The one-length win Sunday was the first graded score for Gigantic Breeze, who entered off a four-length win in the Presque Isle Mile Stakes. Before that Sept. 17 race, the Alexander McPherson trainee ran third in the Seagram Cup Stakes (G3) and second in the Dominion Day Stakes (G2) —both races at Woodbine won by Melmich.
"There's no doubt in my mind that every race is better than the preceding one, especially now," McPherson said. "He's been on an upward (swing) right from his first start this year. He's improved, like visually. Every race is better than the one before. I mean, Melmich is a really good horse. He's a good, good horse."
In the 1 1/16-mile Autumn Stakes, Western Reserve took the early lead in the field of five with Tale of the Nile stalking closely in second. Gigantic Breeze and jockey Gary Boulanger raced along unhurried early from fourth and began inching up after a half-mile, while Melmich raced in fifth. Western Reserve set fractions of :24.96, :49.20, and 1:12.72 through six furlongs.
Making his move from the rear of the field, favored Melmich was sent five wide around the final turn. Gigantic Breeze secured a narrow lead at the top of the stretch as Western Reserve and Tale of the Nile began to fade. Melmich made a final try for the lead, as he lugged in under jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva, but was no match for Gigantic Breeze. The final time was 1:42.38 over the synthetic track.
Western Reserve held on for third, with Tale of the Nile in fourth. Dragon Bay completed the order in fifth.
"I had in my mind, I was going to park him in behind a couple of horses and get him just to sit there as long as I wanted to, and move when I thought it was time to go. Whatever the pace was, he was going to tell me how fast or slow it was," Boulanger said.
"He showed a tremendous turn of foot in the Presque Isle and he's always showed me a lot of talent. He's just gotten better with every race. (McPherson's) done a great job with him and he's been a tremendous trip to ride. Everything he's asked him to do, he's done. He's just gotten better every race."
Bred by Stan Dodson in Ontario, out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixie and a Breeze, Gigantic Breeze improved his record to 6-1-1 from 17 starts, for earnings of $380,143.