$1M Earner Soaring Free Floats Home in Highlander

(from Woodbine reports)
Sam-Son Farm's odds-on Soaring Free did the expected Sunday at Woodbine, wiring the field in the six -furlong, $219,000 Scotts Highlander Handicap (Can-III) over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

With jockey Todd Kabel aboard the 123-pound high weight, Soaring Free established a manageable pace, getting the first quarter in :22.73 and the half in :45.62 seconds, before floating away in deep stretch to win by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:08.72.

Open Concert came on late on the outside for second, while Take Achance On Me hung on for third after pressing the early pace.

It was the third win in four starts this year for the 5-year-old homebred son of Smart Strike. With the victory, the Mark Frostad trainee became the newest member of the millionaire's club.

"He went very handily today, but he's a horse when he gets in front of the grandstand and by himself, he makes me have to work a bit. But I know he's got it," said Kabel.

Added Frostad, "He was a handful to saddle in the paddock. He was feeling very good today."

Frostad said the main goal for Soaring Free is the $1 million Atto Mile (Can-I) Sept. 19. He said he may enter a couple of seven furlong races at Woodbine prior to that.

Soaring Free became a stakes winner for the first time exactly a year ago, capturing the Nearctic Stakes on Queen's Plate day. He would go on to consecutively win two other stakes, the Ontario Jockey Club and Play the King, before giving his best race of the season, a runner-up finish in the Atto Mile, just a half-length behind Touch of the Blues.

The dark bay/brown gelding then closed out his year with a fourth-place effort in the Keeneland Turf Mile and a fifth-place finish to Six Perfections in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita. His performances were enough to earn him a Sovereign Award as Canada's top sprinter.

With Sunday's purse of $131,400, Soaring Free now boasts a career bankroll of $1,053,544.

As the 2-5 choice, Soaring Free returned $2.90, $2.40 and $2.10, combining with Open Concert ($4.30, $3.50) for a $11.10 exacta. Take Achance On Me ($4.70) completed a $66.80 trifecta.

Also at Woodbine on Queen's Plate Day Sunday, Dalavin delivered a dominating performance Sunday at Woodbine, barreling down the E.P. Taylor Turf Course stretch to take the one mile $108,000 Charlie Barley Stakes for 3-year-olds.

With Patrick Husbands in the irons, Dalavin, four-wide around the final far turn, came with a stirring rush on the outside in mid-stretch, pulling away to a decisive six-length tally over Burst of Fire and favorite Bachelor Blues in a lighting quick 1:33.02.

It was the second consecutive Charlie Barley score for Husbands, who won last year's race with Eugene Melnyk's Moonshine Hall.

"There was a lot of speed in the race and the way the race unfolded, it unfolded in my favor," said Husbands. "He left the gate relaxed and he wasn't in any trouble. When I asked him, he just kicked on. He gave me the best response any rider could ask for."

Winning trainer and co-owner Audre Cappuccitti added, "He really excelled after winning the first time on turf, but this field was a little tougher and I thought it would be a little harder. He ran great. I'm thrilled."

Dalavin, a Florida-bred gelded son of Native Regent, more than doubled his bankroll, boosting his earnings from just over $60,000 to $124,900.

Dalavin paid $15.60, $7.40 and $3.80, combining with Burst of Fire ($5.90, $3.40) for a $91.50 exacta. Bachelor Blues ($3) rounded out a $289.90 trifecta.

(Chart, Equibase)