Las Vegas, NV - Woodbine Racetrack Track in Toronto, Ontario will play host to the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes this Sunday, July 21. Horses three years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $200,000 purse when they go 1 1/8 miles on Woodbine's turf track.
The Nijinsky Stakes has attracted a strong field of 10 older horses for race 7 on Woodbine's Sunday card. Post time is 4:05 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all 10 combatants for this Grade 2 stakes - four of which participated in the recent Kings Edward Stakes.
Riding the River - Last year's champion grass horse in Canada is the defending champion in this race and has raced exclusively at Woodbine. He has just two starts this year - a reasonable second in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup Stakes May 26 after eight months away and a repeat win in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes June 23 over many of his Nijinsky competition. Riding the River finished his 2012 campaign September 16 with an uncharacteristic fourth in the Woodbine Mile before his long layoff. He has nine wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in 22 career starts but does have three wins and two seconds in his last six starts overall and. He is the defending champion in this race, has looked good in the lead-up to the Nijinsky and is your morning line favorite at 5-2 odds.
Hotep - had a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming on June 16 - his last win (nine starts ago). He followed that with a second in last year's Nijinsky Stakes in July behind Riding the River. He continued his inconsistent ways in 2012 - a disappointing sixth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic here, a fourth in the minor Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne October 6, a third in the 2012 Autumn Stakes and a second in a minor stakes race to end the year. Hotep has three starts in 2013 - a fourth in an Allowance at Keeneland in April, a fifth in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup Stakes here May 26 and an OK third last time out in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes June 23 behind Riding the River again. Trainer Malcolm Pierce hopes the extra distance will be enough to get Hotep over the top and past his old buddy Riding the River. He is the morning line third choice at 4-1 odds.
Valentino Beauty - will race for just the sixth time in his career for trainer Barbara Minshall. He started his career with a bang - three straight wins in Maiden Claiming and Allowance races including April 20 at Keeneland. He was a respectable fourth in his stakes debut - the Grade 2 Connaught Cup Stakes at Woodbine May 26 and followed that with his most impressive result last time out - a second behind Riding the River in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes here June 23. He is listed at 3-1 odds - the third choice on the morning line
Grand Arch - races in stakes company for the first time Sunday for trainer Robert martin but has a two race win streak on the line - an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out here June 23 and an Allowance at Keeneland in April. He has placed in all seven career starts (three wins, two seconds and two third place finishes) but takes a huge step up in competition Sunday. He sits at 6-1 odds on the morning line.
Pender Harbour - won two-thirds of the Canadian Triple Crown in 2011 and has been up and down since. He made his 2013 debut June 23 and finished a very disappointing ninth in the Grade 2 King Edward here behind a host of his Nijinsky competition after a good end to his 2012 campaign - consecutive wins in the minor Bunty Lawless Stakes and Elgin Stakes on this track. Before that was a fourth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes, a decent third behind Riding the River and Hotep in the 2012 Nijinsky here on July 22 and a second in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes to Hunters Bay here on July 1. He was on the sidelined for eight months before the King Edward debacle - hopes are that he can bounce back for trainer Michael DePaulo. He is the fifth choice at 8-1 odds
Nijinsky Stakes betting at Woodbine Racetrack with OffTrackBetting.com
So Long George - raced for the first time in stakes company in the Grade 3 Valedictory Stakes here in December and finished fifth but followed that with an Allowance Optional Claiming score after that. Last time out was an OK fourth in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes on this track June 23. He has won three of six and five of nine races - all on this track.
Pool Play - is a multiple graded stakes winner who finished third in the Washington Park Handicap September 1 and followed that up with an impressive score in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup October 6. He was an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Classic but followed that with a very good second in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope behind Csaba at Gulfstream January 13. He has a pair of disappointing sixths this year - in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap February 9 and the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland in April. Last time out was another unflattering result - a fifth in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs June 15. Pool Play has placed in just one of five races since his Gold Cup score and enters the Nijinsky in arguably his worst career form. He is 12-1 on the morning line.
Hampstead Heath - Brian Lynch trained gelding races in graded stakes company for the first time Sunday after 10 career starts yielded three wins, two second and four third place finishes. He enters having won two of his last three starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming here May 36 and an Allowance at Gulfstream in March. His other to results this year are thirds in Allowance races.
Classic Bryce - makes his graded stakes debut Sunday but did race five straight minor stakes races on this track in 2012 with a pair of seconds in the Wando Stakes and Marine Stakes being the highlight. He started this year with an Allowance score and followed that with a respectable second last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming in his only other start.
Arctic Fern - has just two wins in the last two years - the last coming in August 2012 in an Allowance on this track. He followed that result with his best graded stakes effort in some time but that was only a fourth place finish. This year he has three starts - a third last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming, a ninth in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup here in May and a sixth in the minor Jacques Cartier Stakes in April. He has placed in just one of his last seven starts overall and enters the Nijinsky at 30-1 on the morning line.
Race 7 on Woodbine Racetrack's Sunday card with a Post Time of 4:05 PM.
||So Long George
||Riding the River
||E. Da Silva
||M. De Paulo