Stacked Deck wins the Kennedy Road Stakes.

Stacked Deck wins the Kennedy Road Stakes.

Michael Burns

Stacked Deck Excels in Kennedy Road Victory

First Samurai gelding was coming off a troubled run in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.

Coming off a disappointing 10th-place finish in the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT), Bruce Lunsford's homebred Stacked Deck was back in his sweet spot Nov. 22, on the Woodbine synthetic main track.

A winner in four of six tries over the Woodbine synthetic entering the dayincluding his lone graded score in the Bold Venture Stakes (Can-III) Sept. 13the 4-year-old First Samurai  gelding trained by Barbara Minshall excelled again at the Canadian racetrack, nearly setting a track record in his $200,000 Kennedy Road Stakes (Can-II) score.

With jockey Luis Contreras aboard, Stacked Deck tracked dueling leaders Rexton and Paso Doble, and blew by on the outside at the top of the stretch to win the six-furlong sprint in 1:08.34 (the track record is 1:08.16, held by Essence Hit Man), 2 3/4 lengths ahead of closing Passion for Action . Goodoldhockeygame also closed late to finish third, three-quarters of a length back.

"He didn't break that great, the turf was a little soft and he kinda got bucked at the break (in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint). It just didn't' work out," Minshall said. "He came back in good order coming out of that race, so we took a shot here and I was really happy the way he trained into this. When I saw him in the paddock, I knew he was on his game."

Off as the 5-2 second choice, the winner paid $7.30, $4.70, and $3.70 across the board. Passion for Action, a 27-1 longshot, brought $15.90 and $11, while Goodoldhockeygame delivered $6.20 to show.

Bye Bye Bernie and Copperplate finished in a dead heat for fourth, followed by Rexton, Excaper, favored Calgary Cat, Summation Time, Glenville Gardens, and Paso Doble, to complete the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky, out of the Smart Strike mare Bel Air Beauty, Stacked Deck now has a 7-0-3 record from 17 starts with $401,577 in earnings.