Hunters Bay impresses in the Eclipse Stakes.

Hunters Bay impresses in the Eclipse Stakes.

Michael Burns

Hunters Bay Impresses in Stakes Debut

Stroncah Stables' son of Ghostzapper nearly broke a track record for 1 1/16 miles.

Stronach Stables homebred Hunters Bay  made the most of his first opportunity in stakes company, winning the Eclipse Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine in impressive fashion by three lengths (VIDEO).

The 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper , ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson for trained Reade Baker, was settled into fourth early as Mister Marti Gras and Hothersal dueled for the lead through opening fractions of :24.80 and :48.86.

As the field rounded the second turn, Wilson and Hunters Bay kicked in to take charge in the lane and then drew offin the final furlong for a convincing victory. The final time of 1:42.63 for 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack was two ticks off the track record 1:42.22

Hunters Bay paid $4.90, $3.70, and $3, with Mister Marti Gras returning $5.40 and $3.90 for his second-place finish. Hothersal held third, paying $4.30.

“I got lucky, with three in front of me … just the perfect garden trip,” Wilson said. “When I asked him to go, he responded and responded well. You couldn’t have asked for better. You couldn’t have written it better.

“He’s definitely a big boy,” Wilson continued. “He’s a colt and gets a little fired up. But when he’s got his game face on and you tell him to go, he’s there. Just like any athlete, they like to let you know they’re on the field, on the track and he definitely has some presence.”

“I was thrilled (where Emma had him placed),” Baker said of how the race played out. “I mean, he was sitting in the garden spot ready to go. If he was good enough, he was going to go and he just ran over top of them.”

Hunters Bay, who was coming off a four-length triumph in allowance company at 3-5 odds April 28, has won five of 10 starts with three runner-up finishes and earnings of $281,855.