Eugene Melnyk’s homebred Sterwins, longshot winner of the April 20 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland last time out, seeks the second graded score of his career when he faces Bahadur Cheema’s True Metropolitan and four other runners in the $150,000 Eclipse Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine June 7.
Sharing a high weight of 121 with True Metropolitan, Sterwins returns to the 1 1/16-mile distance for the first time since breaking his maiden at Monmouth Park in 2006. Though that score came some time ago, it was quite a decisive one – by 10 ½ lengths in a wire-to-wire romp.
The 5-year-old Runaway Groom gelding has turned in a 6-4-3 record from 17 starts thus far. His score in the Ben Ali came as the longest price in the field; sent off at odds of 13-1, he earned his only win of the season by 3 ¼ lengths over Go Between and Sir Whimsey. Last December, he won the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds, his first victory since taking Woodbine’s Aug. 12 With Approval Stakes for trainer Malcom Pierce.
True Metropolitan, trained by Terry Jordan, enters the Eclipse after winning the May 3 George Royal Stakes at Hastings Race Course for the second year in a row. The 6-year-old gelded son of Proud and True got that 2 ¾-length win off a layup, having not raced since taking the Nov. 17 Autumn Stakes (gr. III) going 1 1/16 miles at Woodbine. In 34 starts, he has raced to victory 17 times – and has 14 stakes scores to his credit, four of them grade III events.
The rest of the field will be hard-pressed to come near those two, but should James and Alice Sapara’s Good and Lucky return to winning form, the 5-year-old Wild Rush gelding might stand a chance. Running for trainer Josie Carroll, he finished 11th in the May 25 Connaught Cup (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles after finishing fourth in the Bill Hartack Memorial (gr. III) at Hawthorne. Prior to those starts, the Carroll trainee had back-to-back wins in a Fair Grounds allowance event and in the Gulf Coast Classic Stakes at Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino, both at the 1 1/16-mile distance.
Knob Hill Stable’s Alezzandro, a 4-year-old son of High Yield, was the winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes last year but failed to cross the wire in front in three starts since then. He ran sixth on turf in the Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine last summer, then missed winning the Ontario Derby in September as the 4 ¼-length runner-up. Most recently, he came back off a layup to run sixth in the seven-furlong Vigil Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine May 19.
Torquay, owned and trained by Nickolas De Toro, was ninth in the Vigil after taking the winter off as well. The 6-year-old Deputy Commander gelding won the 1 ¾-mile Valedictory Stakes at Woodbine last December after taking a 1 1/16-mile allowance event there by 3 ½ lengths, climbing from the claiming ranks for those scores. From 26 starts, he has a 6-3-3 record.
Gallagher's Stud's Bestowed, trained by Michael Dickinson, transitions from turf (his last effort was a third in a turf allowance) back to Polytrack for the second time in 16 starts. In his last trip off turf, he finished second by 2 3/4 lengths in last September's Presque Isle Downs Mile.
$150,000 Eclipse Stakes (gr. III, race 6, approximate post 3:38 p.m.), 1 1/16 miles for older horses, all weather track
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Alezzandro, 119, Jono Jones
2. Torquay, 119, Eurico Rosa Da Silva
3. True Metropolitan, 121, James McAleney
4. Sterwins, 121, Patrick Husbands
5. Good and Lucky, 115, Emile Ramsammy
6. Bestowed, 115, Emma-Jayne Wilson