I Thee Wed Wins Nearctic Calvary Charge

(from Woodbine report)
Pin Oak Stable's I Thee Wed, the second-longest shot on the board, captured the $282,750 Nearctic Handicap (Can-II) for turf sprinters Sunday at Woodbine.

Piloted by Jim McAleney, the chestnut 4-year-old gelded son of Affirmed chased down a stubborn Chris's Bad Boy in the stretch in a time of 1:09.36 for the six furlongs on good going.

After a half in 44.98 seconds, I Thee Wed, under a smart ride by McAleney, was part of a calvary charge to the wire that included favourite Hour of Justice, previously unbeaten at the distance, and Dalavin. I Thee Wed prevailed by a neck.

"I thought I was going to run out of ground, but the wire was far enough away," said McAleney, who picked up his first Nearctic crown. "The horse was storming home quick enough that we got there.

"There was a lot of speed in the race today and I had this horse down on the inside. (The turf) just seemed a little looser on the inside. He was having trouble, so I sat and waited and decided I'd tip him out at the top of the stretch and if he was going fast enough, we'd get there."

By capturing the Nearctic and its $169,650 first-place prize, I Thee Wed, who carried 113 pounds, notched his first stakes win and second consecutive triumph to fashion a record of four victories and two thirds from eight 2004 starts. He had one win in 2003.

"It looked like a tough race, but I thought he was on the top of his game," said conditioner David Bell, who saddled Victorious Ami to a win in Saturday's Princess Elizabeth Stakes. "If it set up for him, it set up for him – and it did.

It was McAleney's sixth stakes win of the season

I Thee Wed, sent off at 26-1, returned $55.40, $21.70 and $6.80 and paired with Chris's Bad Boy ($6.90, $4.00) for a $386.30 exacta. Hour of Justice ($2.50) completed a healthy $1,565.50 trifecta.

(Chart, Equibase)