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Stealcase Makes Grade in Ontario Derby

Stealcase surged to the lead in mid-stretch and held on strong to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Derby, Sunday at Woodbine.

The chestnut son of Lawyer Ron-Steal the Show, trained by Mark Casse for owner John C. Oxley, settled off the early pace of Gung Ho and swooped to the lead late, under Patrick Husbands, for a 1 1/4-length score.  Stealcase stopped the clock in 1:50.56.

Gung Ho, with John Velazquez in the irons, led the field into the first turn in the 1 1/8-mile 'Poly' route with Colleen's Sailor hot on his heels through an opening quarter in :24.74.  Velazquez and Gung Ho maintained their lead down the backstretch marking a half in :49.96 with Colleen's Sailor and Ultimate Destiny stalking, and River Rush tucked in along the rail in fourth position.

Any Given Royal edged into contention through the turn and took on the front-running Gung Ho as Patrick Husbands and Stealcase launched an impressive rally for the win.  Any Given Royal held on for place in front of River Rush.

Assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan was impressed with the colt's Woodbine debut following a seventh-place effort in the Grade 1 Travers and a third-place effort in the Grade 1 Haskell, after a troubled trip.

"He's had some bad racing luck," said Sullivan. "He had a really bad trip in the Haskell. He sort of fell out of the gate.  He ran so hard and for so long that day and he should have done better than third, and he did great to be third in that race. I'm really glad today that he finally got the win he deserves.”

Stealcase improved his record to three wins, a second and two thirds from 11 lifetime starts, while earning his first graded victory.

He paid $6.20, $3.30 and $2.50, combining with Any Given Royal ($4.30, $2.80) for a $23.60 (7-9) exactor.   A 7-9-2 (River Rush, $3 to show) triactor was worth $61.30 while a $1 superfecta [7-9-2-4 (Gung Ho)] came back $111.55.



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