Mr Ritz in ca­reer-best form

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Alex Camp­bell

ETOBICOKE, On­tario – Mr Ritz will look to win his third con­sec­u­tive start and first graded stakes in Satur­day’s Grade 3, $125,000 On­tario Derby for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on Wood­bine’s Tapeta.

Mr Ritz won the Cae­sars Stakes at In­di­ana Grand in his most re­cent start on Sept. 5, and be­fore that won an al­lowance route at Wood­bine, with both of those races hav­ing come on the turf. Trainer Josie Car­roll said she has no con­cerns about the sur­face switch for Mr Ritz, who missed by a neck in an al­lowance sprint on the Tapeta here in June.

“He broke his maiden on syn­thetic in Europe in the first race of his life,” she said. “His last work, we set him down a lit­tle bit, to see how he’d han­dle [Tapeta], and he put in a re­ally good work on it. He cer­tainly de­serves the shot to try it. At this time of year, it’s dif­fi­cult to find straight 3-year-old races.”

Mr Ritz’s form has im­proved in each start since adding blink­ers in that al­lowance race on Tapeta. He earned a 73 Beyer Speed Fig­ure in that event, and has im­proved on that num­ber in his two sub­se­quent starts, earn­ing a life­time top of 90 in the Cae­sars Stakes.

The On­tario Derby is race 3 on a card that also in­cludes the Grade 1 Cana­dian In­ter­na­tional and Grade 1 E.P. Tay­lor Stakes.

KEY CON­TENDERS

Mr Ritz, by Oasis Dream Last 3 Bey­ers: 90-83-73

◗ He set a slow pace be­fore draw­ing clear of the field in the one-mile Cae­sars Stakes. He’s shown speed in his last two starts, and can also sit off the pace if needed.

◗ Jockey Eurico Da Silva, who was in the irons for Mr Ritz’s run­ner-up fin­ish in June, will be back aboard in the On­tario Derby. Since the start of the 2017 sea­son, Da Silva and Car­roll have won 9 of 14 races to­gether, in­clud­ing six stakes. Strike Me Down, by Tapit Last 3 Bey­ers: 82-77-83

◗ He re­turns to stakes com­pany for the first time since fin­ish­ing fourth in the Queen’s Plate back on June 30.

◗ He won his maiden in his first start of 2018 back in May, and has crossed the line sec­ond in three of his last four starts.

Lookin to Strike, by Lookin At Lucky Last 3 Bey­ers: 85-67-84

◗ He ap­pears to be the likely pace­set­ter fol­low­ing a win against sec­ond-level al­lowance com­pany over 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 9.

◗ He’s run his best races in his last two starts on Tapeta, both of which re­sulted in wins.

Curlin’s Honor, by Curlin Last 3 Bey­ers: 77-83-87

◗ He fin­ished fifth be­hind Mr Ritz in in the Cae­sars Stakes at In­di­ana Grand, but may have been com­pro­mised by the slow pace in that event.

◗ His last vic­tory came on this sur­face in the Wood­stock Stakes over six fur­longs back in May. He earned an 89 Beyer Speed Fig­ure in his gate-to-wire score in that start.

LINSCOTT PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Mr Ritz en­ters the On­tario Derby off a score in the Cae­sars Stakes at In­di­ana Grand.

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