Yorkton made the fourth start of his season the most memorable of his career, notching his first added-money score in taking Saturday’s $125,000 Queenston Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Stuart Simon for owner-breeder Chiefswood Stable, the Speightstown bay came into the seven-furlong event off a third-place finish in the Woodstock Stakes to Queenston mutuel favourite Lokinforpursemonee.
Prior to the Queenston, Yorkton finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in two efforts at Gulfstream Park, one contested on the dirt and the other on the Hallandale oval turf.
Sent to post as the 5-2 second choice today, Eurico Rosa da Silva immediately sent Yorkton to the front in the field of eight and was never threatened through splits of :23.26 and :46.40 en route to a widening 3 ½-length triumph. Sailing Home dug in to nose out Lokinforpursemonee for second. Yorkton covered seven panels in 1:22.27.
Da Silva, Woodbine’s leading rider, knew his charge would be tough to beat before the race even began.
“He’s wonderful,” said da Silva. “In this business, we all work hard to get a horse like him. I’m very, very lucky and blessed to ride a horse like this. He was running very, very relaxed. He ran a relaxed race. When I turned for home, I just kicked and he exploded home. I have a lot of faith in this horse. He was very relaxed in every way and inside the gate. He ran wonderfully.”
Simon was pleased to see Yorkton thrive after the pair of tough efforts in Florida that kicked off his three-year-old campaign.
“He bled a little on us in his first start (a sixth at 6 ½ furlongs on the dirt on February 12 at Gulfstream) and his second race (seventh at 7 ½ furlongs on the grass on March 11) wasn’t that bad when you look at a couple of factors that went into the race,” he said. “I don’t know if the other part is that he really likes the synthetic. He just didn’t have things go 100 per cent for him down there. We regrouped with him and thought we should get him back to where he had his success.”
For now, it appears Yorkton is somewhat of a longshot to contest Canada’s most famous horse race, the $1 million, 1 ¼-mile Queen’s Plate, slated for July 2.
“I think we just kind of made a decision that we figure he probably is a sprinter,” noted Simon. “We don’t want to discourage him and we want him to progress in the right fashion. We’ll see how things go and take it from here.”
Yorkton banked $75,000 in victory while improving his record to two wins and two thirds from seven starts.
He paid $7.10, $4.20 and $2.40, combining with Sailing Home ($4.90 $2.50) for a $28.60 (6-3) exactor. A 6-3-8 triactor (Lokinforpursemonee, $2.10) was worth $61.50. A $1 Superfecta 6-3-8-2 (Marten River) returned $112.70.