James Street outfinishes Stunning Stag to win the Seagram Cup at Woodbine.

James Street outfinishes Stunning Stag to win the Seagram Cup at Woodbine.

Michael Burns

James Street Surges to Seagram Cup Win

Eugene Melnyk homebred holds off Stunning Stag by a head at Woodbine Aug. 6.

James Street earned his first stakes victory when he outlasted game challenger Stunning Stag by a head in the $164,160 Seagram Cup Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine Aug. 6 (VIDEO).

Eugene Melynyk's 4-year-old is a homebred son of El Prado out of the Unbridled mare Alleynedale. He is trained by Josie Carroll.

James Street responded to urging from jockey Patrick Husbands when caught wide on the final turn and bid for the lead nearing mid-stretch. After sweeping past the weakening even-money favorite Court of the Realm and Hollinger and taking command, the bay colt dug deep to hold off the streaking Stunning Stag under steady pressure.

Winning time for the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack test was 1:44.01. James Street has been especially effective at the distance, boasting a record of four wins and two seconds from eight starts.

"Certainly, looking at his past performances it seemed to be what he wanted to do," said Carroll. "He's in very good order and relaxed very well today. I was very pleased to see that. I thought Patrick rode him extremely well."

Second in last year's Seagram Cup, Stunning Stag and Gerry Olguin finished 2 3/4 lengths in front of Sand Cove, who won this race in front-running fashion last year.

Court of the Realm, seeking his sixth consecutive win for trainer Peter Berringer, set a tepid pace (:25.19, 50:32, 1:14.28) but tired in the final furlong and finished sixth.

Husbands was happy to get first jump on Stunning Stag.

"We had a pretty slow half," said Husbands. "I didn't want Gerry to come and catch me sleeping, so I tried to get him (James Street) going before he got there and he gave me 110% down the lane."

James Street was coming off a runner-up showing in the Dominion Day Stakes (Can-III) in his stakes debut. He has won three of his past four starts. The victory, worth $91,710, boosted his career bankroll to $275,045 on a career mark of 4-3-1 in 13 races.

Sent off as the third choice in the field of seven, James Street paid $12.90, $5.20, $3.50. Stunning Stag was extremely wide for Olguin while closing late on the final turn and returned $4.60 and $3.60 in a big try. Sand Cove, winner of Canada's Sovereign Award last year as the champion older male, was $5 to show with Richard Dos Ramos aboard.

Hollinger finished fourth, followed by Lord of Greatness, Court of the Realm, and Southdale.