Signature Red, who has come into his own on the turf in his last two starts, held off all challengers for jockey Chantal Sutherland to win the $192,403 Highlander Stakes (Can-IIT) (VIDEO) on the Queen's Plate program at Woodbine July 4.
The 4-year-old son of Bernstein earned his first graded stakes win. Signature Red pressed the pace of Heros Reward before bidding for the lead in upper stretch. In a spirited effort from both front-runners, he edged Heros Reward by a neck with Jungle Wave a half-length back in third.
Field Commission , the slight 2-1 favorite over Signature Red in the field of seven older turf sprinters, closed from last to finish fourth, less than 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
Sid Attard trains Signature Red for Norseman Racing Stable and saddled Jungle Wave as well.
Signature Red completed the six furlongs over firm ground in 1:08.17 to register his fifth win 12 starts. The bay colt has spent most of his career on Woodbine's Polytrack, but has won two of three tries on the Toronto track's turf. He earned $112,956 for the Highlander victory, boosting his career bankroll to $321,088.
Heros Reward set a quick pace for Javier Castellano, going :22.50 for the opening quarter-mile and :44.94 for the half. Signature Red was second early before advancing on Heros Reward's outside. He forced the issue through the turn and drew even early in the drive, inching to half-length lead at the eighth pole.
Heros Reward, though, refused to give way and those two battled to the wire. Jungle Wave and Field Commission, who rallied at the middle of the track, drew closer in the final stages but could not catch the first two.
Teamed with Sutherland in the quickly-run Vigil Stakes (Can-III) at seven furlongs on Polytrack May 9, Signature Red finished a game third. Attard switched Signature Red to the turf for a six-furlong allowance June 12 and he responded with a convincing 1 1/2-length triumph while ridden out by Sutherland.
Out of the Irish Open mare Irish and Foxy, Signature Red was bred in Kentucky by Gary Tussey. He sold for $77,000 as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's 2007 October sale.
Signature Red paid $6.50, $4.40, and $3 while topping a $48.20 exacta. Heros Reward, third in last year's Highlander as the favorite, returned $7.30 and $4.70. Jungle Wave, who was cutting back in distance after finishing third in the Connaught Cup (Can-IIIT) at seven panels in his last start May 30, was $3.50 to show.
It was a half-length back to Field Commission, last year's Highlander runner-up, in fourth. He was followed by 2008 Queen's Plate winner Not Bourbon, Dr Large , and Major Marvel.