R U Watchingbud, under a determined ride by Emma-Jayne Wilson, nailed Hammerstein in the final stride to capture Saturday’s $150,000 Queenston Stakes, at Woodbine.
Owned and trained by John Ross, R U Watchingbud arrived at the seven furlong ‘Poly’ stake for Canadian-bred sophomores from a solid fourth-place effort in a Keeneland allowance tilt while making his seasonal debut.
Jacks Escarpment, with Jesse Campbell up, set a pressured pace in the Queenston marking a quarter in :23 and a half-mile in :46.23 with Hammerstein on his flank, as R U Watchingbud settled comfortably along the rail in seventh position.
Luis Contreras urged Hammerstein into motion through the turn and took command at the top of the lane opening up a 1 1/2-length lead, but could not fend off the rallying R U Watchingbud who tipped off the rail and gathered up ground with every stride for a 1 1/4-length win. Goodoldhockeygame arrived late to nip Hammerstein for place. R U Watchingbud covered seven furlongs in 1:21.98.
Ross was pleased with the effort of R U Watchingbud.
“Emma did a beautiful job, just laid off some of the speed,” Ross said. “He had lots in the tank and finished up well. We’re pretty excited about this horse.”
Ross will certainly entertain a path to the Queen’s Plate, slated for July 5, with the dark bay son of Kentucky Bear-Bonay, who was bred in Ontario by Bear Stables Ltd.
“This horse is bred to go long,” said Ross. “We’ll stay tuned and see how he comes out of it, and go from there.”
R U Watchingbud won on debut on May 18, 2014 and followed that effort with third-place runs in the Victoria and Clarendon Stakes before completing his juvenile campaign with a second-place effort in the Colin Stakes.
He banked $90,000 in victory while improving his record to 2-1-2 from 6 career starts.
He paid $18, $8.10 and $5.40, combining with Goodoldhockeygame ($14.50, $6.80) for a $162.30 (2-3) exactor. A 2-3-4 triactor (Hammerstein, $5 to show) was worth $1004.10, while a $1 Superfecta [2-3-4-1 (Conquest Boogaloo)] came back $1617.90.