Dragon Bay takes the Eclipse Stakes at Woodbine in May

Dragon Bay takes the Eclipse Stakes at Woodbine in May

Michael Burns

Can'thelpbelieving, Dragon Bay Duel in Nijinsky Stakes

Eclipse Stakes winner Dragon Bay will stretch out in the Nijinsky.

Can'thelpbelieving, second last time out in the United Nations Stakes (G1T), leads a short field of five signed up to travel 10 furlongs on the Woodbine turf in the $175,000 Nijinsky Stakes (G2T) July 29.

An Irish-bred son of Duke of Marmalade, Can’thelpbelieving won the Cliff Hanger Stakes (G3T) last summer by daylight. He grabbed the lead late in the U.N. after he made a strong move from mid-pack and was steadied, but was caught late by Bigger Picture and lost by just a head. He has shown enough speed to race close in what looks like a relatively paceless contest.

Dragon Bay will stretch out, and has never gone the distance. He is coming off a sixth-place run in the King Edward Stakes (G2T) at Woodbine a month ago at a mile, and won the Eclipse Stakes (G2) two back over the Tapeta main track at 1 1/16 miles. Last fall he took the English Channel Stakes over soft going at Belmont Park at a flat mile. He, too, should be attending the pace. It is only a question of his kick being effective at the trip.

The top pair stand out considerably over the rest. Bangkok won the Valedictory Stakes (G3) on the Woodbine Tapeta late last year but stopped badly in the Singspiel Stakes (G3T) last time out, after he hit the gate at the start. Other than those two races, he has spent the last couple of years in allowance or claiming company.

Tour de Force is a lightly raced 4-year-old making his stakes debut. He is coming off a front-running optional-claiming allowance score and his best chance here would seem to be to make the lead and get brave. He will go a furlong longer in the Nijinsky than in his allowance win.

Pumpkin Rumble has gone a long time between drinks. He was soundly defeated by Bangkok two starts back. He does shorten up from a third-place finish in the Singspiel going 12 furlongs, in which he had the lead before weakening.

Entries: Nijinsky S. (G2T)

Woodbine, Saturday, July 29, 2017, Race 6

  • Grade IIT
  • 1 1/4m
  • Turf
  • $175,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 3:39 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Can'thelpbelieving (IRE)James Graham119H. Graham Motion1/1
22Dragon Bay (KY)Gary Boulanger123Stuart C. Simon5/2
33Pumpkin Rumble (PA)Jesse M. Campbell117Kevin Attard10/1
44Bangkok (ON)Emma-Jayne Wilson119W. Phillip Gracey4/1
55Tour de Force (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduatePatrick Husbands117Mark E. Casse6/1