Pink Lloyd Back On Track In Sunday’s Vigil Stakes

Entourage Stable’s Pink Lloyd, Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year, returned to form with a powerful stretch run to defend his title in Sunday’s $150,000 Grade 3 Vigil Stakes, at Woodbine.

Trained by Robert Tiller, the six-year-old Old Forester-Gladiator Queen chestnut reeled off a remarkable 11-race win streak at Woodbine that spanned from April 15, 2017 with a score in the Jacques Cartier Stakes through June 3, 2018 when taking the Achievement Stakes.  Graded stakes wins through that period came in the Grade 3 Vigil and Grade 2 Kennedy Road as Pink Lloyd picked up year-end honours as champion Sprinter, Older Horse and Horse of the Year.

However, last time out, Pink Lloyd burst quickly out of the gate and got caught up in a speed duel with Boreal Spirit before fading to third in the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton Stakes won by a last-to-first Kingsport. In the days following that effort, Tiller noted that Pink Lloyd spiked a temperature.

On Sunday, Pink Lloyd showed remarkable constitution, digging in gamely late in the turn to reel in a front-running Yorkton with powerful strides.

“Last time, I take the blame. I made a bad decision,” noted da Silva. “He broke so sharp and I was very confused if he broke through the door or not. In that split second, I lost my focus. I told Bob (Tiller) I take full responsibility. I went to the lead with a horse that was a speed ball.”

On Sunday, a professional Pink Lloyd relaxed behind rivals as the multiple stakes winner and graded stakes placed Yorkton set a strong pace of :22.11 and :44.93 with Jacks Escarpment stalking from second position.

Pink Lloyd, travelling well from the outside post in a field of six, was urged into contention late in the turn and swept by the field for a two-length win. Yorkton held second by 2 1/4-lengths over Jacks Escarpment. Pink Lloyd covered six furlongs in 1:09.26.

“This horse, he’s a super horse. He was running relaxed. In the turn, it was over. When you need him, he’s there for you,” said da Silva, who took the G2 Royal North Stakes earlier on the card with Way to Versailles. “The post position really helped. But, he was very quiet inside the gate today. He was very relaxed. I want to thank the gate crew, they are wonderful people and always do their best for us.”

Tiller considered skipping the Vigil Stakes following Pink Lloyd’s post-Shepperton illness.

“Two days after the race he hit 102.1 and a normal temperature for a horse is 99.9,” noted Tiller. “We weren’t really going to run him in this race, but he was so good this week that we had to run him.

“He’s a joy and we’re blessed to have him. He’s a great gift from God,” continued Tiller. “We love him, and I want to thank my barn and Rafael Sanchez (exercise rider). We changed his training this week and I believe that had a lot to do with his gate antics. He was more relaxed today.”

Pink Lloyd, bred in Ontario by John Carey, banked $90,000 in victory while improving his record to 15-1-1 from 18 career starts.

He paid $2.80 and $2.10, combining with Yorkton ($5.40) for a $12.60 (6-1) exactor. A 6-1-4 trifecta (Jacks Escarpment) was worth $37.60, while a $1 Superfecta [6-1-4-3 (Circle of Friends)] came back $55.05. There was no show wagering.

Way to Versailles arrived in the final stride to collar Smiling Causeway in Sunday’s $175,000 Grade 2 Royal North Stakes, at Woodbine.

Trained by Kevin Attard and patiently piloted by Eurico Rosa da Silva, the four-year-old daughter of Tizway provided owner Mahamoud Pootoolal with his first stakes win with a narrow nose score in the six-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares three-years-old and upwards.

Kasuga and Will She set a rapid pace in the Royal North marking off splits of :22.42 and :44.59 with Smiling Causeway and Lull, the 6/5 mutuel favourite, stalking their early foot.

Smiling Causeway, under Daniel Centeno, and Way to Versailles shifted into gear through the turn to take command as the field reached the top of the lengthy E.P. Taylor Turf Course with Lull and Jennifer Lynnette attempting to cut into their lead. Smiling Causeway dug in bravely but the wide-travelling Way to Versailles persevered to the wire to prevail by the smallest of margins.  Lull stayed on for third, a further 2 1/2-lengths back.  Way to Versailles stopped the clock in 1:08 flat over a firm turf course.

Often a pace presence through her strong 2017 campaign when posting a record of 2-2-1 from seven starts, Way to Versailles has now earned back-to-back scores with rallying efforts.

“She was very happy coming from behind. She was running very relaxed and she was there for me when I needed her. She’s a wonderful filly,” said da Silva.

Da Silva was pleased with how Way to Versailles responded to his instructions en route to her first career stakes scores.

“Last time, she showed a lot of speed and I took back. Today, she showed speed if I wanted to be a little closer to the race. She’s there for you. She’s a wonderful filly and runs very focused,” said da Silva.

Attard was full of praise for both while notching his first Woodbine stakes win of the meet.

“Eurico rides her well. We got her to relax this year and she’s been a little more versatile than she normally is. It seems to be working fine,” said Attard.

Bred in Florida by Farm III Enterprises LLC, Way to Versailles banked $105,000 in victory while improving her record to 4-2-1 from 10 career starts.

Way to Versailles paid $21.20, $9.30 and $4.40. She combined with Smiling Causeway ($4.50, $2.70) for a 6-4 exacta worth $77.50. Lull ($2.30) completed the 6-4-8 trifecta, which paid $260.30. Jennifer Lynnette, the 2017 Royal North champ, rallied for fourth to complete a $1 Superfecta of 6-4-8-10 worth $431.30.

Live racing resumes on Wednesday at Woodbine with a seven-race card. First post time is 6:45PM.

The post Pink Lloyd Back On Track In Sunday’s Vigil Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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