Heavily favored Something Extra successfully defended his title in the $195,371 Connaught Cup Stakes (Can-IIT) with a resilient front-running effort May 26 on the Woodbine turf.
Eurico Rosa Da Silva guided 11-10 pick Something Extra to a pressured victory, completing a sweep of the Woodbine stakes Sunday following his win earlier on the card with Up With the Birds in the Marine Stakes. Gail Cox trains the winning 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie, whom she co-owns with John Menary.
Out of the multiple stakes placed mare Our Mariah, by Mt. Livermore, Something Extra was bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Farms.
Something Extra completed the seven-furlong test in a sharp 1:20.54 over firm going, defeating defending Canadian male turf champion Riding the River by three-quarters of a length. Riding the River, rallying gamely from sixth past the three-eighths pole, worked his way through traffic in the stretch to edge the rail-hugging Upgrade for second by a neck.
A field of nine older horse contested the Connaught Cup, which Something Extra won by 2 1/2 lengths last year in front-running fashion at odds of nearly 14-1. Cox said the gelding, who registered his first graded win, came out of that race with a fractured splint bone. He missed five months of action before returning to win the Mt. Sassafras Stakes and finishing third in the Kennedy Road (Can-III) to conclude the year.
Something Extra had posted a pair of seconds in his two prior starts this year. He was coming off a nose defeat as the favorite to Havelock in the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown (gr. IIIT) when he came from well off the pace at Keeneland April 13.
Sent immediately to the front by Da Silva, Something Extra opened a length's advantage over Bear No Joke while clipping off an opening quarter mile in :22.64 and the half in a swift :45.09.
"They opened the door and he wanted to be home quick," said Da Silva.
Pushed along into the stretch, Something Extra appeared to be in danger of being passed as stalking Valentino Beauty, Upgrade, and others advanced into contention.
But Something Extra had more to give in the final furlong, edging clear under urging as Riding the River challenged on the outside for Todd Kabel and Upgrade threatened along the inside under Luis Contreras.
Cox was pleased with the effort of the dark bay, making up for the heartbreaking loss at Keeneland when piloted by Julien Leparoux.
"He's a nice horse and he's gotten better," Cox said. "It was a really tough trip (in the Shakertown.) He had a wall of horses in front of him and Julien just couldn't get through. It was just bad luck."
A five-time winner on Woodbine's synthetic surface, Something Extra also has excelled over the track's turf course with two wins, two seconds, and a third from five starts. The consistent runner's overall mark stands at 7-6-4 from 21 races with earnings of $581,128.
Sharing top weight of 122 pounds with the runner-up, Something Extra paid $4.20, $2.70, and $2.60 while keying a $25.30 exacta. Riding the River, making his first start since finishing fourth in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) Sept. 16, returned $5.40 and $3.60. The show price on Upgrade was $4.
Valentino Beauty finished fourth, followed by Hotep, Bear No Joke, Lockout, Bear Tough Tiger, and Artic Fern. Artest was a stewards scratch.