Thor’s Rocket will look to keep his winning ways going for owner, breeder and trainer Paul Buttigieg, as he looks for his second consecutive added-money crown, this time in Sunday’s $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes, at Woodbine.
A five-year-old son of standout sire Old Forester, Thor’s Rocket put the hammer down on the competition in the Overskate Stakes on October 27, rallying from ninth and last at the half to score by a half-length at odds of 6-1 in the seven-furlong main track feature.
The gelding will now tackle two turns over the Tapeta in the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton, an Ontario Sire Stakes.
“He’s doing good, very good right now,” said Buttigieg, who has won 556 career races. “He’s coming into this very well. The last race, there was a lot of speed in it and that helped us. He came from last to win it. I was very happy with how he came running.”
Although he has just one win on the campaign, in the aforementioned Overskate, the ultra-consistent chestnut also has a pair of seconds and three thirds from seven starts. He finished third in the OLG Elgin Stakes on August 29 and second in the Bunty Lawless on October 8.
His lowest finish to date in 2018 was a fourth on June 3 at the Toronto oval.
“I think he has a great shot to win this one, too,” offered Buttigieg of the lifetime winner of five races from 20 starts, all run at Woodbine. “He’s a very nice horse to have in your barn.”
Thor’s Rocket contested the 2016 running of the Sir Barton, but finished a disappointing ninth to Freitag. He had four wins and a third from eight starts that campaign, highlighted by a victory in the Vice Regent Stakes.
After a trying 2017 season, one in which he failed to hit the top-three in five starts, Thor’s Rocket has rebounded with an impressive season.
“He’s a quiet horse and very good to work around,” said Buttigieg. “He’s very consistent and he’s a very nice horse.”
Thor’s Rocket will look to win back-to-back races for the third time in his career. He achieved the feat in 2016 (June 18 and July 22; September 11 and October 2).
Alan Garcia, aboard for the Overskate win, will be in the irons again on Sunday.
Kingsport, back again this year, won the Sir Barton in 2017. He also took the event in 2015. Arch Hall captured three straight editions, from 2004-06.
First post on Sunday’s 11-race card at Woodbine is 1 p.m. The Sir Barton, slated as Race 8, is set for 4:38 p.m.
$100,000 Sir Barton Stakes
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – King and His Court – Eurico Rosa da Silva – Mark Casse
2 – Thor’s Rocket – Alan Garcia – Paul Buttigieg
3 – Boreal Spirit – Kazushi Kimura – Jennifer Shafer
4 – Silent Poet – Gary Boulanger – Nick Gonzalez
5 – Eskiminzin – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Carlos Grant
6 – Kingsport – Jesse Campbell – Sid Attard