Sam-Son Farm captured it's first graded stakes of the year on Sunday afternoon when its homebred Up With The Birds made a bold move down the stretch to win the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths. The 6-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic covered nine furlongs over Woodbine's firm turf course in 1:49.18 under Eurico Rosa Da Silva for trainer Malcolm Pierce.
The five-horse field was nearly devoid of early speed; Dynamic Sky inherited the lead while the entire field was encapsulated by under four lengths in the early going. Kaigun angled out to be three-wide on the course, tracking Dynamic Sky and Halo Nation through slow fractions of :25.80, :50.59, and 1:14.89. Button Down was covered up in fourth position. Up With The Birds was last early, but never more than four lengths off the leaders as Kaigun and Halo Nation traded turns in second behind Dynamic Sky.
Turning for home, Halo Nation took over the lead but the entire field was swinging into action. Up With The Birds had the clearest path, angling out to the center of the stretch once the field straightened for home. He rolled by his rivals with relative ease, crossing the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front of the mare Button Down. Halo Nation had to settle for second, just nosed out by Button Down, and Kaigun managed to defeat his stablemate for fourth.
Bred in Ontario, Up With The Birds won both the Sovereign Awards for Champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year in 2013. The 2016 Nijinsky is his first win since the 2014 running of the stake. Up With The Birds boasts an overall record of 8-4-3 from 25 starts, with earnings of over $1.8 million.
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