Seven-year-old Windward Islands, who recorded his biggest win in the 2010 Nijinsky (Can-IIT), is back for another try when he faces five others in the July 24 race at Woodbine.
The son of Cozzene is winless in three starts this season but has tallied three times over the Woodbine turf course in his career. Owned by Sam-Son Farms and trained by Mark Frostad, Windward Islands will have to turn the tables on his rival Musketier if he is to repeat in the 1 1/8-mile Nijinsky, which is one of two graded races on Woodbine’s Sunday card.
Post time for the $300,000 Nijinsky is slated for 4:36 p.m., while the $150,000 Ontario Matron (Can-III) for fillies and mares on Polytrack will go off at 2:30 p.m.
Nine-year-old Musketier scored his second graded stakes win of the season last out when he prevailed by a neck in the June 26 Singspiel (Can-IIIT) while Windward Islands was 1 1/4 lengths back in third. Stella Perdomo’s Musketier will seek his sixth group/graded stakes in his 41st start and try to hand trainer Roger Attfield his first win in the event. Sam-Son and Frostad have teamed up to win the Nijinsky five times in 13 runnings of the race.
Windward Islands, 5-4-4 from his 22 starts with earnings of $657,198, also finished third to Musketier in the Fifth Third Elkhorn (gr. IIT) at Keeneland in April and was seventh in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on June 11. He won last year’s Nijinsky by 3 1/2 lengths over the yielding turf while returning from a lengthy layoff. Emma-Jayne Wilson will have the mount for the first time.
German-bred Musketier has traveled all over the world during his career which has produced a record of 9-6-5 and earnings of $865,761. He’s already been out five times this year with a couple of graded stakes-placed efforts to go along with his two victories. The son of Acatenango will carry top weight of 123 pounds and be ridden by Eurico Da Silva.
Another main contender is 5-year-old Fifty Proof, a two-time winner this year including the May 28 Eclipse (Can-III) on Polytrack and runner-up by a half-length last out in the June 25 King Edward (Can-IIT). The Whiskey Wisdom gelding is trained by Ian Black, who won the Nijinsky in 2009 with Rahy’s Attorney.
Mark Casse, who won the Nijinsky in 2008 with Seaside Retreat, will have two chances this time with Silver Rock and Hailstone, both seeking their first stakes wins.
The 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron drew a field of seven led by two-time graded stakes winner and 124-pound high weight Biofuel, and Embur's Song, who carries a three-race win streak into the race.
$150,000 Ontario Matron (Can-III Race 4, 2:30 p.m.), Fillies and Mares, 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Hooh Why (FL), E Ramsammy, 117, M Hoffman
2. Indian Apple Is (ON), J M Campbell, 117, R P Tiller
3. Biofuel (KY), J McAleney, 124, R Baker
4. Stormy Illusion (KY), R A Dos Ramos, 117, D England
5. Embur's Song (ON), P Husbands, 121, T A Pletcher
6. Dancing Raven (ON), L Contreras, 117, M J Doyle
7. Ariana D (PA), O Moreno, 117, L Silvera
$300,00 Nijinsky (Can-IIT, Race 8, 4:36 p.m.), 3YO and Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Guipago (ON), J McAleney, 117, A M Delmas
2. Fifty Proof (ON), L Contreras, 121, I Black
3. Windward Islands (KY), E Wilson, 121, M R Frostad
4. Musketier (GER), E R Da Silva, 123, R L Attfield
5. Silver Rock (KY), P Husbands, 117, M E Casse
6. Hailstone (KY), J M Campbell, 117, M E Casse