City Wolf , making his stakes debut, shook loose of his rivals at the head of the stretch to register his fourth consecutive victory for trainer Reade Baker in the $144,589 Durham Cup (Can-III) at Woodbine Oct. 2 (VIDEO) .
The Stronach Stables' homebred was ridden to a comfortable 2 1/4-length victory by Emma-Jayne Wilson at odds of 3-1. City Wolf, a 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway out of the Relaunch mare Baby Zip, completed the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack event in a good time of 1:50.38.
Baker continues to be impressed by City Wolf, who joined his barn from trainer Todd Pletcher in February.
"He's got a great pedigree," said Baker. "He tries to get out every start and I thought if we could cure that we'd have a nice horse. I didn't think he'd be this good, but we've cured that."
James Street finished second, with Stately Victor third in the field of five. Don Cavallo, the 7-5 favorite, set the pace before fading to finish last.
City Wolf tracked Don Cavallo at mid-pack through slight quarter-mile fractions of :25.23, :49.84, and 1:13.97 before challenging out of the final turn and bursting home powerfully. James Street, ridden by Patrick Husbands, followed the winner home and edged Stately Victor and Mike Smith by a half-length for second. Eye of the Leopard , the 2009 Queen's Plate winner, was fourth.
"There wasn't a lot of pace on paper, and the first eighth of a mile I didn't want to be going head and head with Don Cavallo," Wilson said. "My guy was a little sharper today than he has usually been. They were slow up front, but he settled back for me going into that first turn and once he settled down, after that first little bit, he was just butter in my hands."
Winless in his first five starts, City Wolf broke his maiden at Woodbine May 7 and hasn't lost since, all his victories coming on Woodbine's Polytrack. In his most recent start July 24, the chestnut colt scored a 1 3/4-length triumph over an optional claiming allowance field in an off-the-turf heat at the Durham Cup distance.
City Wolf improved his career record to 4-1-1 in nine starts with earnings of $207,140.
Sent off as the third choice, City Wolf carried 117 pounds and paid $8.10, $4.20, $4.30.
James Street, winner of the Seagam Cup (Can-III) Aug. 6 for trainer Jose Carroll, toted co-high weight of 121 pounds and returned $5.30 and $4.80. The exacta was worth $33.50.
The Mike Maker-trained Stately Victor, returning to Woodbine after finishing third in Del Mar's Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 28, paid $3.70 to show.