Melmich, bred by Andy Stronach, put in a powerful performance to capture Sunday's Grade 3 $153,000......
Melmich, bred by Andy Stronach, put in a powerful performance to capture Sunday's Grade 3 $153,000 Valedictory Stakes, the final stakes event of Woodbine’s 2015 thoroughbred season.
It was a dominating 10 1/4-length score for Melmich in the season-closing 1 3/4-mile marathon, stopping the clock in a track record 2:55.81, eclipsing the 2:57.62 set by Eagle Poise in the 2011 edition of the Valedictory.
Watch the Valedictory Stakes
Trained by Kevin Attard for owners Stephen Chesney and Cory S. Hoffman, Melmich has now won eight of 11 starts for his new connections including a smart score in the Elgin Stakes, on September 2, which earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.
The four-year-old Wilko
chestnut arrived at the 1 3/4-mile marathon from a two-length score in the Valedictory prep, on November 5, over rival Pender Harbour.
Royal Son and 2013 Queen’s Plate champion Midnight Aria set the pace in the Valedictory reaching the half in a swift :48.89 as Melmich, expertly handled by Eurico Rosa da Silva, tracked from third position. Da Silva urged Melmich into contention down the back straight and rallied three-wide through the final turn to take the lead, opening up at will for a visually impressive score. Patrioticandproud closed to be second, 2 1/2-lengths in front of a rallying Pender Harbour.
Da Silva, a runaway leading rider at the 133-day meet, was thrilled with the effort.
“He’s amazing,” da Silva said. “I worked this horse coming into the race, he was feeling great. He was very, very sharp. He was ready to run. He was galloping all the way. I could have gone way faster. I didn’t want to push him too hard.”
Though small in stature, the gelding had no problem stretching out to 1 3/4-miles.
"His heart is bigger than him," said da Silva.
The Valedictory marked the final career start of seven-year-old Pender Harbour, who captured two-thirds of the Canadian Triple Crown in 2011 taking the Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes after a third-place run in The Queen’s Plate.
Melmich has now earned $340,296 while improving his career record to 9-5-1 from 20 starts.
He's the fourth graded winner since 2014 for Wilko
-edited from www.woodbineentertainment.com