Odds-on choice Ghost Fleet fought off the tenacious filly Jenny's So Great by a neck in an all-out stretch duel in Canada's $157,004 Swynford for 2-year-olds Sept. 13, earning his second stakes win over the Woodbine Polytrack.
Todd Kabel rode the son of Arch to victory in the seven-furlong event for breeder Mel P. Lawson's Jim Dandy Stable. Sid Attard, second-leading trainer at Woodbine this year, is the winning conditioner.
Ghost Fleet stalked pacesetter Suffoncified while racing third on the outside through early quarter-mile fractions of :22.83 and :45.48, pouncing at the top of the stretch while four wide to gain a short advantage.
Jenny's So Great, racing at the rail in fourth for Emile Ramsammy, rallied between rivals in upper stretch and fought gamely along the inside of Ghost Fleet. She trailed by a length at the furlong pole but gamely cut into the lead as Ghost Fleet prevailed in a tough battle under steady handling. The final time was 1:23.20.
“He did the job today, that’s for sure,” said Jim Lawson, son of the elder Lawson. “I talked to Todd after the race and he said when that other horse came at him, he pricked his ears and dug in in the stretch. Nice to see him run that well."
Ghost Fleet, three-for-three on Woodbine's Polytrack, captured the Vandal Stakes Aug. 9 by nearly five lengths. The dark bay colt's only loss came in his prior start, a turf allowance in which he finished sixth at Woodbine Aug. 28.
Bred in Ontario by Lawson, Ghost Fleet is out of the Housebuster mare Destroy. The Swynford victory, worth $95,955, boosted his earnings to $216,569.
“Obviously, (Destroy) is a nice mare," Jim Lawson said. "The Eternal Search (dam of Destroy) breeding is well-known to this circuit. We’re just lucky to have her. She’s a real credit to my father’s breeding program. It’s produced results, time after time.”
Other Lawson runners out of Destroy include last year’s turf Cup and Saucer winner Utterly Cool and Smokey Fire.
Sent off at odds of 3-10 while carrying top weight of 119 pounds, Ghost Fleet paid $2.70, $2.10, and $2.10. Bill and Vicki Poston's Jenny's So Great, from the Gregory de Gannes barn, returned $4.10 and $2.70. It was 5 1/2 lengths back to third-place finisher Turf Melody, $2.10 to show. Clear Turbulence and Suffoncified trailed.
“He broke good," said Attard of the winner. "When Todd called for run, he gave it to him. Greg (DeGannes) really liked his filly today. Got to give her a lot of credit. She ran a very, very good race. I think she’s going to be a really nice filly.”
In spite of the initial failure, Attard is not convinced Ghost Fleet doesn’t like the turf.
“I’d really like to try him on the grass again. I just don’t think it was his day last time. I really think he’ll like the grass.”