Hillsbrook Farms' homebred Camp Creek, supplemented for $12,500 off of his maiden victory, rallied from well off the pace to upset the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes for 3-year-old Canadian-breds Aug. 21 at Woodbine.
The Breeders' Stakes is the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. The series, which includes the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate and 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales, had three different winners this year.
Trained by Rachel Halden and ridden by Rafael Hernandez, Camp Creek broke his maiden July 15 at Woodbine in his turf debut. Bred in Ontario by Hillsbrook's Garland Williamson, the gelding by Dunkirk out of the Storm Boot mare Go Go Neigh appears to appreciate longer distances; he won his first race at 1 1/8 miles and had no issue with the 1 1/2 miles of the Breeders' Stakes.
Scholar Athlete was the one to catch for about 1 1/4 miles, as the Einstein gelding set an easy pace of :25.70 for the first quarter-mile, :50.85 for a half-mile, 1:16.28 for six furlongs, and 1:40.48 for one mile with Niigon's Edge and Gotta Get Away in pursuit. Scholar Athlete held tough in the lane—he ended up fourth—but gradually gave way to Amis Gizmo and Sir Dudley Digges with about an eighth of a mile to go.
Amis Gizmo, winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes, had dead aim in the stretch but flattened out to finish sixth as the second choice behind favored Conquest Daddyo, who made up some ground late but checked in fifth. Queen's Plate winner Sir Dudley Digges split horses in the stretch and emerged with a one-length lead but couldn't hold of Camp Creek, who blew by to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 2:29.45 on a course rated firm.
Sir Dudley Digges, who rebounded from a disappointing effort in the Prince of Wales, finished second, fourth lengths ahead of Leavem in Malibu. Camp Creek paid $55.30 to win, and the exacta with Sir Dudley Digges returned $526.80.
"He broke good," Hernandez said of Camp Creek, who raced on the anti-bleeding medication furosemide, commonly called Lasix, for the second time in a row. "He settled back a little bit. I had a little trouble in the first turn. One horse came out a little bit and he grabbed a little bit of heels, so he settled back even more and he relaxed himself. When we turned for home I put him in the clear, and after that he did everything on his own."
When asked when he thought he had the race won, Hernandez said with a laugh: "When I hit the front."
Robby Albarado, who rode Sir Dudley Digges for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker for the first time, said the Gio Ponti colt raced well.
"It was a great trip," he said. "I had to ride him a little bit early and I kind of inherited the lead on my own turning for home. He kept on but the winner ran by me with authority. It's a rare distance for these horses at this point in their career, but he handled it well."