Sarah Lynx, the lone filly in the field of 16 for the Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT), snuck through at the rail and turned the $1,488,318 million event into a four-length romp at 22-1 odds Oct. 16 over a yielding course at Woodbine (VIDEO).
Christophe Soumillon drove the Irish-bred 4-year-old filly to victory for Mrs. Robert G. Ehrnooth and trainer John Hammond. Hammond opted for the International over the 10-furlong E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) for fillies and mares because the 1 1/2-mile distance was better suited to Sarah Lynx's ability.
The victory comes with an automatic berth in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 5, though it was unclear if the connections for the French-based filly would want to return in three weeks.
Sarah Lynx, who surpassed $1 million in career earnings, became the first female to win the Canadian International since Infamy in 1988.
"For a filly to win like that here you know it is phenomenal, really," said Kate Bradley, Hammond's assistant. "Credit goes to Christophe because he knows the filly very, very well. He’s got great partnership with her and my boss also, John. We are just over the moon.”
Like the E.P. Taylor winner Miss Keller, Sarah Lynx is a daughter of Montjeu. She was coming off a fourth-place finish behind the victorious Galikova in the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Fr-I) at Longchamp Sept. 11.
Grangecon Stud bred Sarah Lynx. The bay filly is out of the Danehill mare Steel Princess.
The victory came a day after Soumillon was suspended for five days by British racing officials and forced to forfeit his share of the purse under a controversial new rule for excessive use of his whip in winning the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Eng-I) aboard Cirrus des Aigles at Ascot.
Sarah Lynx, a group II winner at Deauville prior to her most recent start, got a ground-saving trip behind the leaders. She found room at the rail when pacesetter Kara's Orientation fanned out a bit coming into the stretch. She burst through to take control by three lengths at mid-stretch and continued to draw away under under some right-handed urging from Soumillon.
"The great thing is that she has a good turn of foot," he said. "She is really relaxed in the race. This is the third time she’s had blinkers on because before she was a bit lazy. So with those on, I saw she was not pulling at all in the race. She was really relaxed. I was quite confident.
“She got a chance today to do something great, but I didn’t suppose her to win this race.”
Joshua Tree, who won the Canadian International last year, emerged from the pack to get up for second by two lengths, with mild 7-2 favorite Treasure Beach third. The final time was 2:34.90 on the boggy going, more than nine seconds off the course record.
Nine European entrants dominated this year's Canadian International field, taking on six horses that were based in Canada.
One of the local hopes, Karah's Orientation, as expected, broke best from post 14. He grabbed the lead and angled to the inside with the two horses to his outside, Bronze Cannon and Miami Deco, tracking. Those three, along with the only United States-based runner in the field, Rahystrada, showed the way at a slow tempo. Kara's Orientation clipped the first half-mile in :52.06 and the mile in 1:42.96.
The race's complexion changed completely as the field reached the stretch. Sarah Lynx, tucked in nicely behind the leaders near mid-pack all the way around, advanced on the final turn and got a dream run through at the rail as Kara's Orientation gave way, and she quickly took control.
Joshua Tree, ridden by Adam Kirby, was 11th at the quarter pole but tried to make a race of it, rallying from between horses. But he was no match for the winner.
“It was a little bit messy," Kirby said of Joshua Tree's trip. "Our horse missed the gate. I'd have liked to have gotten out a little sooner than I did but it was blocked up there and you have to wait for the space to happen. When it opened up, he quickened up good, but I think we just met one that was too good on the day.”
Three-year-old Treasure Beach, who shipped to the United States this summer to capture the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park, also rallied from mid-pack but was a non-threatening third while edging Arctic Cosmos by three-quarters of a length.
“He jumped great and he traveled really well," said Treasure Beach's jockey, Colm O'Donoghue."I had a great position turning in and he was traveling so easy. He tried very hard for me. The ground was probably too soft for him. It was very dead."
Lightly raced Sarah Lynx won for the third time in 11 lifetime starts and ran her earnings to $1,091,659 with the winning purse of $891,090. It was the first Canadian International win for both Hammond and Soumillon.
The payoffs were fantastic. Sarah Lynx returned $46.90, $21.40, and $13.80 and topped a $659.50 exacta. Joshua Tree, making his third start of the year for trainer Marco Botti, paid $12.30 and $8.40. Treasure Beach, rebounding from a 14th-place finish in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) Oct. 2, paid $4.10 to show. The $2 trifecta was $3,699, and a $1 superfecta with Arctic Cosmos was worth $16,309.95.
Arctic Cosmos was followed by Quest for Peace, Musketier , morning line choice Redwood, Mores Wells, Laureate Conductor, Celtic Conviction, Kara's Orientation, Rahystrada, Simmard, Mikhail Glinka, Miami Deco, and Bronze Cannon.