Are You Kidding Me, confidently ridden by Alan Garcia, won his second graded stakes in succession with a brilliant stretch run to capture Sunday's Grade 2 $209,600 Nijinsky Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Roger Attfield for owners and co-breeders Michael Riordan, Ron Kirk and John Bates, Are You Kidding Me arrived at the 1 1/8-mile grass tilt from a ridden out score in the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes over the Woodbine main.
Platinum Glory set the tempo in the Nijinsky marking off splits of :24.61 and :48.34 with Excaper on his flank and Are You Kidding Me tracking from third, while Golden Sabre raced along the rail in fourth position.
Are You Kidding Me rallied four-wide into the stretch run while Golden Sabre, looking for running room in the final stages, found an opening and burst through but could not contain an energetic Are You Kidding Me who finished with authority to secure a 1/2-length win. Golden Sabre stayed on strong for place, two lengths in front of a rallying Za Approval who nosed Lucky Speed for show money at the wire. Are You Kidding Me covered 1 1/8-miles in 1:46.99.
It was a leading ninth stakes win of the meet for Garcia, who was content to stalk the early pace in the nine furlong Nijinsky.
“I was very confident,” said Garcia. “He'd been training super in the morning, working very great. I only needed at trip. He did spectacular today. He broke good, and I saw two horses go to the lead. I took my time, because I knew he was going to come with a big run, and he did.”
It was the fifth stakes win of the meet for Attfield, a multiple Hall of Famer, who is enjoying an excellent 2015.
“He's a really nice horse. He always has been,” said Attfield of Are You Kidding Me. “He's had some problems with his wind. He's had some fairly significant (throat) surgeries. I didn't think they could beat him. The only thing I was concerned about was they said it was supposed to be the hottest, most humid day of the summer. We obviously have (his breathing problems) corrected very well.”
Are You Kidding Me banked $120,000 in victory, while improving his record to 5-3-4 from 20 starts.
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