuke Fukumoto – Paul Buttigieg
2 – City Boy – Davy Moran – Mike Keogh
3 – Not So Quiet – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse
4 – Malibu Secret – Sahin Cavici – Martin Drexler
5 – Eskiminzin – Darryll Holland – Carlos Grant
6 – Olympic Runner – Kazushi Kimura – Mark Casse
7 – Pink Lloyd – Rafael Hernandez – Robert Tiller
8 – Blind Ambition – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
9 – Roaring Forties – Justin Stein – Daniel Vella