The connections of Are You Kidding Me were feeling pretty good heading into the Nijinsky Stakes (Can-II) (VIDEO) July 19 at Woodbine, and he rewarded their confidence with a second consecutive graded stakes win.
With Alan Garcia riding for Roger Attfield, the 2-1 favorite tracked about a length behind front-runners Platinum Glory and Excaper early, took charge in midstretch, and then kept unlucky runner-up Golden Sabre at bay in a half-length triumph.
The final time for 1 1/8 miles firm turf was 1:46.69.
Are You Kidding Me, a 5-year-old son of Run Away and Hide , came in off a sparkling score in the Eclipse Stakes (Can-II) June 7 on Woodbine's all-weather main track following his third off a five-month layoff in the San Francisco Stakes (gr. IIIT) April 25. With the Nijinsky win, his record improves to 5-3-4 from 20 career starts, which also includes his gate-to-wire triumph in the 2013 Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park among his three turf wins.
Garcia said prior to the Nijinky that Are You Kidding Me's strong five-furlong work in :59 July 10 on the turf training track—equaling the time of Attfield's turf standout Tower of Texas—assured him that his mount would be a strong contender in the Nijinsky.
"I was very confident," Garcia said. "He'd been training super in the morning, working very great. I only needed a trip. He did spectacular today. He broke good and I saw two horses go to the lead. I took my time, because I knew he was going to come with a big run, and he did."
Platinum Glory set the tempo in the Nijinsky, clocking :24.61 and :48.34 for a half-mile with Excaper on his flank and Are You Kidding Me tracking from third, while Golden Sabre raced along the rail in fourth position.
Are You Kidding Me angled four-wide for his stretch run and cruised on to the win while Golden Sabre, short of running room in the final stages, found an opening and burst through, but the winner was too strong. Golden Sabre finished two lengths in front of a rallying Za Approval, who nosed Lucky Speed for third in the nine-horse field.
Are You Kidding Me, the 123-pound topweight, paid $7.20, $4.30, and $3. Golden Sabre (117 pounds) returned $7.50 and $5, and Za Approval (117 pounds) paid $3.30 to show.
Interpol finished fifth, followed by Excaper, Platinum Glory, Avie's Quality, and Letro to complete the order of finish.
Kentucky-bred Are You Kidding Me campaigns for owners and co-breeders Michael Riordan, Ron Kirk, and John Bates. His dam is the Street Cry mare Sweet Awakening, a half sister to 2008 Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Recapturetheglory.