Black Hornet wins the Vigil Stakes.

Black Hornet wins the Vigil Stakes.

Michael Burns

Black Hornet Speeds Away in Vigil Stakes

Gelding takes field gate to wire in stakes race at Woodbine.

Black Hornet and jockey Luis Contreras opened a clear lead early in the $150,000 Vigil Stakes (Can-III) (VIDEO) May 17 at Woodbine and outlasted their rivals for 5-year-old's first graded score.

Off at 7-2 odds, the Pioneering gelding set scorching fractions of :22.66, :44.71, and 1:08.52, led by as many as 3 1/2 lengths, and held on to win by three-quarters over Puntrooskie. Za Approval was 1 3/4 lengths back in third.

"That was what we were trying to doget him comfortable on the front end," trainer Pat Parente said. "He's done it before in the (2013) Queenston Stakes. He has a great record at seven-eighths."

Owned by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds and Aldo Ventresca, Black Hornet has two wins from three starts at the Vigil seven-furlong distance, and finished the trip in 1:21.70 over Woodbine's Polytrack. He came into the Vigil with steady efforts in his previous four graded tries, all seconds or thirds. He was also fourth and third, respectively, in his last two starts behind Vigil favorite Calgary Cat, in Jacques Carter Stakes April 26 and the Kennedy Road (Can-II) Nov. 23, both at Woodbine.

"He's such a pleasure to be around (and) he does everything right," Parente said. "You just want to do everything you can for a horse like that. Put him in the right spots if you can. He gives 100% every time."

Calgary Cat, off at 7-10 odds, broke slowly from the gate and raced in midpack but was never a factor and finished last in the five-horse field. Former Canadian champion and classic winner Pender Harbour was fourth.

With no show wagering, the winner paid $9 and $8. Puntrooskie returned $14.10 to place.

Bred in Ontario by Jus Luk Stables from the Siphon mare Start Stinging, Black Hornet has a 5-4-4 record from 18 starts and earnings of $577,885.