Red Rifle secured his first stakes victory of the 2015 season when he rallied on the outside to win the $150,000Dominion Day Stakes (Can-III) July 1 atWoodbine. Watch Video
With the 1 1/4-length victory, Twin Creeks Racing Stables homebred Red Rifle ended a four-race skid that dated back to his clear victory in last year's Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II) atHawthorne Race Course. The 5-year-oldGiant's Causeway gelding bounced back from a ninth-place finish in the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes June 5 at Belmont Park.
Sent off the 2-1 favorite, Red Rifle settled in sixth under Alan Garcia, while Patrioticandproud cruised through a half-mile in :47.26, six furlongs in 1:12, and still held a clear lead through a mile in 1:36.61. But Red Rifle had launched his rally on the outside before the quarter pole, while last year's Ontario Derby (Can-III) winner Florida Wonwould soon find room inside under Patrick Husbands.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Red Rifle took command at the eighth pole and had enough to hold off Live Oak Plantation's Florida Won, completing Wednesday's 1 1/4-mile race in 2:01.93. Veteran Pender Harbour finished third, giving Canada's champion 3-year-old male of 2011 the 22nd stakes placing of his career.
Garcia, who was riding Red Rifle for the first time, said multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Pletcher gave him some good advice before the race.
"He told me let him run his race," said Garcia, who earned his meet-leading seventh stakes win at Woodbine. "(He said) If he breaks good, then go on with him. He's got a beautiful stride and can run all day long. He broke a step slow, so I said, 'let me be patient and come running.'
"Unbelievable, today, this horse. Pletcher also said if he's rating and he's happy, don't worry about what position you are in."
Red Rifle paid $6.40, $3.50, and $3, while Florida Won returned $3.80 and $3.20. Pender Harbour paid $2.70 to show.
Bred in Kentucky by Twin Creeks and Tom and Nancy Clark, Red Rifle is out of the stakes-winning Gulch mare May Night, who also has produced stakes winner Notte d'Oro, by Medaglia d'Oro .