Black Hornet Returns to Defend Vigil Title

Saturday's Vigil Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine features WinView Racing Stable's Black Hornet, returning to defend his victory in last year's edition of the seven furlong race. That win was also the Pioneering gelding's last start, which he captured by 3/4 of a length, and marked his fifth win in 18 starts.

Black Hornet has a graded stakes placing to his credit with a runner-up finish in the 2014 Nearctic Stakes (Can-IIT), but he made his name on the Woodbine main track in 2013 with wins in the Queenston, Achievement, and Kenora Stakes prior to becoming a graded stakes winner with the Vigil victory.

Regarding the long layoff, trainer Pat Parente said, "We worked him back off the Vigil and he came up with a foot bruise. The vet recommended three months off and I just opted not to bring him back."

He also talked about Black Hornet's chances in his season debut. "He notoriously usually needs a race. The first race of each year always seems to be a prep. It's just the way he runs. Hopefully this race will help him out a lot.

"He's been training since Nov. 1 in Ocala (Fla.) at Classic Mile. He ended up at Gulfstream Park around Feb. 1 and had been training there before shipping up here to start the year. He's grown and filled out real nice. He's much bigger and stronger this year than he has been."

He anticipates the winter training may help Black Hornet this time.

"He's got a lot of bottom in him. We've been going for awhile now and hopefully that helps him. Most other years, we just prepared here (at Woodbine) and he needed a race," said Parente.

Black Hornet has a trio of sharp works preparing for his first race over the newly-installed Tapeta main track, including a four-furlong effort in :46 3/5 that was ranked second of 103 works at the distance on April 30.

"He absolutely loves it," said Parente of the new surface. "He gets over it better than he was getting over the 'Poly.' (Polytrack) He just glides over it."

Black Hornet he will have a strong field to contend with in his return, including graded stakes winners Dimension and Stacked Deck.

The British-bred Dimension, trained by Conor Murphy, is no stranger to Woodbine.The son of Medicean has made six appearances in Canada topped by a 2 1/2-length score in the 2013 edition of the Play the King Stakes (Can-IIIT), a seven furlong sprint over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

The eight-year-old gelding was winless in four starts last season and was off the board in his 2016 debut, a one-mile turf allowance at Keeneland. He seeks to regain his top form in the Vigil with David Moran aboard.

Stacked Deck, Canada's champion sprinter of 2015 for owner Bruce Lunsford and trainer Barbara Minshall, will make his belated seasonal debut after scratching at the gate of the opening day Jacques Cartier Stakes. The son of First Samurai  earned a won the Kennedy Road Stakes (Can-II) to complete a successful 2015 campaign that also included a victory in the Bold Venture (Can-III). Luis Contreras will ride.

The talented field is completed by stakes winners Goodoldhockeygame, Passion for Action, and The Great War.

Entries: Vigil S. (G3)

Woodbine, Saturday, May 07, 2016, Race 8

  • Grade III
  • 7f
  • All Weather Track
  • $150,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:46 PM (local)
11Stacked Deck (KY)Luis Contreras121Barbara J. Minshall8/5
22The Great War (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAlan Garcia117Wesley A. Ward6/1
33Dimension (GB)David Moran117Conor Murphy12/1
44Goodoldhockeygame (ON)Patrick Husbands119Robert P. Tiller8/1
55Passion for Action (ON)Eurico Rosa Da Silva119Michael P. De Paulo3/1
66Black Hornet (ON)Jesse M. Campbell119Pat Parente5/2