Noholdingback Bear, patiently handled by Eurico Rosa da Silva, swooped to a smart score in Sunday's $125,250 Woodstock Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Mike DePaulo for owner Bear Stables Ltd., the bay son of Put It Back arrived at the six furlong Tapeta sprint for sophomores from a trio of winter races at Gulfstream Park including runner-up efforts in the Grade III Hutcheson and Texas Glitter Stakes.
Da Silva settled Noholdingback Bear into third position through the early running of the Woodstock as Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity champ Shogood, with Christopher Emigh aboard, set splits of :22.50 and :45.56 under pressure from Argot.
Shogood maintained his lead to the top of the lane, but when da Silva asked Noholdingback Bear for his best run, the colt responded with long strides carrying Woodbine's 2015 leading rider to a 4 1/2-length score. Shogood stayed on for place, a nose in front of Hollywood Hideaway who rolled up late after a slow start. Noholdingback Bear covered six furlongs in 1:10.22.
Da Silva, who rode Passion for Action to victory for DePaulo in the opening day Jacques Cartier Stakes, was hoping for a return to the winner's circle.
“I was waiting all day for 'The Bear's' hug,” said da Silva, referring to Bear Stable's owner Danny Dion.
The veteran rider topped the tables at Woodbine with 201 wins in 2015, taking Sovereign Award honours as Canada's outstanding jockey. He guided Noholdingback Bear to an impressive front-running 5 3/4-length win on debut on September 27 and was pleased to see an improved horse on his return to Woodbine.
“He's much more strong. I worked this horse and he gave me a great feeling. Mike told me to try to ride a little more patient today and maybe we'd have some pace to run at and it worked out great,” said da Silva.
DePaulo, who tied for third in the trainer standings last season with 43 wins, believes a return to the Woodbine Tapeta suited Noholdingback Bear.
“I think he likes Woodbine and the synthetic,” said DePaulo. “He's happy here and I think he's going to really like grass.”
Noholdingback Bear, bred in Kentucky by Jerry Jamgotchian, banked $75,000 in victory while improving his record to 2-3-0 from six starts.
He paid $3.30, $2.30 and $2.10, combining with Shogood ($3.90, $2.90) for a $12.20 (6-3) exactor. A 6-3-4 triactor (Hollywood Hideaway, $2.80 to show) was worth $31.60.
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