Really Sharp, narrowly denied in the Jacques Cartier Stakes last time out, broke through with his first stakes win in the $140,745 Vigil Stakes (Can-III) (VIDEO) May 11 at Woodbine while overlooked at 28-1 odds.
The longest shot in the field of eight older sprinters, the 4-year-old Sharp Humor colt was ridden to victory by Steve Bahen for trainer Ian Black and owners/breeders Richard and Nancy Kaster. The final time was 1:21.83 for seven furlongs on the Polytrack.
Really Sharp broke outward from the gate and bumped with Delegation, the 3-1 second choice who was immediately pulled up by jockey Patrick Husbands. Delegation, who was making his 5-year-old debut, was vanned off the track after the race.
The Woodbine publicity office later reported that the Mark Casse-trained son of Speightstown , a multiple graded stakes winner who earned $543,780 for owner Gary Barber, was euthanized.
Stewards reviewed the bumping incident before confirming the order of finish.
Really Sharp was always prominent while rating just off Bear No Joke, who came through on the inside to get the lead with Go Blue Or Go Home racing closely on their outside. Fractions were :23.43 and :45.88 as Bear No Joke took them into the stretch, before a determined Really Sharp edged clear in the drive.
Go Blue Or Go Home, ridden by Jesse Campbell, and the late-charging 2-1 favorite Occasional View, seventh at the three-eighths pole, both threatened near midstretch but Really Sharp held on well to win by three-quarters of a length. Occasional View, with Omar Moreno aboard, was second, three parts of a length in front of Go Blue Or Go Home.
The winner carried 117 pounds and paid a whopping $59.10, $15.50, and $9.50 across the board while keying an exacta worth $249.20. Occasional View, favored off a win April 12 in the Commonwealth Stakes (gr. III) on the Keeneland Polytrack, returned $3.90 and $2.70. Go Home Or Go Blue was $4.70 to show.
Really Sharp was beaten by a neck when third after getting the lead in the stretch in the April 13 Jacques Cartier. In recording his second lifetime victory in 11 starts, the chestnut colt out of the unraced Thunder Gulch mare Reigning Dynasty snapped an eight-race winless streak. His prior win came against maidens at Woodbine at the seven-furlong distance in September 2012. Really Sharp has now banked $173,616.
Bahen, riding Really Sharp for the first time in the Jacques Cartier, felt comfortable throughout, having galloped the colt extensively through the winter at Payson Park in Florida.
"He rated real nice and was sitting there waiting to run," said Bahen. "He was really sharp today."
Despite the long odds, Black felt his colt was certainly a contender in the Vigil after his most recent effort.
"He was a big overlay. The horses that were first and second the last time he ran were a lot shorter prices today," said Black. "I thought he was sitting on a big race, but it was even bigger than I expected."