Windward Islands caught stablemate Grand Adventure inside the sixteenth-pole and went on to win the $300,000 Nijinsky Stakes (Can-IIT) (VIDEO) by 3 1/2 lengths as trainer Mark Frostad ran one-two in the July 24 Woodbine event.
Sam-Son Farms’ Windward Islands notched the first graded stakes win of his career in the 1 1/8-mile Nijinsky, which was run over the yielding turf course. It was the season debut for the 6-year-old Cozzene gelding, who had not raced since June 2009 because of what Frostad described as “nagging injuries.” Frostad won the event for the fifth time.
Chantal Sutherland guided Windward Islands to victory. The gray/roan gelding covered the distance in 1:53.58. Grand Adventure, sent off as the favorite in the field of six, was 2 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place Southdale. Rahy's Attorney, who won the race a year ago, finished fifth.
Grand Adventure and Southdale were well ahead of the rest of the field for three-quarters of a mile. With Patrick Husbands aboard, Grand Adventure clicked off splits of :24.75, :48.26, and 1:13.33. Southdale pressed the leader the whole way.
Grand Adventure continued his lead into the stretch, but Windward Islands was closing strongly from the center of the racetrack. He caught the longtime leader in deep stretch and glided to the wire for a convincing victory.
Windward Islands broke a five-race losing streak in his season finale last June at Woodbine, winning an optional claimer on the Woodbine turf. His only previous black-type win came in the 2007 Toronto Cup, also at Woodbine.
Overall, Windward Islands improved to 5-3-1 from 17 starts and increased his earnings to $495,836. He was bred in Kentucky by Dr. Steve Kramer and Cozzene Syndicate, and is out of the Assert mare Cruise.
The winner paid $16.30, $5.70, and $3.20. The exacta (4-2) returned $52.50 and the trifecta (5-2-4) was $171.80.