Cooper Water Thoroughbred Co.'s Reporting Star spoiled the return of 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT) winner Bobby's Kitten Aug. 23 at Woodbine with a closing drive on the rail to win the $200,000 Play the King Stakes (Can-IIT) by a nose over fellow closer Tower of Texas.
Video: Play the King S. (G2T)
The top pair ran together early on, as many as six lengths behind 6-5 favorite Bobby's Kitten and the dueling Stacked Deck, who set fractions of :22.32 and :45.01 through a half-mile. Coming out of the turn, Reporting Star went to the inside and passed the tiring front-runners in the stretch, and was able to just outfinish Tower of Texas, who took an outside route to pass Bobby's Kitten and Stacked Deck.
Off at 15-1, Reporting Star and jockey Luis Contreras covered the seven furlongs over firm turf in 1:20.66 to give the 5-year-old Circular Quay gelding his first graded victory. Kaigun closed well to finish third, five lengths back. Bobby's Kitten was passed by the top two in midstretch, yielding to finish seventh in the field of eight.
"It's a real thrill to win a race like this with a horse like this. He's a great horse and gives you everything he's got every time he runs," winning trainer Pat Parente said of Reporting Star's stellar in-the-money record of 5-6-8 from 22 starts.
The winner paid $32.40, $12.70, and $6.60 across the board. Tower of Texas brought $4.10 and $3.20, while Kaigun returned $4.50 to show.
Passion for Action made mild gains to finish fourth, followed by Platinum Glory, Stacked Deck, Bobby's Kitten, and Hot Hot Heat, to complete the order of finish.
Bred in Florida by Gilbert Campbell, out of the Sword Dance mare Classic Beauty, Reporting Star has $493,334 in earnings.