Perfect Shower's record $95.30 payoff in Woodbine's Breeders' Stakes last year didn't stand for long when maiden Miami Deco ran down favorites Stormy Lord and Cognashene at 65-1 odds in the third jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown Aug. 15 on a yielding turf course.
Owned by Jim and Susan Hill and trained by Brian Lynch, Miami Deco had never raced on the turf while losing the first five races of his career. The Ontario-bred son of Limehouse was coming off a fourth-place finish, beaten by 3 1/2 lengths, in a 1 1/16-mile maiden Polytrack test at Woodbine July 23.
With Richard Dos Ramos aboard for the first time in the $483,172 event, the late-running Miami Deco dove to the inside approaching mid-stretch and swept past the staggering Stormy Lord and Cognashene in the final stages to win the 1 1/2-mile test by three-quarters of a length.
One of five supplemental entries in the field for $12,500, he produced a $132.10 win payoff. The exacta with Stormy Lord returned $760.40 and the trifecta with Cognashene third was $5,472.90. The 41 superfecta with fourth-place Abogado, at 78-1, was worth $21,198.75.
Miami Deco rallied from 11th in the big field with one mile to run.
Neither Big Red Mike, who captured the Queen's Plate on Woodbine's Polytrack July 4, nor Prince of Wales victor Golden Moka, who surprised over Fort Erie's dirt track three weeks later, were entered in the final leg. This was the seventh straight year Canada did not have a Triple Crown champion and sixth consecutive with three different winners of the three races.
Lynch also trains Golden Moka, who had won three sprint races in Panama prior to taking the second jewel in his first Canadian start.
Miami Deco had trained well on the turf and wanted the distance, according to Lynch. "He worked on the turf down at Palm Meadows (Florida) in the winter and worked great. He's always been a horse who looked and trained like he could get a route of ground."
Lynch said he was not surprised at the lack of pre-race attention for Miami Deco. "No one likes to promote a supplemental nomination who was going to be 60-1," he laughed.
Before Perfect Shower scored at 46-1 last year, the Breeders' had a reputation as a favorite's race. Favorites had a 47% strike rate (24 for 51) since the inception of the Triple Crown.
Thirteen Canadian-foaled 3-year-olds, all bred in Ontario, contested the Breeders' Stakes over a yielding turf after heavy rains earlier in the day. Silent Wisper, the only filly in the field and also a supplemental entry, took the early lead from 5-2 second choice Stormy Lord, winner of the Toronto Cup last month, and opened up a big lead. She set fractions of :48.84 for the half-mile, 1:14.69 for six furlongs and 1:41.13 for the opening mile. Silent Wisper retreated after that with Stormy Lord and James McAleney taking command rounding the final turn.
Cognashene, the 2-1 favorite though he had only a maiden win to his credit, advanced from the rear of the pack and launched an all-out bid for jockey Eurico Da Silva to challenge Stormy Lord mid-stretch. He drew to within a half-length of the leader but was weaving badly under left-handed urging. Miami Deco had nearly six lengths to make up at that point, but he advanced stoutly while shifting inside. Stormy Lord was tiring, drifting to the outside toward Cognashene and Miami Deco, shooting through near the rail, got up in plenty of time.
"It's a great feeling," said Dos Ramos, who won the Breeders' for the third time. "I had never been on the horse before, but he ran hard for me. I'm just glad I had the opportunity to ride for Brian today."
Stormy Lord held second by 2 1/4 lengths over Cognashene. The final time was 2:34.24.
"It really was bittersweet," said McAleney of Stormy Lord's runner-up effort. "He ran his race. He was deserving of the win. He fought hard, fended everybody off and got beat late. He ran a dynamite race."
Miami Deco, who raced once at 2, earned $288,060 for the win. His best prior finish was a second June 13 in a maiden race at Woodbine when he lost by a head to Breeders' foe Smart Sky. He began the year at Gulfstream Park, where he was sixth in each of his two starts.
Bred by James and Janeane Everatt and Arika Everatt-Meeuse, the winning dark bay or brown colt is out of the Secret Hello mare Miami Dreams. Miami Deco brought $47,000 at the Keeneland Association September 2008 Yearling Sale.
The full payoff for the winner was $132.10, $42 and $17.70. Stormy Lord, the only turf stakes winner in the field, returned $5 and $3.80. Cognashene was $3 to show.
Abogado, the longest shot in the field, was 6 1/4 lengths farther back in fourth. Then came D's Wando, Smart Sky, Born to Act, Silent Wisper, Vicar Street, Spirit Flying, Alphabet Kid and Empire Rising. Dynamic Royal, racing far out on the track, was eased on the final turn and did not finish.