Odds-on choice Check Your Soul swept to an easy 2 1/2-length win in the $124,926 Wando Stakes (VIDEO) May 1 at Woodbine to stamp himself as a contender for next month's $1 million Queen's Plate (Can-I) .
Charles Fipke's homebred son of Perfect Soul --Unchecked, by Unbridled, is trained by Roger Attfield, an eight-time Queen's Plate winner who saddled Fipke's Not Bourbon for victory in Canada's most famous horse race in 2008.
This year's Queen's Plate is June 26.
In the Wando, Check Your Soul raced wide throughout and had the look of a horse that should have no problem with the 1 1/4-mile distance.
Sent off as the 3-5 favorite in a field of five 3-year-olds, the Ontario-bred stalked from last while five wide around the first turn and continued to chase from the outside into the final bend. When jockey Patrick Husbands asked for more, Check Your Soul responded with a sweeping move as the field turned for home to grab the lead in upper stretch. He widened his advantage through the lane before Husbands geared him down in the final stages of an impressive victory.
A galloping pace established by Something Extra (:25.62, :51.38, 1:15.82) seemed not to have any effect on Check Your Soul's closing punch. He completed the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack test in 1:45.29.
Check Your Soul had to withstand a claim of foul by jockey Tyler Pizarro aboard Evanderfield, alleging interference around the far turn, but the stewards disallowed the claim. Evanderfield was eased in the stretch after being squeezed and did not finish.
“He ran well, didn’t he,” said Attfield of the winner. “He’ll run all day, this horse, for sure. And he’s been training very, very well. He ran a little greenly down the lane today, but he was very dominant and I’m very pleased with him.
"(Last year), he was very, very big and when I got him from the farm in Florida, he had a small chip in an ankle. We took it out and gave him the whole summer (off), which was a blessing in disguise, because I didn’t really want to run him as a 2-year-old anyway. He’s a big, tall boy.”
This was the Woodbine debut for Check Your Soul and his first race against winners. The dark bay/brown colt began his career March 11 with an eighth-place finish in a one-mile maiden race on turf at Gulfstream Park. He bounced back April 15 at Keeneland, getting up in time for a nose victory over maidens at 1 1/16 miles on a "good" turf.
Named for Canada’s Triple Crown champion in 2003, the Wando Stakes, in its fourth year, was taken in 2010 by Hotep, who went on to finish second to Big Red Mike in the Queen’s Plate.
Check Your Soul earned $76,097 for the victory and returned $3.20, $2.40, and $2.10. Runner-up Whippit, a maiden ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, returned $5.40 and $2.70 as the longest shot in the field at 13-1. They formed a $22.70 exacta. Top Prospect, with Eurico Da Silva aboard, was one length farther back in third and paid $2.50. Something Extra finished fourth.