Musketier, given a confident ride by John Velazquez, hooked up with Grassy in the final furlong to prevail by a hard-fought neck for his second win in the $152,984 Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT) (VIDEO) June 26 at Woodbine.
Trainer Roger Attfield earned his fourth Singspiel victory in the seven-year history of the race, including the German-bred Musketier's four-length win in 2009. The result could be part of a big day for Attfield, who has the favorite in the Queen's Plate with Check Your Soul later in the afternoon. Attfield, 71, is shooting for a record ninth win in Canada's most prestigious race.
At the ripe age of 9, Musketier seems to have not lost a step in a 40-race career. He posted his second graded stakes win of the year following a repeat victory in Keeneland's Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) April 29 on a yielding course.
“He’s a grand old horse. He didn’t really get to run the trip we’d like him to run. I like him to be covered up a little bit," said Attfield. “Johnny couldn’t get him covered up, I could see that. Johnny is a very smart rider and he knows how long this stretch is here. He moved a little bit earlier than he wanted to, but he took hold of him a little bit longer so he had some left for the last bit. He did a great job and he’s a lovely old horse.”
Stella Perdomo owns the gray son of Acatenango who completed the 1 1/2-mile Singspiel journey in a slow 2:29.54. Grays filled the top three spots with Grassy finishing a close second and Windward Islands third after a troubled stretch run.
Breaking from the far outside in the field of seven, Musketier stalked on the outside as 2-1 favorite Rahy's Attorney took the lead over Grassy. Simmard would advance on the outside to press Rahy's Attorney as Grassy stalked in third. Rahy's Attorney ran the opening half-mile in a soft :52.77 and the mile in 1:41.07. By then Rahy's Attorney, along the inside, and Simmard, were racing head-and-head with Rahy's Attorney leading narrowly in upper stretch.
Musketier and Grassy, ridden by Garrett Gomez, challenged on the outside to take over near mid-stretch, with Grassy leading at the furlong pole. Windward Islands, blocked the entire stretch toward the inside for Chantal Sutherland, was forced to angle to the outside in the final furlong, losing some valuable ground as Musketier and Grassy dueled to the wire. Windward Islands finished one length farther back in third.
Under strong urging from Velazquez, Musketier got the job done for his ninth lifetime win. He boosted his lifetime earnings to $876,471.
“I carried out a little bit going into that first turn," Velazquez said. "The other gray horse (Grassy) dropped in so I followed him and saved some ground. I got to the half-mile pole and got some momentum going. It took some urging to get him going. I was a little bit early to get after him, but I got at him at the sixteenth pole and won.”
Bred by Gestut Gorlsdorf, Musketier is out of Myth and Reality, by Linamix.
“He’s got some idiosyncrasies and some problems like myself,” grinned Attfield. “If you look after them and keep them happy - he goes out in the pen a lot in the daytime - they give it back to you. He’s just a great guy. We’re both gray, I know that.”
The winner was coming off a fifth-place finish in the 12-furlong Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs May 28 when he was unable to muster his usual late bid.
Musketier, who carried co-high weight of 125 pounds, paid $7.20, $3.80 and $3 as the 5-2 second choice. Grassy, winner of Aqueduct's Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) last fall for trainer Christophe Clement, returned $4.20 and $3.70 in his Woodbine debut. Windward Islands surged late for trainer Mark Frostad and was $4.10 to show.
Simmard finished a half-length back in fourth, followed closely by Rahy's Attorney, who gave way grudgingly. Solitaire and Miami Deco trailed.