January 27, 2023

Albahr caps sublime Godolphin weekend in BC WAYI Summer

Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates after Albahr's win in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine (Photo by Michael Burns)

Albahr capped a sublime weekend for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby in Sunday’s $316,618 Summer S. (G1) at Woodbine, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). On the undercard, Diamond City broke his maiden for Mark Casse in the $102,368 Ontario Racing S.

Summer (G1)

After Saturday’s heroics by stablemates Walton Street in the Canadian International (G1) at Woodbine and Yibir in Belmont Park’s Jockey Club Derby, Appleby’s filly Wild Beauty took a star turn in Sunday’s Natalma (G1). That gave Albahr another tough act to follow, just one race later. But the Dubawi gelding came through to keep the yard’s irresistible march going as the 0.65-1 favorite.

Like Wild Beauty in the Natalma, Albahr unexpectedly found himself last out of the gate with Frankie Dettori. Unlike the troubled filly, though, Albahr was the cause of his own problem by hopping at the break. Yet he soon recovered and bagged a position in midpack.

Up front, First Empire scampered clear through splits of :23.95 and :47.93 on the good turf course. Heat Merchant and Degree of Risk pounced on the leader at the six-furlong mark in 1:12.17, but Albahr was on the move.

Ranging up on the outside, Albahr had to cope with an erratic Degree of Risk who was drifting right into him. The favorite shrugged him off and asserted by 2 1/4 lengths. If the margin was the same as Wild Beauty’s, his time for the mile was a slower 1:35.77.

The maiden Grafton Street showed belated interest to overtake Degree of Risk for runner-up honors, and First Empire retreated to fourth. Dripping Gold, the 3.90-1 second choice, backpedaled after racing in tandem with Albahr on the far turn, but came again in fifth. Next came Ready for the Lady, Luckman, Heat Merchant, and Souper Legacy.

Albahr was extending his winning streak to four, with his lone loss coming on debut. His resume of 5-4-0-1, $235,142 reflects a determined decision in the Aug. 20 Stonehenge S. at Salisbury.

The British homebred is the second major winner produced by Group 3 heroine Falls of Lora, after reigning Doncaster H. (G1) victor Cascadian. The Street Cry mare is herself a half to Group 2 scorer Master of the Seas, the near-misser in this spring’s 2000 Guineas (G1), and Group 1-placed stakes winner Latharnach.  

Ontario Racing S.

D. J. Stable’s Diamond City put it all together in his third career start in the Ontario Racing. The Casse pupil had tired to third in his first two outings at Woodbine, a six-furlong dash on turf and a seven-furlong maiden transferred to the Tapeta. Shortening up to five panels helped him work out a more beneficial stalking trip here.

With new rider Emma-Jayne Wilson, Diamond City raced a couple of lengths behind the dueling San Costantino and Feelthebeat through an opening quarter in :22.27. The Shackleford colt appeared to have their measure as they swung for home, and he duly overtook them passing the half in :45.66. Diamond City bounded 1 3/4 lengths clear in the final furlong to post :57.68 on the firm inner turf.

Silent Runner rallied for an unlucky second. Traveling well into the lane, the 5.70-1 shot was going for the gap between San Costantino and Feelthebeat, only to have the two come together. Silent Runner lost precious time and momentum having to tap on the brakes and steer around, but he regrouped for a strong finish. Another 2 3/4 lengths back in third came San Costantino, followed by Feelthebeat and first-timer This Way Out.

Diamond City, a $290,000 OBS Spring juvenile, sports a mark of 3-1-0-2, $71,341. Bred by Canvasback Thoroughbreds in Kentucky, he is out of the Tapit mare Callista, who is herself a full sister to Grade 2-placed stakes scorer Sweet Tapper and Japanese Grade 3-placed American Seed. Diamond City’s second dam is Grade 1-winning millionaire Sweet Talker.