Wayne Spalding and Faron McCubbins' Bullards Alley put on a performance of a lifetime Oct. 15 at Woodbine with an absolute romp at 42-1 odds in the $800,000 Pattison Canadian International Stakes (G1T).
The 5-year-old Flower Alley gelding snapped a 15-race winless streak dating back to May of 2016 with a 10 3/4-length victory over the rain-softened turf in Toronto. He finished off the 1 1/2-mile test in 2:34.37 for his first grade 1 win. His last win in the Louisville Handicap (G3T) came over a wet Churchill Downs turf course in 2016.
With a stalking trip in fourth early Sunday under jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva, Bullards Alley took command as the field turned for home and pulled away from the rest without any challenge.
"He ran the best race of his life ... at Churchill last year on a (wet) turf course, so we knew he liked it, but so did the Europeans and a lot of others in the field," said winning trainer Tim Glyshaw, who also won his first top-level race and third graded contest overall. "I think today he just got first jump on them, and sometimes they stay off you when you're a longshot like that. It was too late for them."
With Messi at the front of the field, and fractions of :26.58, :52.81, 1:18.98, and 1:44.52 through a mile, Bullards Alley began to make his move three-wide in the final turn.
"God help us, yesterday it rained a lot and this guy likes the wet track," da Silva said. "There we go."
Oscar Nominated, who raced in a tracking fifth for much of the trek, outfinished Flamboyant by a half-length to hit the wire second, and was followed by Idaho, Erupt, Chemical Charge, Enterprising, Postulation, Messi, and Johnny Bear, to complete the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Eugene Melnyk, out of the Kris S. mare Flower Forest, Bullards Alley now has a 6-4-6 record from 35 starts with $841,989 in earnings. Spalding purchased Bullards Alley for $11,000 out of the 2014 Fasig-Tipton summer selected horses of racing age sale.
"It blew my mind," Spalding said. "I never believed he'd run that good, but he's got the heart to do it. He just hasn't gotten a break lately and he finally got one."