Stormy Lord, a no-sweat three-length winner in last year's Connaught Cup Stakes (Can-IIT), returns to defend his crown against 10 opponents at Woodbine May 27.
The Stormy Atlantic -Lady Auchamore gelding, owned by Kinghaven Farms and Hat Trick Stable, enjoyed the soft turf course for his 2011 debut, winning the seven-furlong Connaught Cup impressively gate-to-wire.
The speedy chestnut trained by Ian Black recorded four wins in seven starts last season, including victories in the Ontario Jockey Club and Labeeb Stakes at Woodbine, as well as the PTHA President's Cup at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania.
Stormy Lord makes his second start of 2012 following a front-running effort to finish sixth in a nine-furlong allowance event April 7 at Keeneland. The 5-year-old gelding has trained forwardly for the Connaught Cup with a number of sharp breezes including a five-panel trip over the training turf course in :59 1/5 on May 20.
On Sunday, he will take on an impressive field that includes graded stakes winners Kara's Orientation, Signature Red, Court of the Realm, and Juddmonte Farms homebred Mutual Trust. The latter colt, a 4-year-old Great Britain-bred son of Cacique-Posteritas, won a pair of group events in France before moving to North America and the care of conditioner Bill Mott.
Mutual Trust, coming off a fourth-place finish in an allowance/optional claiming turf event over one mile at Churchill Downs May, 2, will wear blinkers for the first time. With Corey Nakatani shipping north for the ride, Mutual Trust will carry top weight of 125 pounds.
Stormy Lord, to be ridden from the far outside post by Patrick Husbands, totes 122. Court of the Realm, winner of Woodbine's one-mile King Edward Stakes (Can-IIT) last June, also packs 122.
$150,000 Connaught Cup Stakes (Can-IIT, Race 8, 4:49 p.m.), 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Stormy Rush (KY), P Husbands, 116, R L Attfield
2. Big Band Sound (KY), T Pizarro, 116, D J Vella
3. Kara's Orientation (KY), J M Campbell, 122, S Chircop
4. Riding the River (KY), T Kabel, 116, D Cotey
5. Artic Fern (ON), D Clark, 118, M Keogh
6. Mutual Trust (GB), C S Nakatani, 125, W I Mott
7. Something Extra (KY), E R Da Silva, 116, G Cox
8. Signature Red (KY), L Contreras, 118, S C Attard
9. Court of the Realm (KY), E Ramsammy, 122, P Berringer
10. Welloiledmachine (ON), J McAleney, 118, M Keogh
11. Stormy Lord (ON), J Stein, 122, I Black
Blinkers On: Mutual Trust