Eclipse Stakes (G2) winner Skywire, runner-up Avie’s Flatter, and third-place finisher Mr Ritz will square off in Sunday’s $125,000 Seagram Cup Stakes (G3), at Woodbine.
Hall of Fame conditioner Josie Carroll will look to win her second straight Seagram crown when she sends out a pair of multiple stakes winners in Avie’s Flatter and Mr Ritz, who took last year’s running of the 1 1/16-mile main track race for three-year-olds and upward.
The graded stakes victors meet up again with four-year-old Skywire, the Mark Casse trainee who pulled off a 17-1 upset in the Eclipse on July 4 at Woodbine.
Ivan Dalos’ homebred Avie’s Flatter, a four year-old son of Flatter, fashions a record of 4-3-2 from 12 career starts. His last victory came in the Transylvania (G3) last April at Keeneland.
The Ontario-bred colt finished third in a 7 ½-furlong turf engagement to launch his 2020 campaign, following it up with the second-place effort in the Eclipse.
Avie’s Flatter contested all three jewels in the Canadian Triple Crown, finishing second in the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales, before a third-place performance in the Breeders’ Stakes.
A bay son of Oasis Dream (GB) out of Que Puntual, Mr Ritz, bred and owned by Earle Mack, went off as the favourite in the Eclipse, crossing the wire third as the 3-5 choice.
Sporting a 5-3-2 record from 12 career starts, Mr Ritz, after taking his debut in 2017 at Kempton Park in England, came to North America, becoming a stakes winner in 2018 in Indiana before finishing third in the Ontario Derby (G3) at Woodbine.
In 2019, he posted two wins and two seconds in five starts. He won back-to-back stakes last August and September – both by 1 ¼-lengths – including an impressive showing in the Seagram on August 11.
“This is just a really nice horse that I believed was going to improve this year and he’s proving us right,” said Carroll after the win.
One month after his Seagram triumph, Mr Ritz headed south and claimed his second consecutive stakes victory, this time in the $200,000 Presque Isle Mile. He stopped the clock in a track record 1:41.91 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Other Seagram contenders include Western Canadian invader Explode, a six-time winner from 12 starts, Jungle Fighter (3-2-1 from seven starts), a son of Animal Kingdom who will make his four-year-old debut in the Seagram, and Chiefswood Stables’ multiple graded stakes winner Tiz a Slam.
The complete field for the Seagram, which is scheduled as race seven of 10 on Sunday’s 1 p.m. program, is listed below.
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$125,000 SEAGRAM CUP
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Skywire – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
2 – Mr Ritz – Patrick Husbands – Josie Carroll
3 – Jungle Fighter – Davy Moran – Michael Doyle
4 – Cooler Mike – Kazushi Kimura – Nick Nosowenko
5 – Avie’s Flatter – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
6 – Tiz a Slam – Steven Bahen – Roger Attfield
7 – Explode – Justin Stein – Stuart Simon
8 – Perfect Tapatino – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Roger Attfield