Even-money favorite Synchrony rallied determinedly under Javier Castellano to notch a one-length victory in Saturday's Grade 2 $178,850 King Edward Stakes at Woodbine.
A one-mile turf race for three-year-olds and upward, the King Edward attracted a field of eight and Synchrony was making his Toronto oval debut for trainer Michael Stidham.
The chestnut son of Tapit just missed in his previous start, the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes, missing all the spoils by a neck.
This time, the 6-year-old wouldn't be denied, utilizing a tremendous turn of foot to seal the triumph.
“I'm very fortunate to ride the horse,” said Castellano. “I think he shows some class in the race. I think I had a lot of trouble on the backside, early in the race and I kind of switched him up a little bit. I was able to ride with a lot of patience and I think I rode the best horse in the race. I wanted to show he improved today and he really did it.”
Mr Ritz, breaking from post five, assumed control and took his rivals through an opening quarter in :23.65 and a half in :46.34. Curlin's Honor was to the outside in second, while longshots Savage Battle and Rose's Vision were stalking in third and fourth place.
As the field headed towards the final turn, Synchrony and Castellano found themselves in last place and with a lot of work to do as the leaders looked to separate themselves from the pack.
Castellano asked Synchrony for his best run as the eight starters straightened for home and the Pin Oak homebred soon picked up the tempo, gobbling up ground and picking off his foes one by one for the impressive last-to-first triumph.
Curlin's Honor, ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Mark Casse, held on for second, while a rallying Say the Word edged out Emmaus for fourth spot.
The final time was 1:32.95 over 'good' ground.
A nine-time winner, along with four seconds and six thirds from 23 starts, Synchrony earned his first stakes score since taking his second straight edition of the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap this February.
The ultra-consistent Synchrony won four races and had three thirds from eight starts in 2018.
“It's one of the most exciting things I think you could possibly look at,” said Josephine Abercrombie of Pin Oak. “I just love it.”
For Castellano, it was his second consecutive King Edward crown. Last year, he teamed with Delta Prince to win the turf event.
“I love it,” said the jockey of the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. “You know it is a wide turn and a long stretch and you have all the opportunity for the best horse to win the race.”
Synchrony returned $4.20, $2.90 and $2.30 and combined with Curlin's Honor ($5.20, $3.60) for a $19.20 exactor. Say the Word ($4.50) completed a $2 2-6-3 trifecta worth $44.40 and the $1 2-6-3-7 trifecta with Emmaus came back at $144.80.
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