If Tone Broke doesn’t race again at Woodbine, he left local fans with quite a lasting memory.
The three-year-old colt was all heart and no quit in winning the $400,000 Breeders Stakes on Saturday. It was his first race ever on grass, and it was his second win in the Canadian triple crown series, which should be enough to secure the Sovereign Award as Canada’s top three-year-old mare.
Ridden by Rafael Hernandez, it looked for a time like he would not be a factor in the race. After rearing up once the gate opened and getting off slowly, Tone Broke did settle nicely into a tracking spot as Rising Star took the lead for the first part of the 1½-mile race over a soft turf course. As the field approached the top of the stretch, race favorite Avie’s Flatter was the one to take initiative and move towards the front. At the three-eighths pole, Tone Broke looked beat.
But once Hernandez was able to get his colt to the outside, he found a second win, grinding away at the lead Avie’s Flatter built up and pulling away the end to win by 1½ lengths. He’s a Macho Man, who along with Avie’s Flatter is trained by Josie Carroll, took second in the final strides.
“He gave me a hard time to relax him, but by the first furlong he was relaxed good,” Hernandez said. “I was okay all the way, just at the three-eighths I had to wait, you know, I was stuck there.”
“I tried to move out a little bit and the six-horse (Pay for Peace) didn’t give up, he stayed there. I got a big horse, he’s got a big heart, I thought I could move a little bit and it would be okay, but he never gave up and stayed there.
“It’s a good thing we have a long stretch. All you have to do is be patient. I used my patience and as soon as I put him clear, he did the rest. He has a big heart.”
“It looked like it was going to be a replay of the Queen’s Plate a little where he didn’t want to relax early and Raffi got him to relax and everything went smooth,” Darren Fleming, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We had a little traffic trouble and my heart was pumping in the turn, but luckily Tone Broke was talented enough to overcome it.”
A son of Broken Vow bred in Ontario by Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry, Tone Broke finished third in the Plate before his Prince of Wales win. Prior to that he won his first two races in Oklahoma and earlier this year, competed in Dubai. The Ontario bred has shown ability on all three surfaces so it will be interesting to see how his career path goes as he returns to the U.S.
It was the third win for Hernandez in the Breeders. He rode Camp Creek to win the 2016 running and Channel Maker the following year.
Fair Maiden turned heads in Chicago with a 14-length maiden win at Arlington Park last month. But her sparkling 7 ½-length win in the $100,000 Catch a Glimpse Stakes established her as one serious horse.
The two-year-old filly, ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, sat behind unbeaten race favorite Fast Scene early in the 6 ½-furlong turf race. Fair Maiden took command early in the stretch and pulled away impressively from there.
“She is all class,” Wilson said. “To have a juvenile come from Arlington, another racetrack, and take it all in as professionally as she did is very impressive.”
“She’s always shown she’s a little bit better than the rest of them,” trainer Eoin Harty said of the Godolphin-trained filly. “She is something special.”
“She was impressive breaking her maiden against the boys and I was very confident here today.”
There is a possibility she returns to Woodbine on Sept. 15 for the Natalma Stakes.