Sky Conqueror saves it for stretch

RICHARD MAUNTAH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:15 AM ET

Sky Conqueror made his name by winning the inaugural Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf last year.

Yesterday, he defended his title with a strong stretch performance that left no doubt he is king of Canada's turf horses.

Ridden for the first time by last year's Eclipse Award-winning jockey, Edgar Prado, Sky Conqueror was placed near the back of the pack behind a slow pace being set by French Beret. He continued to track behind the pace well into the final turn as Last Answer took the lead briefly.

In the stretch, Jambalaya seized control, but Sky Conqueror strided powerfully in the middle of the course to grab the lead with an eighth-of a mile to go and pull away to the win in 2:272/5 for the mile and a half.

"He knows the course," Prado said. "I was a very lucky passenger the whole way around. He was very happy at the back of the pack. Every time I asked him for something he responded right away. I didn't whip him. I just showed him the whip a couple of times at the top of the stretch and he just took off."

The five-year-old son of Sky Classic made a significant impact in the U.S. earlier this year when he captured the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day. He now has seven victories and the $420,000 winner's share of yesterday's purse boosted his career earnings over $1.8 million.

Finishing second after a strong rail run was Marsh Side.

Prado also captured the $300,000 Dance Smartly Stakes aboard Masseuse, who edged May Night in the 11/8-mile race. Canada's 2006 horse of the year, Arravale, faded to last in the six-horse field after setting most of the pace.

She's Indy Money, with Garrett Gomez aboard, won the $125,000 Ontario Matron Stakes. Gangster, with Todd Kabel up, captured the $125,000 Bold Venture Stakes.


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