Multiple stakes winners Sky Conqueror and Jambalaya headline the $300,000 King Edward Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes (Can-II), on a special holiday Monday program at Woodbine.
Owned by Bill Sorokolit and trained by Darwin Banach, Sky Conqueror, a 5-year-old son of Sky Classic, won the 1 1/8-mile King Edward last year and seeks a seventh career triumph in what would be his 16th lifetime start.
The Ontario-bred was last year’s Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s top turf male and finished third to Arravale for horse of the year honors. He'll try to make it back-to-back turf wins Monday while sharing top weight of 126 pounds with Jambalaya.
On May 5, Sky Conqueror stumbled badly at the start of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs but rallied nine-wide to win by a nose over Brilliant.
It was the third graded score for the chestnut, who has amassed $1,349,225 in purse earnings.
“What can you say about him?,” said Banach, noting that Sky Conqueror sports a record of five wins, one second and two thirds from nine starts on Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor Turf Course. “Every race he runs is unbelievable."
Sky Conqueror, to be ridden Monday by Todd Kabel, has never finished lower than fifth. Last season, he won three races and finished third three times from six starts. Among his victories was a half-length win in the inaugural running of the Northern Dancer Breeders’ Cup Turf (Can-II), which will be contested this year on July 22 at the Toronto oval.
“Firm turf, soft turf, short or long, pace or no pace, he is the ultimate competitor,” said Banach, who has saddled Sky Conqueror to 10 top-three finishes. “We had hoped to run him in the Manhattan (gr. IT) on June 9, but he tied up. He had never done that before. There were a number of circumstances as to why it happened, but he’s back (in good form).”
Sky Conqueror’s main competition will come in the form of the ultra-consistent Jambalaya, trained and owned by Catherine Day Phillips. Javier Castellano will ride.
The dark bay Ontario-bred comes into the King Edward on a two-race win streak after capturing the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf Stakes (gr. IT) on Feb. 24 and a half-length triumph in the Pan American Handicap (gr. IIIT), also at Gulfstream, on March 31.
In 18 career starts, the son of Langfuhr has seven wins, one second and five thirds, along with earnings of $985,739.
Last year, the gelding captured the Singspiel Stakes along with one second and three thirds from seven starts.
In 11 races on the E.P. Taylor Turf, Jambalaya has four wins, one second and three thirds.
$300,000 King Edward Breeders' Turf Cup Stakes (Can-II, Race 9, 5:06 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Shoal Water (ON), 115, Robert C. Landry
2. Jambalaya (ON), 126, Javier Castellano
3. Sky Conqueror (ON), 126, Todd Kabel
4. Eccentric (GB), 119, David Clark
5. Raw Power (ON), 115, Emile Ramsammy
6. Bear's Kid (KY), 115, Jono C. Jones
7. Stay Close (GB), 115, Jeremy Rose