They just don't come any more competitive than Bruno Schickedanz's Wake At Noon.
Sunday at Woodbine, Canada's 2002 Horse of the Year won his second straight route contest, taking the featured $136,500 Seagram Cup Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths over Anglian Prince. Mark One finished 3 1/4 lengths further back in third in the 1 1/16-mile contest, timed in a quick 1:42.92.
Sent postward the 8-5 favorite, Wake At Noon and jockey Emile Ramsammy made every pole a winning one in the Seagram. But they weren't walking. The gallant 6-year-old son of Cure The Blues was hustled to the front, clicking off fractions of :23.12 for the quarter, :46.54 at the half and 1:10.82 for six furlongs.
Around the far turn, Anglian Prince and rider Jim McAleney made a huge move on the inside and turning for home, got up to the flank of the pacesetter, who appeared vulnerable at that point. But, similar to what transpired in the 1 1/16-mile Izvestia Stakes on July 20, when similarly challenged by the same rival, Wake At Noon found another gear and pulled away down the lane for his third stakes score of the year. He also took the seven-furlong Vigil, April 26.
"We were hoping that we would get a clean break," said trainer Abraham Katryan. "I think we came back a little bit too early this time, because it was just over 12 days. But I guess he ran a gutsy race. He's a good horse. Any horse that can win from five-eighths to a mile and one-sixteenth has to be a super horse.
"I think this horse brings a tear to my eye whenever he runs. Coming down the lane, he likes to see horses, so he waited, then he had a second gear in which he kicked in."
The fractions today were much quicker than in the Izvestia, but the result was the same.
"I knew he was going to be on his game today," Ramsammy said. "The race turned out the way we wanted it to. He had a nice easy lead again today. He just had nobody to pressure him. He just kept going. He just enjoys his game. The way he is now, he's finding a new lease in his life, going longer and enjoying himself."
Wake At Noon won four stakes races last year on his way to double Sovereign Awards as Canada's top sprinter as well as Horse of the Year. With Sunday's winner's purse of $81,900, the chestnut has now banked over $1.5 million in his sparkling career.
He paid $5.30, $2.90 and $2.40 across the board, combining with second choice Anglian Prince ($3.30, $2.40) for a $13.90 exacta. Mark One ($2.60) completed a trifecta worth $29.20.