Front-running Kara's Orientation teamed with jockey Emile Ramsammy to execute a perfect theft of the $252,675 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-IIT) (VIDEO) on a damp Woodbine course Aug. 21.
Max Berketa and Pinnacle Racing's Kara's Orientation opened up a huge advantage over his four rivals on the backstretch at odds of 7-1 and was uncatchable in the lane, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Smart Bid under steady handling.
"He was a little aggressive, a little strong with me in post parade,” Ramsammy said. “We had a hard time with him, but then we finally got him settled in and it worked out well.”
Steven Chircop trains the winning 4-year-old son of Orientate out of the Saros mare Crissy Aya. The dark bay/brown colt was bred in Kentucky by Stewart L. Armstrong.
Kara's Orientation completed the 1 1/4-mile race in 2:04.87 over a turf course rated "good." He led by as many a 17 1/2 lengths while posting reserved quarter-mile fractions of :25.78, :48.54, and 1:12.69. The lead dwindled to eight lengths at the quarter pole as Smart Bid and Hailstone made a vain attempt to draw closer. Smart Bid, ridden by Edgar Prado, got to within four lengths at mid-stretch but ran out of time while finishing all-out.
“I was very concerned early on,” Chircop said. “I wanted him in front by about three or four lengths in a perfect world. To see him open up like that, you’re kind of wondering, ‘When’s he going to stop?’ But the horse has been doing amazing.”
Smart Bid held second by a head over Hailstone, with Jesse Campbell aboard. Grassy, the 13-10 favorite, finished fourth, with Musketier trailing.
Kara's Orientation came into the race off a three-length win over a first-level allowance field at nine furlongs on the Woodbine turf July 23. Second in both the Toronto Cup at Woodbine and Northlands Park's Canadian Derby (Can-III) in 2010, he won for the third time in five races in 2011.
He earned $151,605 for the Sky Classic victory, his sixth lifetime triumph in 21 starts. He has banked $383,086.
Sent off as the second-longest shot in the small field, Kara's Orientation carried 117 pounds and paid $16.80, $6.50, and $4.10. Smart Bid, making his Woodbine turf debut for trainer Graham Motion, returned $3.60 and $3.30 as the 123-pound co-high weight with Musketier. The exacta was worth $64.80. Hailstone paid $5.30 to show.
Fifty Proof, expected to be among the favorites, was scratched by the Woodbine stewards.