Owner Glen Todd pulled out all the stops in an effort to claim his first British Columbia Derby (Can-III) (VIDEO) with a three-horse entry that went off at 2-5 odds, but it wasn't enough to stop high-stepping Second City in the $200,000 event Sept. 9 at Hastings Racecourse.
Ridden by Richard Hamel, Second City eschewed his usual front-running style to come from far off the pace in the 1 1/8-mile test of 3-year-olds over the Hastings bullring. Undefeated in three previous starts by a combined 22 1/2 lengths, he won his first try at the distance by 2 3/4 lengths while timed in 1:50.94 on a fast track.
Vancouver owner Peter Redekop purchased the superbly bred Second City privately last month following a win in a seven-furlong allowance Aug. 5 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
Now trained by Craig MacPherson, the Kentucky-bred son of Distorted Humor out of the grade I winning mare Sis City won his first start for his new owner by 6 1/2 lengths in a second-level allowance heat at Charles Town Aug. 25.
The brilliant Sis City, by Slew City Slew, won the 2005 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at 3 as well as the Davona Dale (gr. II), and also captured the Demoiselle (gr. II) as a 2-year-old. She earned $795,764 in her career. Second City is her first winner from three foals.
Redekop, a longtime local owner, previously won the British Columbia Derby in 1994 with Squire Jones.
MacPherson, who took over training from Stephanie Beattie, oversaw the Darley-bred gelding since his shipment from West Virginia. Second City blew out three furlongs in :35 1/5 over the track Sept. 6 with Hamel aboard.
The trainer said he expected Second City to be prominent early.
"I was in a bit of shock," MacPherson told Daily Racing Form. "I got pretty excited when he started to pick up horses though."
The Todd entrants, Devil in Disguise, Hoist, and Taylors Deal, finished second, third, and fourth respectively, for trainer Troy Taylor. A 40-1 shot, Wilo Kat, ran fifth in the field of 11.
Todd and Taylor, the dominant owner/trainer tandem in British Columbia racing for the past several years, have been unable to nail down the province's most popular race.
Hoist, breaking from the outside under Enrique Gonzalez, took the early lead over a pulling Dougs Buddy with The Gov and High End Man stalking. Hoist set a pressured pace while recording splits of :22.56, :46.30, and 1:11.25. Second City, meanwhile, dropped back to the rear of the pack for Hamel after being slow away from the gate. But they began to pick up the tempo from next-to-last coming into the final turn and quickly advanced on the leaders while racing wide on the bend.
Second City came off the turn four wide but poised to challenge for the lead as Devil in Disguise took over from his stablemate and High End Man. Devil in Disguise, ridden by Rico Walcott, had the lead briefly but could not contain Second City, who was full of momentum in the short stretch run. Second City won going away under steady encouragement from Hamel.
"He just missed the break and then horses on his outside came over and shut him off," Hamel told Daily Racing Form. "He seemed comfortable back there, and I didn't want to force the issue. He started picking up horses at the three-eighths pole, and I figured I better start looking for a place to go with him. I had a lot of horse, so I just went wide."
In addition to his Charles Town wins, Second City began his career with a maiden claiming win July 12 at Penn National Race Course.
Under equal weights of 126 pounds, Second City paid $13.80, $3.60, and $4.30 as the second betting choice behind the entry. The entry paid $2.10 and $2.10. The exacta was worth $26.40 while the $1 trifecta with Wilo Cat returned $176.70.
Italian Boy was scratched by the track veterinarian after flipping in the paddock, and Mysterious Soul was also scratched.