Essence Hit Man wins the Jacques Carter Stakes for the third year in a row.

Essence Hit Man wins the Jacques Carter Stakes for the third year in a row.

Michael Burns

Essence Hit Man Takes Jacques Cartier Again

It was third straight tally in Woodbine sprint race for two-time Canadian champion.

Essence Hit Man won the $166,408 Jacques Cartier Stakes (VIDEO) for the third year in a row with a powerful front-running performance under Jesse Campbell April 27 at Woodbine.

Trained by Sylvain Pion for owners A&G Racing Stable. It was an emotional result for the connections with the passing of Audre Cappuccitti, co-owner/breeder and former trainer of Essence Hit Man, in November.

"The way he ran makes it emotional," said Campbell. "He's a champ."

Essence Hit Man, racing without his customary blinkers, was relaxed out of the gate, notching a quarter in :22.33 and a half in :45.02 with Bear Tough Tiger about a length off his flank.

Campbell asked Essence Hit Man for more at the top of the lane and the 6-year-old Speightstown  gelding squirted clear to win by four lengths in 1:08.83. Bear Tough Tiger, ridden by Justin Stein, held on for second by a length over a rallying Upgrade and Luis Contreras.

Campbell was pleased with the pre-race disposition of Essence Hit Man.

"I've never seen this horse act the way he acted in post (parade), and all for the good," said Campbell. "He was a calm customer today, very well behaved in the gate. I had no concerns leaving the gate and I know third or fourth jump he's going to be on his way."

Campbell is hopeful that Essence Hit Man will continue to be as relaxed throughout the 2013 meet.

"I'd rather him be like that, I don't need him to leave in :21," said Campbell. "He's quick when you need him."

A claim of foul by Justin Stein, the jockey of Bear Tough Tiger, for interference by Essence Hit Man at the five-eighths pole was denied by the stewards.

Essence Hit Man, out of El Prado Essence, by El Prado, boosted his bankroll to $1,215,476 while improving his lifetime record to 11-5-3 from 25 starts.

The 124-pound highlight paid $6, $3.50, and $2.60, combining with Bear Tough Tiger ($3.40, $2.50) for a $13.60 exacta. Upgrade was $2.80 to show.

Hammers Terror was next, followed by Bear No Joke, Artic Fern, and Say No More.