Six-year-old cruises to Canadian International win

RICHARD MAUNTAH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:34 PM ET

There was no traffic trouble for Champs Elysees yesterday and there won't be any for him ever again.

The 6-year-old veteran captured the $2-million Canadian International, but instead of taking the "win and you're in" ticket to the Breeders' Cup Turf, he is being retired by owners Juddmonte Farm for stallion duty.

"We have too many arrangements made for the horse's future," Juddmonte's Lexington, Ky.-based racing manager Garrett O'Rourke said. "The arrangements were made even on the assumption he would win."

Unlike the Northern Dancer Turf three weeks ago when jockey Garrett Gomez had to check sharply to avoid being checked into the rail midway through the stretch, Gomez held Champs Elysees well back for much of the 11/2-mile turf event.

Approaching the top of the stretch, Gomez swung his mount to the outside and made his charge, eventually running down pacesetter Marsh Side and Buccellati, then catching Jukebox Jury to finally take charge with 40 yards left in the race.

"He's a horse who's got a lovely, gradual acceleration," O'Rourke said.

The victory gives the Bobby Frankel-trained son of Danehill a record of six wins in 28 career starts and earnings of nearly $3 million.

HORSE OF YEAR?

Champs Elysees captured last year's Northern Dancer and was third in last year's International.

Having made his previous four starts at Woodbine, he also is eligible for a Sovereign Award and should capture the prize for top male turf horse with a legitimate shot at horse of the year.

Champs Elysees was sent off as the 5-2 favourite in the field of eight. But favourite-players were shocked in the $1-million E.P. Taylor Stakes when 44-1 longshot Lahaleeb charged in the stretch to score a 13/4-length victory.

Ridden by William Buick, the Mick Channon-trained 3-year-old filly came into the Taylor having finished off the board in four of her previous five starts. But her rider noticed the improvement when she came to Woodbine.

"She'd had a long year back home I rode her on this track two days ago and I knew she was in great form," Buick said.

Field Commission with Julien Leparoux aboard, captured the $500,000 Nearctic Stakes. The Danny Vella-trained 4-year-old colt raced comfortably along the rail for the early part of the six-furlong race before moving outside in the stretch, finding room at the eighth-pole, and exploding to the lead.

Field Commission qualified for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in Santa Anita in early November.

RICHARD.MAUNTAH@SUNMEDIA.CA


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