William Schettine's Bachelor Blues and jockey Todd Kabel went gate to wire to capture the $285,500 Summer Stakes (Can-II) for 2-year-olds Sunday at Woodbine.
The one-mile event, over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, attracted a field of 10, including three imports, but it was one of the locals, trained by Josie Carroll, who got the job done, hanging on to win by a neck over a quick-closing Victory Light and rider Pat Day.
Day won this race last year aboard Lismore Knight.
After early fractions of 23.45, 46.26 and 1:10.58, Bachelor Blues opened three lengths in mid-stretch, then was all out to hold off the late charge of Victory Light on the inside. The final time for the mile was 1:34.95.
Commendation, another invader, finished third with Kent Desormeaux, but was subsequently disqualified and placed 10th for interference, elevating America America, the only filly in the field, to third. The Bill Mott-trained Grand Heritage was placed fourth, while favored Dynafire wound up sixth after the disqualification.
It was Kabel's leading 24th stakes win of the season, as he inches closer to Avelino Gomez's long-standing record from 1966 of 32 added-money wins.
"It was a matter of getting him to finish up strong because he's known to loaf," Kabel said. "His head came up on me and he started running sideways with me down the lane. I had concerns. But he got the job done and I'm just very thankful."
It was the second career win for homebred Bachelor Blues, a grey son of Smoke Glacken, who hasn't missed a check in six starts. The victory was worth $171,300, and he has now earned $265,406.
He paid $27.50, $10.50 and $6.10, combining with Victory Light ($8.30, $5.40) for a $237.20 (8-10) exacta. America America ($5.20) completed a trifecta of $1,670.40.