Record Setting Romp for Delegation
Photo: Michael Burns Photography
Delegation wins the Dominion Day Stakes in record time.

Delegation set the pace and never let up, taking the 61st running of the $150,000 Dominion Day Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) in record time at Woodbine on the July 1 Canada Day card.

Luis Contreras picked up his fourth win of the day on the 4-year-old Mark Casse trainee, as they led the pack through the 1 1/4-mile Polytrack test. Contreras guided Delegation through fractions of :24.51, :48.63, 1:13.34, feeling some pressure from Perfect Afleet, who eventually tired in the stretch and began to fade just as the leader shifted into high gear.

"I can feel his power in my knees," said Contreras. "It's great to ride a horse like him, he does everything."

The Gary Barber-owned son of Speightstown   was bred in Kentucky by Tom and Elizabeth Baxter out of the Sea Hero mare, Cindy's Hero.

Hitting the mile mark at 1:37.61 Delgation extended his stride, widening his lead to three lengths before crossing the wire with an impressive 9 1/4-length lead over the field. The final time of 2:01.51 set a track record, besting the previous time of 2:01.99 set by Strait of Dover in the 2012 Queen's Plate.

Casse admitted he was disappointed in Delegation's second-place finish in Woodbine's May 12 Eclipse Stakes (gr. II), and added, "Does it surprise me that he's that good and ran that well? Well, maybe a little...but when he's on his game, he can run with almost any horse in North America."

Though Alpha Bettor beat Delegation in the Eclipse Stakes, bettors had legitimate concerns about Alpha Bettor's ability to get the distance and made Delegation the 6-5 favorite. Alpha Bettor has won half his races run at 1 1/16 miles but won only once at 1 1/8 miles in five tries. He was fourth choice in the Dominion Day at 7-1. 

James Street gave chase in the stretch to finish second, and Alpha Bettor made a bid on the rail, finishing third. River Rush, Awesome Overture, Perfect Afleet, and Photo Shoot rounded out the order of finish.

The Dominion Day brought together the top four finishers in the Eclipse, which also included James Street and Perfect Afleet, who finished third and fourth, respectively. For most of the race it was a rematch of sorts: Delegation setting the pace, Perfect Afleet threatening in second, James Street and Alpha Bettor stalking in third and fourth. 

Delegation returned $4.50, $2.80, and $2.10. James Street, who was sent out at 3-1 paid $3.30 and $2.70; and Alpha Bettor paid $3.00 to show. The $2 exacta paid $15, while the $2 trifecta paid $49.80.

This second grade III win for Delegation added $85,572 to his earnings, now an accumulated $537,751 from his record of 6-3-2 from 12 starts.

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