Dragon Bay Translates Slow Pace Into Nijinsky Victory

Brent McLellan, Russell McLellan and owner/trainer Stuart Simon's Dragon Bay set a mild pace in Saturday's G2 Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine, then held off the late challenge of heavily favored Can'thelpbelieving to win by about 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. The 4-year-old son of Parading covered 1 1/4 miles on the firm turf in 2:05.58 under Gary Boulanger, giving the jockey his second win on the card.

Dragon Bay held just a half-length advantage in the early going, but had his ears pricked and was going easily in front of Pumpkin Rumble. Through fractions of :28.79, :53.46, and 1:18.25 Dragon Bay led the field, and was just challenged rounding the far turn by Pumpkin Rumble.

Heavy favorite Can'thelpbelieving was tucked in behind rivals in fourth along the rail, and jockey James Graham tried to split rivals between Dragon Bay and Pumpkin Rumble at the head of the lane. The latter kept the hole between the two very narrow, and Graham was forced to pull Can'thelpbelieving back to make his rally down the outside.

By the time Graham had clear running it was too late, and Dragon Bay had skipped clear to a 1 1/2 length victory. Can'thelpbelieving could do no better than second, and Pumpkin Rumble was able to hold third.

Bred in Kentucky by Shawhan Place, Dragon Bay was a $6,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall sale. Now a five-time winner from 18 career starts, Dragon Bay has a pair of Grade 2 wins to his credit as well as earnings of over $375,000.

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