Woodbine completes its 2013 Thoroughbred season Dec. 15 with the $150,000 Valedictory Stakes (Can-III), a 1 3/4-mile Polytrack test that attracted a field of eight older horses.
The concluding program of the eight-month campaign begins at 1 p.m. EST, with the Valedictory set as race 4 with a 2:26 p.m. EST scheduled post. The card features 144 horses, plus eight also-eligible runners, spread over 13 races.
Eagle Poise, who won the 2011 Valedictory, seeks his first win in four starts this year for trainer Graham Motion and Riverdee Stable. The 7-year-old Empire Maker gelding has a record of five wins and two seconds from eight starts at Woodbine. He finished second in the 2009 edition of the marathon event won by Cloudy's Knight. Patrick Husbands retains the mount and they will break from the inside post.
Tricky Hat, trained by Shug McGaughey and to be ridden by Rosie Napravnik, will make his Woodbine debut in the Valedictory. The 4-year-old Hat Trick gelding has battled with Eagle Poise in each of his last two starts. He defeated his rival by a neck in the 1 1/2-mile Laurel Turf Cup Sept. 21, and was third, a neck in arrears of Eagle Poise, last time out in the 1 5/8-mile off-the-turf Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 17.
Shippers include British-bred Address Unknown, a 6-year-old son of Oasis Dream who finished ninth in his North American debut at Saratoga Race Course earlier this summer. The Cyril Murphy trainee, who has raced primarily in England through 24 career starts, has five wins including a perfect record in two attempts over a synthetic surface. Davy Moran will ride.
Gallant Eagle, a 6-year-old Irish-bred son of Hawk Wing trained by John Good, boasts a record of 6-8-6 from 40 career starts. The chestnut finished fifth in a Churchill Downs allowance route last time out after setting a sharp early pace. The speedy Gallant Eagle nearly upset the Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park Aug. 31, losing by a nose to Wilcox Inn. Emile Ramsammy gets the call.
Quaesitor, a head winner over Valedictory rival Turkish in the prep for this event, finished third in the 2012 Valedictory won by Heathcote. Quaesitor, trained by Ian Howard for Wayward Stable, will be seeking his third consecutive win to end the meet having rallied to a half-length score in a 1 1/2-mile allowance tilt Aug. 2 prior to his prep score. Gerry Olguin retains the mount.
Turkish, unlucky in defeat in the Valedictory prep, has posted a record of 2-2-2 through nine starts this season for trainer Reade Baker. The Brereton C. Jones homebred son of Istan took both his seasonal wins over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, but has a pair of seconds and thirds from five starts on the 'Poly,' and is expected to be a pace factor.
Sunday's weather forecast, according to Environment Canada, is calling for a high of 18.4 F.
$150,000 Valedictory Stakes (Can-III), 3 & Up, 1 3/4 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Eagle Poise (KY), P Husbands, 117, H G Motion
2. Address Unknown (GB), D Moran, 119, C Murphy
3. Turkish (KY), E Wilson, 115, R Baker
4. Quaesitor (ON), G Olguin, 117, I Howard
5. Gallant Eagle (IRE), E Ramsammy, 117, J Good
6. Peyton (ON), O Moreno, 117, M J Doyle
7. Tricky Hat (CHI), R Napravnik, 119, C R McGaughey III
8. Awesome Overture (ON), J M Campbell, 117, P Attard
Blinkers On: Address Unknown, Tricky Hat