Valedictory Stakes 2015 at Woodbine

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Valedictory Stakes comes our way from Woodbine in Toronto, Ontario this Sunday, November 29. Horses three years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $150,000 purse when they take to Woodbine's All Weather track and race 1 3/4 miles.

A field of 8 have been confirmed for the Valedictory Stakes - race 10 on Woodbine's Sunday schedule. Post time is 5:40 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all eight entries for this intriguing Grade 3 stakes on the final race card of the 2015 Woodbine thoroughbred racing season.

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2015 Valedictory Stakes Race Favorites

Melmich - Kevin Attard trained gelding has eight wins, five seconds and a third place finish in 19 career starts and enters in terrific form - seven wins in his last 10 starts overall. Last time out was an Allowance score over Pender Harbour November 5 after a fourth in his only graded stakes action to date - the Grade 3 Durham Cup Stakes here October 3 and a three race win streak including the minor OLG Elgin Stakes with a field-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure in September. Melmich will be after his first graded stakes win in his second attempt when he leaves from gate 2 with Eurico Rosa Da Silva in the irons.

Pender Harbour - 2011 Sovereign Award winner as Canada's Champion 3 Year Old Colt finished second in this race last year and followed that with a fourth in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes here in May. He has placed in five straight starts since. Pender Harbour enters on the heels of three straight runner-up finishes - behind Melmich in an Allowance last time out November 5, behind Melmich again in the minor Elgin Stakes September 2 and the Grade 3 Seagram Cup in August. Before that was a third in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes in July and a win in the minor Steady Growth Stakes in June. He now has 12 wins, 10 seconds and 7 third place finishes in 40 career starts and somehow will be looking for his first graded stakes score Sunday. He arrives in pretty good form and will have Luis Contreras aboard from the outside gate 8.

Valedictory Stakes 2015 | Remaining Contenders

Habibi - started his career in New Zealand and reeled off five straight wins to start his career but has been decent in North America. He enters off a disappointing eleventh in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International Stakes October 18 after a good second against the boys in the Grade 1 Northern Turf Dancer Stakes September 13 and a win in the minor Flaming Page Stakes in August - all results ion this track. Habibi now has seven wins, two seconds and three third place finishes in 17 career starts and will be out to avenge an ugly effort last time out. Alan Garcia has been tabbed with accomplishing that goal from post 7 Sunday.

Royal Son - Todd Pletcher trained gelding has two wins, two seconds and a third place finish in nine career starts. He won the minor John Battaglia Memorial Stakes by an impressive 5 1/4 lengths in February and went on to three straight fifth place finishes - an Allowance October 8, the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes in May and the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes in March. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes on this track November 8. Royal Son looks for his first ever graded stakes score Sunday and enters in so-so form with Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard from gate 6.

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Patrioticandproud - Mark Casse trained gelding will be after his first graded stakes win Sunday having posted just six wins, 12 seconds and five third place finishes in 37 career starts. He has two wins, three seconds and a third place finish in 11 starts this year. He enters off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Churchill Downs November 8 after a ninth in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes October 15, a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming here in August and a fourth in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes in July. Patrioticandproud will be after his first stakes win since the 2012 Toronto Cup when he leaves from the rail with Patrick Husbands aboard.

Desvelo - Argentinean bred Kelly Rubley trained gelding was OK at home and has been OK in North America as well - he was fourth in this race last year. He enters off his worst effort in a while - an eighth in the Grade 2 Marathon Stakes at Keeneland October 30 which followed a fifth in a Starter Allowance October 4, a fourth in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup in September, a third in the minor Birdstone Stakes in August and an Allowance score in June. Desvelo looks for his first stakes score Sunday from post 3 with Gary Boulanger in the reins.

Midnight Aria - 2013 Queen's Plate winner has just three wins in 22 career starts for trainer Nicholas Gonzalez to go along with three seconds and seven third place finishes. He has placed in just one of six starts ahead of this weekend - a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out November 14 followed a sixth in the Grade 2 Durham Cup Stakes, a third in an Allowance and three straight off-the-board finishes. Midnight Aria will be after his first win since September, 2014 and his first graded stakes win overall when he leaves from gate 4. Steven Bahen has the mount.

Royal Blessing - Brendan Walsh trainee has just four wins, a second and two third place finishes in 21 career starts. He finished third in this race last year but has failed to place in five starts since. Last time out was a fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Churchill Downs November 11 which followed an eighth in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap, another fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in April, a seventh in the minor H. Allen Jerkens Stakes in January and an eighth in the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap last December. Royal Blessing looks for his first stakes win Sunday but enters in less-than-spectacular form. Justin Stein gets the call from post 5.

2015 Valedictory Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 10 on Woodbine's Sunday card with a Post Time of 5:40 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Patrioticandproud Patrick Husbands Mark Casse
2 Melmich Eurico Da Silva Kevin Attard
3 Desvelo (ARG) Gary Boulanger Kelly Rubley
4 Midnight Aria Steven Bahen Nicholas Gonzalez
5 Royal Blessing Justin Stein Brendan Walsh
6 Royal Son Emma-Jayne Wilson Todd Pletcher
7 Habibi (NZ) Alan Garcia Mark Frostad
8 Pender Harbour Luis Contreras Michael De Paulo

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