Reigning Canadian turf champion Rahy's Attorney found Woodbine's soft turf course to his liking in the $313,927 Nijinsky Stakes (Can-IIT) (VIDEO) July 26, holding off his rivals after opening a five-length lead in the lane for his first victory at the 1 1/4-mile distance.
The favored 5-year-old son of Crown Attorney made it consecutive grade II victories on the Woodbine lawn for trainer Ian Black after stretching out to nine furlongs in winning the King Edward Handicap (Can-IIT) in his last start. Rahy's Attorney had already proven his fondness for soft going when he beat a stellar field on a yielding course in the Woodbine Mile (Can-I) last September.
"I'm in awe of the horse," said Black. "He's wonderful. He loves to race. He loves to win. He has so much desire and a great mind. I'm honored to be around him."
With regular pilot Slade Callaghan aboard, Rahy's Attorney tracked pacesetter French Beret in a two-horse duel for more than a half-mile before wresting the lead on the inside early on the turn and drawing off heading into the stretch.
French Beret led by four lengths on the backstretch after carving reserved fractions of :26.26 and :51.74. The six-furlong split was 1:18.06 as Rahy's Attorney assumed a half-length lead.
After a brief tussle on the final turn with French Beret, Rahy's Attorney led by five lengths mid-stretch before Marchfield cut into the commanding margin in the final furlong. Rahy's Attorney, the 9-5 choice, held on to win in a sustained drive by 1 3/4 lengths. The final time was 2:08.42.
"My main job was to get my horse to relax today," said Callaghan. "He ran really good over a soft turf. I wouldn't necessarily say that might be his best going. He has a heart like no other. You can't ask for anything more than that in a racehorse."
Marchfield, guided by Patrick Husbands, gained steadily through the homestretch to finish a clear second by 5 3/4 lengths over Champs Elysees, sent off as the narrow 19-10 second choice.
Ellie-Boje Farm bred Rahy's Attorney in Ontario and own him in partnership with Read Peters and Jean and Jim MacLellan. The bay gelding, who is out of the Rahy mare Rahy's Hope, earned $191,206 for his ninth victory in 22 starts. He boosted his overall bankroll to $1,455,706.
Rahy's Attorney ran fourth in last year's Nijinksy, finishing 3 1/4 lengths behind Seaside Retreat in his last race before winning the Woodbine Mile. The six-time stakes winner has recorded two stakes triumphs in each of the past three seasons.
He carried co-high weight of 123 pounds and paid $5.60, $3.20 and $2.40. Marchfield returned $4.10 and $3.10. The Great Britain-bred Champs Elysees, who rallied late under Alan Garcia, was $2.90 to show.
It was three-quarters of a length to Catch the Luck, who was followed by Spice Route and French Beret. Marlang, expected to set the pace, was scratched.