Cary and Phil Brooks are seeking their first stakes victory on Saturday at Woodbine with GUN COURT, an impressive maiden winner on Nov. 12 with jockey Amanda Vandermeersch. Gun Court, also owned by Archie Lee, should be well bet for the $150,000 Clarendon Stakes at 6 furlongs on Tapeta, race 8 on the afternoon. The two-year-old gelding by Souper Speedy – Civic Duty by Proud Citizen was bred by Chris Harris and Kristine Kaulfield and was purchased by Lee for $18,000 at last fall’s CTHS Ontario yearling sale.
The Brooks brothers have been racing horses at Woodbine for some 15 years. Cary Brooks also trains the small stable which has won 40 races, according to Equibase. In 2013 they had the good two-year-old filly Morant Bay who finished third in the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes.
Gun Court looked like he needed more distance when he was fourth in his career debut at 5 1/2 furlongs and he romped at 6 1/2 furlongs second time out, earning a 74 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form.
There is plenty of other early speed in the Clarendon field including debut winner FRAC DANCER (Frac Daddy) who won for owner and breeder Phoenix Racing and trainer Mike DePaulo with a 70 Beyer Figure and COMPETITIVE TOUCH, who won his third career race for Norseman Racing Stable and trainer Sid Attard. MIDNIGHT MASCOT is a top contender in the race, as the colt was fifth in the Grade 2 Grey Stakes and defeated Competitive Touch in a maiden victory for Conrad Farm and trainer Mark Casse. Patrick Husbands will ride Midnight Mascot.
The Clarendon, named after an area and station between Kingston and Ottawa, was inaugurated in 1926 at Thorncliffe Park. Casse trainees have won seven editions of the race which is for Ontario-sired or Ontario-bred juveniles. In 1967, Dancer’s Image won the Clarendon Stakes for owner Peter Fuller and trainer Lou Cavalaris. The grey colt won the Kentucky Derby the next year only to be disqualified much later due to a bute positive.
Also on Saturday is the $150,000 SHADY WELL STAKES for Ontario-sired or -bred two-year-old fillies. Trainer Kevin Attard holds a strong hand with ONELLA (Street Boss – Seeking the Light by Heatseeker (Ire)) coming off a sharp debut win and VANDOO (Souper Speedy – Mona Moon by Perigee Moon) being the only two-time winner in the field. Onella is owned by X-Men Racing #3, Madaket Stables and SF Bloodstock and Vandoo is owned by the Canuck Racing Club.
The Shady Well Stakes (inaugurated in 1956) is named after the great mare raced by Edward Seagram. Shady Well, who coincidentally won the Clarendon Stakes, won three straight Durham Cups against boys, two Maple Leaf Stakes and a total of 15 races from 68 starts.