Apparently, last month’s Sky Classic Stakes (Can-II) victory did not hold much weight with the general public. When Cloudy’s Knight went to post in the $2-million Pattison Canadian International (Can-I) (VIDEO) at Woodbine Oct. 21, the 7-year-old was at odds of more than 18-1.
Those who did have faith in the chestnut gelding were handsomely rewarded. Cloudy’s Knight turned back a solid field of turfers, taking Canada’s richest race by a nose over British colt Ask. The win was Cloudy’s Knight’s third graded stakes triumph this year and his 10th time in the winner’s circle in 32 career starts.
A son of Lord Avie, Cloudy’s Knight stalked the lead from post eight with jockey Ramsey Zimmerman aboard. Three-wide for most of the backstretch, Cloudy’s Knight sat outside of pacesetter Marsh Side, who went an opening quarter in :25.18, :50.89 for a half, and a mile in 1:15.60. Also in contention were Sunriver, who briefly took the lead after 1 1/4 miles, and longshots Windward Islands and Linda’s Lad.
By the time the field of 12 reached mid-stretch, Zimmerman had moved Cloudy’s Knight past a tiring Sunriver and to the lead. But betting favorites Ask and Quijano, who were far back most for most of the 1 1/2-mile event, were both making strong bids further on the outside. Cloudy’s Knight, trained by Frank Kirby, prevailed over Ask with a long, determined final drive.
The final time was 2:27.71.
"He's got a lot of guts," said an emotional Zimmerman. "He's never, never not tried for me. God bless him and praise the Lord for this day. (The race) just set up perfectly. He broke exactly how I wanted him to. Then he stalked a couple of lengths off the speed horses that were crawling. I'm just so grateful to be in Canada today and be a part of this day representing America."
Ask, who had won a pair of group III events in England coming into the race, was a length in front of the German-bred Quijano. Cloudy’s Knight paid $38.70, $11.50 and $7.60. The exacta (8-9) was worth $213.80.
Cloudy's Knight, Out of Solar City mare Cloudy Spot, is a homebred for Jerrold Schwartz's S J Racing Stables. He has now earned more than $2 million in his career. His win in the Sky Classic Sept. 23 was also in a pace-stalking manner.
"What a great race he ran and a great race the jockey rode," Kirby said. "I'd like to thank the Schwartzes for letting me train this good horse. It's really a pleasure. These owners have great patience with all their horses. He had a little thing in the back of his ankle. We were going to bring him back earlier, but we ran out of time. So we decided to give him more time. It was the right thing to do. I love this place."
Sunriver, making his fifth turf start for trainer Todd Pletcher, finished in sixth, just ahead of Sky Conquerer.