Blue Laser, in his stakes debut for trainer Mark Casse, outlasted Rockin Heat and Classic Legacy over the long Woodbine stretch to win the $250,441 Grey Stakes (Can-III) by a half-length Oct. 10 (VIDEO).
WinStar Farm's Kentucky homebred son of Bluegrass Cat , with Corey Fraser in the irons, won for the second time in as many tries on Woodbine's Polytrack. Taking over the lead from the tiring Classic Legacy in the stretch, Blue Laser won the 2-year-old event at 1 1/16 miles in a time of 1:45.78.
Blue Laser, who is out of the With Approval mare With a Princess, defeated maidens in his previous start at one mile and 70 yards Aug. 28. The chestnut colt's first start also came at Woodbine Aug. 1 when he ran a willing third on the grass at seven furlongs.
Sent off as odds of 8-1 in the Grey, Blue Laser was wide on the first turn but found a good stalking spot in fourth while racing off the pacesetting Something Extra, who was hounded constantly by 6-5 favorite Bear's Future and Midway Train. Quarter-mile fractions were a quick :23.83, :47.34 and 1:11.89.
Classic Legacy, who had dropped back to last soon after the start for jockey Omar Moreno, made a sweeping six-wide move rounding the final turn and surged to the lead as the early leaders fell back. Classic Legacy led by two lengths mid-stretch and appeared on his way to an easy win, but after ducking in while clear, he would grudgingly yield after that.
That allowed Blue Laser, who was wide on the far turn as well, and Rockin Heat, ridden by Eurico Da Silva, to challenge. Blue Laser took a narrow lead inside the sixteenth pole and prevailed under strong urging.
"When we first got him, I communicated to Elliott Walden (of Winstar), that I thought Blue Laser was a 'boy,' but I think he's becoming a 'man'," Casse said. "He's shown a lot of determination in his last two races.
"We got hung really wide in the first turn after I had told Corey to try to get a forward position, so I wasn't too pleased going into the first turn," Casse added. "And then, down the backside, I thought Corey had moved into a good position. Then, Bob Tiller's horse (Classic Legacy) came flying by and looked like he was a winner. I hadn't even got excited, but when the leader ducked in, I came out of my seat.
"This is a very important win for them (Winstar). He's by Bluegrass Cat, their freshman sire. When we walked out of the paddock today, I said to my son Norman, 'this horse has a pedigree.' Sometimes pedigree wins."
The victory was worth $148,335 and boosted Blue Laser's earnings to $186,933
Rockin Heat, who rallied strongly on the outside after stalking the leaders into the lane, edged Classic Legacy for second by a neck. Top Pit Boss finished a half-length father back in fourth. Bear's Future, a Reade Baker-trained stablemate of the maiden Rockin Heat, finished sixth in the field of nine juveniles after tiring in the speed duel.
The winner paid $18.50, $9.50 and $4.90. Second choice Rockin Heat, runner-up in the Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) on turf in last start, returned $6.10 and $3.60 and rounded out a $63.80 exacta. Classic Legacy was $3.10 to show.
Top Pit Boss was followed by Silverleo, Bear's Future, Something Extra, Midway Train and Justice Is Served. Withdrawal was scratched by stewards.