TORONTO — Miami Deco earned his first career victory with a bang Sunday.
The dark bay or brown colt overtook Stormy Lord on the inside down the stretch to capture the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes as a 65-1 longshot. That surpassed last year’s winner Perfect Shower (46-1 odds) for Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield as the race’s longest-priced winner.
Miami Deco also became the first maiden to win the Breeders’ since Fair Montague did so in 1915 and emerged victorious in his first-ever race on grass. Miami Deco finished the 1 1/2-mile event in 2:34.24 on a turf course downgraded from firm to yielding following an afternoon rainstorm.
“As much respect as I have for Roger Attfield . . . I wanted to top him at 65-1,” said winning trainer Brian Lynch.
Lynch also put his money where his mouth was, saying he placed a bet on his heavy longshot but wouldn’t say how much. Then again, Lynch knows what it takes to win a Canadian Triple Crown race after conditioning Golden Moka, who won last month’s Prince of Wales Stakes.
Lynch also captured the 2006 Breeders’ Stakes, conditioning race winner Royal Challenger for Stronach Stables.
The win was the first in six career starts for Miami Deco, who came into the race with just over $19,000 in career earnings and a previous-best finish of second.
But that didn’t deter Lynch, who had long tried to convince owners Jim and Susan Hill of Calgary to pay the $12,500 supplemental fee to enter Miami Deco into the Breeders’. Lynch’s faith in Miami Deco certainly paid off as the Hills collected the $300,000 winner’s share.
“I give them (the Hills) full credit to have the faith in me to supplement a horse, a maiden, in a race like this,” Lynch said. “I just felt that this particular group, as many good horses as there were in there, probably there was no real legitimate standout.
“He’s a galloper and can gallop all day. He’s got a good, long stride and can clip along at a good gallop and then quicken up the last 3/8ths. When you’re going a mile and a half if one can sustain it and quicken up the last part you’re golden.”
Jockey Richard Dos Ramos, on Miami Deco for the first time, had his horse well off the pace for much of the race, standing eighth after a mile. But he moved up to third with a quarter-mile remaining then dipped back inside to take advantage of better footing.
The move paid off as Miami Deco sprinted past Cognashene, the 2-1 favourite, and Stormy Lead to win by three-quarters of a length.
“I stayed on the rail for most of the race until I needed some room to make a run so I moved him to the outside,” said Dos Ramos, who won his third career Breeders’ event. “But I saw the front horses drifting out so I dropped to the inside figuring it would be a little better and he just took off with me from there.
“Brian told me this horse would gallop along and I could put him anywhere I wanted and with the softer going he’d like that even more. He was absolutely right.”
Stormy Lord finished second, with Cognashene taking third. The remainder of the 13-horse field, in order of finish: Abogado, D’s Wando, Smart Sky, Born to Act, Silent Whisper, Vicar Street, Spirit Flying, Alphabet Kid, Empire Rising and Dynamic Royal. Miami Deco paid $132.10, $42 and $17.70 while Stormy Lord returned $5 and $3.80. Cognashene paid $3.
Neither Queen’s Plate champion Big Red Mike nor Golden Moka took part in the final jewel of Canadian racing’s Triple Crown.