Ridden by Patrick Husbands, Royal Oath was mid-pack while saving ground through the backstretch, moved into contention around the turn and had plenty left for the contentious drive. Outside of Ice Bear for the long duel, Royal Oath bumped with his rival more than once before putting away the 19-1 longshot inside the sixteenth-pole, eventually crossing the wire in front by a half-length. Ridden by Corey Fraser, Ice Bear gamely held second by a half-length over a late-charging Seaside Retreat. The final time was 1:49.67 for nine furlongs over a yielding turf course.
A Kentucky homebred of William Farish and William Farish Jr., Royal Oath made his North American debut May 25 in the Connaught Cup (Can-III), finishing fifth. In that one, Society’s Chairman – the 2-1 favorite in the King Edward – ran second, just missing to Rahy’s Attorney.
Prior to coming to Canada, the son of Kingmambo--Sherkiya, by Goldneyev made a pair of starts in the United Arab Emirates, including a runner-up finish in the Commercial Bank of Dubai Al Fahidi Fort (UAE-II) Feb. 21, which was his 2008 debut. His 2006 and 2007 campaigns took place in England, where he won three of eleven starts and was group-placed as a 4-year-old. Mark Casse took over training duties after coming to Woodbine.
Augustin Stable’s Ice Bear, entering off an allowance-optional claiming score May 30 at Woodbine, took all the heat in the King Edward, breaking from post five and leading the field around the oval. He posted fractions of :24.45, :48.58, and 1:13.15, while Society’s Chairman pressed the pace. Can’t Beat It and Storm Caller were also near the front.
Society’s Chairman could not sustain his bid once they hit the eighth-pole, and the fierce stretch duel between Royal Oath and Ice Bear began.
Going off as the second choice, the winner paid $7.50, $5.50 and $3.70. The exacta (2-5) returned $146.70. Seaside Retreat, also owned by Farish Jr. and trained by Casse, filled out an $822.20 trifecta (2-5-7).
Royal Oath is now 4-3-0 from 15 starts and has earned $443,017. Before the King Edward his last win was June 20, 2007 in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot.
“The Farish’s decided to bring him over here earlier this spring and I’m glad they did,” said Casse, who won consecutive Sovereign Awards as Canada’s top trainer in 2006 and 2007. “He came in a couple of days before the last race and he didn’t have a great trip on the plane. The horse just looked flat to me.
“About a week ago, we worked him and I sent a text message to Bill (Farish Sr.) and I said, ‘Okay, I just saw a good horse.’ Luckily, he ran that way today.”
French Beret finished fourth, followed by Artie Hot, Can't Beat It, Society's Chairman, Believeinmenow and Storm Caller.