Making his season's debut on Saturday afternoon, Canada's reigning Champion Male Sprinter Pink Lloyd won the third straight edition of the $125,000 Jacques Cartier Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack.
The six-furlong Jacques Cartier, which was upgraded from Listed Status to Grade 3 this year, is for horses four years old and up. The field of a dozen was the largest Pink Lloyd has faced in his career spanning 22 races.
Carrying 124 pounds, the seven-year-old gelding broke well from post position six and stalked the pace in rein to jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva.
“He's carrying the weight and he broke good today,” noted Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller. “We got a big break today from the starting gate – they've done a lot of work with him – so everything went well today.”
Yorkton set fractions of :21.75 and :44.38 while Wyatt's Town pressed the pace, with Woodbine newcomer Extravagant Kid looming to their outside. As those three turned for home battling three-across, Da Silva maneuvered Pink Lloyd outside to a clear path and the charming chestnut swept by in the lane to win by one length in 1:08.55.
Extravagant Kid battled on for second-place honours while Curlin's Honor came on for third.
The final time was not far off the 1:08.05 track record Pink Lloyd set in last year's Jacques Cartier. That victory was his first of five from eight starts in 2018.
“We're really excited,” said owner Frank Di Giulio Jr., speaking on behalf of Entourage Stable. “As you know, he didn't end the year off on the greatest note last year, but it's just fantastic for him to come back like this. And to win this race for the third time, it's just wonderful. Bob's done just a fabulous job with him.”
“He's got a very special place in my heart and, you know what, he proved it again today that he's just a fabulous animal,” said Tiller. “We've run into issues with him, we worked on his issues and here he is winning this race a [third] year in row and I am just thrilled. I am so happy, I can't tell you how happy I am.”
Bred in Ontario by John Carey, the millionaire son of Old Forester now boasts 17 career wins.
“He gives me an awful lot of love and an awful lot of joy,” added Tiller. “If he doesn't win another race, that's fine, but I believe he will. He's just wonderful.”
The only other horse to win the Jacques Cartier three years in a row was Essence Hit Man, from 2011 to 2013.
Sent postward as the 2-1 favourite, Pink Lloyd paid $6.10 to win.
Live Thoroughbred racing continues at Woodbine on Sunday, with first race post time set for 1 p.m.
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