Helped out by the scratch of morning line choice Spice Route, Musketier earned his first North American win in six starts when he registered an easy tally over four rivals in the $135,520 Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT) (VIDEO) at Woodbine June 21.
The German-bred 7-year-old swept past favored Mission Approved at the top of the stretch and powered to victory by four lengths for jockey Jono Jones in the 1 1/2-mile Singspiel. Musketier was clocked in a good 2:27.41 over a course upgraded to 'firm' before the race.
Roger Attfield trains the winning gray/roan son of Acatenango for Johanna Louise Glen-Teven. Attfield also trains Spice Route, who could be headed to the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park July 4.
In his prior start, Musketier ran ninth in the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) on the Preakness day card at Pimlico May 16. He ran second, two lengths behind Spice Route, in the Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) over the Keeneland lawn three weeks before that.
“He’s been sitting on a winning race for a little while,” said Attfield. “I think I made a mistake sending him to Pimlico and shortening him up. He didn’t handle the track. He’s trained really, really well coming into this race.”
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Mission Approved, the 7-5 favorite, went to the lead immediately and set reserved fractions (:25.27, :49.65 and 1:113.84) with Musketier clinging close in second. On the final turn, those two left the other three rivals well behind, but it was Musketier who quickly drew off under slight coaxing and held sway as they charged down the stretch.
“I was going to stay close to him (Mission Approved) and see what he had in the end,” said Jones. “Obviously, he didn’t have what we had. He felt great. We knew we had a big shot.”
Mission Approved, who won the 2008 Singspiel on the front end, held on for second by three-quarters of a length as Cobotwon Ron and Tyler Pizarro closed gradually for third. Sligovitz and Torquay trailed.
Trained in France by Pascal Bary, Musketier made his North American debut with a third-place finish in the Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) in November 2007 over a yielding course at Aqueduct. Musketier was not heard from for more than 15 months after that, returning for Attfield with a third-place showing in an optional claiming allowance race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 28. His last win came in 2007 in a 1 1/4-mile turf race in France.
The Singspiel victory was Musketier's sixth in 30 lifetime starts. The winning purse, $79,290, increased Musketier's earnings to $392,430. Bred by Gestut Gorisdorf, the winner is out of the Linamix mare Myth and Reality.
Sent off as the second choice, Musketier paid $6, $3.10, and $2.50. Mission Approved, looking for his first win since last year's Singspiel, returned $3 and $2.40. Cobotown Ron was $3.20 to show.