Blurricane blew by her rivals late to spring the upset in Sunday’s $125,400 Ballade Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Martin Drexler for ownership group of Ken Lee, Dennis Mitchell, Don Bell and Gayle Bell, Blurricane was making her seasonal debut in the six-furlong Tapeta sprint. The five-year-old Rebellion bay ended her four-year-old campaign with a three-quarter length score on November 11 over the Woodbine main track.
Sent to post at odds of 14-1 in the Ballade, Blurricane, with leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva in the irons, was kept off the pace as Copper Fox and Sparkles’ Girl dueled through opening splits of :22.54 and :45.20. The duo was still one-two at the stretch call as Blurricane and da Silva, still sixth, launched a strong outside bid. The pair continued to pick off their rivals down the lane en route to a half-length triumph. Crumlin Spirit was second, while Code Warrior was third.
Blurricane covered six panels in 1:09.66.
“The trip worked wonderfully for us,” said da Silva, who swept the weekend stakes features after teaming with Yorkton to win the Queenston on Saturday. “I had tons of horse in the turn. She is a horse that runs very, very relaxed.”
The 2016 Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s top rider was also aboard for the November victory.
“Because I rode her before, I know when I make a move, she will move very, very fast,” he offered. “When I took her outside and she saw the clear, she just kicked from there.”
Drexler felt his mare had a decent shot at taking all the spoils, despite a tough field that included last year’s Ballade champ, River Maid.
“She had a really, really good spring,” he said. “We put her away a little bit earlier last year than we would have liked to. There was one spot we were looking for. Then we were looking at another spot and we decided to put her away and that she might be an Ontario-sired type horse. It worked.
“When the entries came out, I thought maybe it was a little tougher than I would have liked it to be,” continued Drexler. “But she really does overcome a lot. She’s just a little thing, but she tries.”
Blurricane, bred in Ontario by Bernard and Karen McCormack, banked $75,000 in victory while improving her record to 8-4-2 from 20 starts.
She paid $30.10, $12.30 and $7.10, combining with Crumlin Spirit ($25.50, $10.10) for a $450.50 (6-7) exactor. A 6-7-2 triactor (Code Warrior, $4.20 to show) was worth $3,266.40, while a $1 Superfecta [6-7-2-8 (Sparkles’ Girl)] came back $9,516.70.