His Race to Win finishes the Seagram Cup Stakes.

His Race to Win finishes the Seagram Cup Stakes.

Michael Burns

His Race to Win On His Game in Seagram Cup

Sam-Son Farm homebred goes overland to win for trainer Malcolm Pierce at Woodbine.

His Race to Win took the overland route to capture the $163,506 Seagram Cup Stakes (Can-III) (VIDEO), turning the tables on runner-up Sky Captain in the process Aug. 3 at Woodbine.

Given another patient ride behind a meandering pace by Eurico Rosa Da Silva, His Race to Win went from last to first to score by 1 1/4 lengths at odds of 7-1 for trainer Malcolm Pierce and owner/breeder Sam-Son Farm. The winning time for the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack test was 1:43.35.

"He was running very relaxed and when I picked him up at the quarter pole, he kicked very strong," said Da Silva.

Pierce picked up his fourth graded stakes win of the Woodbine meet with the 4-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic , and he has saddled three of them for leading client Sam-Son Farm. The trainer came into Sunday's races hitting at a 31% strike mark at the stand (16-for-51).

His Race to Win was coming off a third-place finish, 3 3/4 lengths behind Sky Captain, in the 1 1/4-mile Dominion Day Stakes (Can-III) July 1. But His Race to Win, winner of the 2013 Ontario Derby (Can-III), is much better at 1 1/16 miles, recording his fourth win from seven starts at the distance.

This was not Sky Captain's day, either. He broke tardily as the 5-2 second choice, giving the field four or five lengths, and raced wide before giving way in deep stretch in pursuit of his fourth straight win.

It wasn't a good day, either, for 6-5 favorite Alpha Bettor, who was looking for his third consecutive Seagram Cup triumph. But Alpha Bettor, saving ground through most of the trip, was blocked behind horses rounding the final bend and never found a way through while finishing last.

Da Silva avoided all that trouble, tracking the compact group as Ultimate Destiny, getting the lead from the outside, showed the way over Pender Harbour and Peyton through quarter mile fractions of :25.08, :49.72, and 1:12.93. The field was four abreast rounding the far turn as Sky Captain joined the leaders on the far outside, and Da Silva went to work on His Race to Win near the quarter pole while at the back.

"I was worried about the pace early too, being last after a slow half, but the horse was on his game today," said Pierce.

Coming through the stretch five paths wide, His Race to Win was still fifth approaching the furlong mark, but got the lead in the final furlong and scooted clear in the drive. Sky Captain, in a game try, held second by a head over 44-1 shot Peyton. Ultimate Destiny weakened to fourth, with Pender Harbour and Alpha Bettor trailing.

His Race to Win showed promise as a juvenile, finishing third to stablemate Up With the Birds in the Coronation Futurity. As a 3-year-old, he was second by a nose to Dynamic Sky  in the Plate Trial before finishing sixth in the Queen's Plate.

"I think he's still going to improve," said Da Silva. "When he was a 2-year-old, I loved this horse and I'm so happy to see him winning stakes now."

His Race to Win, who won an allowance race on turf at Keeneland in April, improved his career record to 5-3-3 in 16 races with earnings of $450,235.

The bay colt is the first stakes winner out of the multiple stakes-placed mare Fleet of Foot, by Gone West. His Race to Win descends from a Sam-Son family that includes grade I winner and top sire Smart Strike, as well as champions Dance Smartly, Sky Classic, Regal Classic, and Dancethruthedawn.

Carrying 117 pounds, His Race to Win paid $16.10, $6.80, and $4.30 as the fourth choice. Sky Captain, under 121, returned $4.20 and $2.90 while completing a $64.90 exacta. Peyton paid $7.50 to show. and was part of a $2 trifecta worth $465.50.