Colorful Judgement Surprises in Sky Classic

(from Woodbine report)
Sam-Son Farm's red and gold silks were in front as expected at the conclusion of the $275,250 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-II) Saturday at Woodbine, but the winning horse wasn't the prohibitive 3-10 favorite Strut the Stage.

Instead it was uncoupled stablemate Colorful Judgement and jockey Slade Callaghan who captured the $165,150 winner's share for Sam-Son and trainer Mark Frostad, one of four horses they entered in the 1 3/8-mile turf event.

A game Lenny The Lender, surrounded by the Sam-Son quartet throughout most of the race, fought valiantly to the wire, taking the runner-up spot in the Sky Classic for the second consecutive year.

Strut the Stage, who came into the race off a four-length victory in the Niagara Breeders' Cup Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine, finished last in the seven-horse field while carrying high weight of 123 pounds. The winning time was 2:16.19.

In his last outing, Colorful Judgement, who received nine pounds from the favorite Saturday, finished a strong second to Strut the Stage, in the Niagara on Sept. 6.

Sam-Son's Longship went straight to the lead for jockey Rui Pimentel, cutting fractions of :25.85, :51.19 and 1:15.50. After the mile was reached in 1:40.19, Lenny The Lender, along the inside swung into the long E.P. Taylor Turf Course stretch with the lead.

Colorful Judgement, under brilliant guiding from Callaghan, was able to find room along the rail down the stretch and make a late bid to best 9-1 Lenny The Lender by a neck.

"I had a perfect trip," said Callaghan, who captured his first Sky Classic crown. "The pace wasn't too bad and my horse was right up there. I stayed on the rail and saved a lot of ground. Things just went right for us today. From about the five-eighths pole, I thought I had a really good chance, but not until the sixteenth pole did I think I could win it."

"He'd run a big race in the Niagara and he's a pretty nice horse, but I am surprised, I thought Strut the Stage was going to finish first," added Frostad, who picked up his fourth victory in the Sky Classic. "But we're happy and Slade rode a great race on the horse.

"We'll assess him over the next few days," offered Frostad of Strut the Stage. "I'm sure he's fine. It's just one of those things."

Colorful Judgement, an Ontario-bred son of Diesis, could use the Sky Classic win as a springboard to the $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International (Can-I) Oct. 24 at Woodbine.

The improving chestnut gelding, making only his 11th career start, paid $13.60, $7.50 and $9.70, while Lenny the Lender returned $11.70 to place and $14.80 to show. Longship fashioned a whopping show price as well, $55.10, because Strut the Stage finished off the board.

Sam-Son's other runner, Rainbows For Luck, finished fourth.

(Chart, Equibase)