Despite being winless in his last four starts and making his North American debut, Bated Breath was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the $500,000 Nearctic Stakes (Can-IT) Oct. 16 at Woodbine.
The six-furlong Nearctic, the first of three grade I turf races on Woodbine’s Sunday card, drew a field of 13. The winner will gain a paid berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
A homebred of Juddmonte Farms, English-bred Bated Breath was second by a nose in the Sept. 3 Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I) in his last start. The winner, Dream Ahead, came back to defeat champion Goldikova in the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I) Oct. 2 at Longchamp.
Bated Breath, a 4-year-old son of Dansili, was also a narrow runner-up in the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) at Newmarket in July and won the Sportingbet.com Leisure Stakes in May. Trainer Roger Charlton has assigned Garret Gomez to ride the bay colt.
The 4-1 second choice is Ghislaine Head’s Right One, who missed by a neck when third in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Can-IT). In good form all season, the French-bred son of Anabaa has won three of five starts including the Jaipur (gr. IIIT) in July at Belmont. He has hit the board in all five tries in 2011. Julien Leparoux flies in for the mount for Christophe Clement.
Another main contender is New York-bred Fiddlers Patriot (6-1), who was second by a nose in Woodbine’s Highlander Stakes (Can-IIT) in July and was an optional claimer winner in May at Monmouth. The Proud Citizen gelding is based at Saratoga with trainer George Weaver.
Also coming out of the Prix de la Foret that Dream Ahead won is Irish-bred filly Bewitched (8-1). The daughter of Dansili was fourth in that race, but is a two-time group III winner in Ireland this year. Top California rider Joel Rosario will come in for the ride.
The second- and third-place finishers of last year’s Nearctic are also back, though neither one has had a strong season so far. Sam-Son Farms’ Grand Adventure, runner-up by 2 1/2 lengths in 2010, is winless in five starts this year and has not hit the winner’s circle since June 2010. Based at Woodbine for Mark Frostad, the 5-year-old son of Grand Slam was ninth in the Woodbine Mile in his most recent start.
Bear Stables’ Fatal Bullet, Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion sprinter in 2008, missed by a head when third in the Aug. 28 Play the King (Can-IIT) in his last start. He has won once in five starts this season, that coming in an optional claimer at Woodbine back in June. An earner of more than $1.2 million from 26 lifetime starts, Fatal Bullet will be ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson.
Both Grand Adventure and Fatal Bullet were listed at 15-1 on the morning-line.
$500,000 Nearctic Stakes (Can-IT, Race 5, 2:59 p.m.), 3 & Up, Six furlongs (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds 1. Fiddlers Patriot (NY), J R Velazquez, 117, G Weaver, 6/1
2. Grand Adventure (KY), P Husbands, 119, M R Frostad, 15/1
3. Bewitched (IRE), J Rosario, 116, C O'Brien, 8/1
4. Fatal Bullet (FL), E Wilson, 117, R Baker, 15/1
5. Riding the River (KY), R A Dos Ramos, 117, D Cotey, 15/1
6. Signature Red (KY), L Contreras, 121, S C Attard, 10/1
7. Right One (FR), J R Leparoux, 119, C Clement, 4/1
8. Gypsy Ring (ON), J Stein, 117, P M Buttigieg, 15/1
9. Jenny's So Great (ON), J M Campbell, 116, G de Gannes, 20/1
10. Regally Ready (KY), C S Nakatani, 119, S M Asmussen, 8/1
11. Bated Breath (GB), G K Gomez, 117, R Charlton, 3/1
12. Hitchens (IRE), J P Spencer, 119, D Barron, 20/1
13. Yield Bogey (KY), E R Da Silva, 117, P J Kelly, 20/1