Ridden by Edgar Prado for trainer Graham Motion, Messi took the lead at about the three-quarter-mile mark of the 1 1/4-mile turf stakes and won by 2 1/2 lengths over Are You Kidding Me, who took the Eclipse Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine in May. Up With the Birds, who captured the Nijinksy Stakes (Can-IIT) in his last start in late July, was another 1 3/4 lengths behind in third.
Messi, who paid $10.20 to win as the third choice in a field of seven, covered the distance in 2:00.89 on a course rated firm. It was the sixth career victory for Messi, who began his North American campaign in the summer of 2015 with back-to-back wins in allowance company in New York. He was a minor stakes winner in his native Germany.
Messi, a 6-year-old gelding by New Approach out of the Dashing Blade mare Messina, won the Knickerbocker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park last fall. In his only other starts this year, he finished third in two grade III turf stakes: the Fort Marcy at Belmont and the Arlington Classic.