Stacked Deck just holds in Bold Venture
Well, one would be wrong.
The 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack contest kicked off the stakes action on a Woodbine Mile Day inundated with rain. Calgary Cat was tabbed as the public’s 3-5 choice off a pair of rallying stakes wins and faced only three rivals upon the scratch of two other opponents.
Essence Hit Man set the early pace, getting the first quarter in :22.55 while pressed by Stacked Deck and Puntrooskie on the outside. Calgary Cat bided his time just behind but well within reach of the trio.
Essence Hit Man never responded when urged on by jockey Luis Contreras and backed up badly rounding the turn. Stacked Deck inherited the lead but still had to contend with Puntrooskie and Calgary Cat, who had begun his move widest of all.
Calgary Cat appeared ready to blow on by as Stacked Deck slowly inched away from Puntrooskie, but suddenly began hanging in the lane. Stacked Deck decided he preferred running in the center of the track and veered over to squeeze up close to Calgary Cat, just holding that rival by a neck on the wire.
Stacked Deck stopped the clock in 1:14.75 under jockey Luis Saez but had to wait while stewards looked into his abrupt drifting in the stretch, as well as Essence Hit Man’s pulling up right after the wire. That latter runner was vanned off and the results declared official.
Trained by Barbara Minshall, Stacked Deck earned just his second stakes win in this spot after taking the Charlie Barley S. in July 2014. In fact, his only other stakes credit from four tries following the Charlie Barley was a third in the King Edward S. (Can-G2) earlier this year.
“It seems like every race we’re in is a stakes race,” owner-breeder Bruce Lunsford said. “Usually we have a close finish with a lot of issues, but it worked out alright.
“Luis rides a lot for a good friend of mine. I think he is just a phenomenal talent. I think he is going to get better and better. He rode it just like Barbara laid it out for him. He didn’t let him get caught in a speed duel and in the end, he had something left, which usually Calgary Cat just runs over people. So I was very proud of him today – proud of him and the horse.
“This is a big win. (Stacked Deck’s) half-brother is a War Front that is going to be at Keeneland (Yearling Sale) tomorrow so I am going from here to there so maybe he added a couple of bucks to the sale. We’ll hope so. They say it is beautiful down there today but this is just like sunshine to me.”
Stacked Deck photo courtesy of WEG/Michael Burns Photography