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