With Jeffrey Sanchez aboard, Ravalo scored for trainer Donald Barr in the 6-year-old Mutakddim gelding's first start on Woodbine's Polytrack. Ravalo is no stranger to synthetic tracks, however, with four wins in eight tries during his career.
The Kentucky-bred Ravalo, fifth in Keeneland's Woodford Stakes (gr. IIIT) on grass in his most recent start, had won just once in 10 prior starts in 2010, though he was in the money in six others. He completed the six-furlong test in a sharp 1:09.00 to nip Signature Red, who took the lead from 11-10 choice Fatal Bullet at the sixteenth pole.
After showing speed out of the gate, Ravalo set the pace under pressure from Fatal Bullet and Paso Doble on the backstretch, posting a brisk opening quarter-mile of :22.26 before taking back to fourth and stalking toward the inside. Fatal Bullet took the lead heading into the turn and was quickly challenged by Paso Doble.
They dueled on the front through a :44.26 half-mile, and Fatal Bullet shook clear in the stretch, but he could not hold off Signature Red and Ravalo, who swept past to fight it out to the wire from the sixteenth pole. Ravalo got the advantage in the final strides, holding on tenaciously over Signature Red, ridden Luis Contreras.
Fatal Bullet, with Eurico Da Silva aboard, edged Forgetthestorm by a half-length for third while finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind the first two.
Along with Fatal Bullet, Canada's Horse of the Year in 2008, the race also boasted last year's Sovereign Award-winning sprinter Field Commission , who finished a non-threatening fifth. General Brock and Paso Doble trailed.
Owned by Lindy M. Redding, Ravalo edged close to $1 million in earnings with the victory, which improved his record to 15-9-8 in 40 races. The winner's share of $88,407 boosted the bay's total to $978,572.
“I figured he’d be able to travel, but I didn’t think he’d be this great,” Redding said. “He laid back and then he came on just right."
Heaven Trees bred Ravalo, winner of the 2009 Maryland Sprint Handicap (gr. III). He is out of the Southern Halo mare Momentary Hope.
Ravalo carried 120 pounds to victory and paid $16.20, $8.80, and $4 as the fourth choice in the field of seven. Signature Red, winner of the Highlander Stakes (Can-IIT) at six furlongs on grass earlier in the meet, returned $6.50 and $3.60. Fatal Bullet, now winless in six starts this year, paid $2.30 to show.