07/29/2017 3:21PM

Dragon Bay leads the way in Nijinsky Stakes

Michael Burns
Dragon Bay paid $12.50 in winning the Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Dragon Bay ($12.50) went straight to the front and never looked back to take the $177,100 Nijinsky Stakes over 2-5 favorite Can’thelpbeliveing at Woodbine on Saturday.

With Gary Boulanger aboard, Dragon Bay set moderate fractions in the 10-furlong turf route, while being pressed by Pumpkin Rumble. Can’thelpbelieving saved ground in fourth and then awaited room in the stretch before passing Pumpkin Rumble, but he couldn’t catch Dragon Bay, who won by 1 1/2 lengths, in a time of 2:02.10.

Pumpkin Rumble wound up third, ahead of Bangkok and Tour de Force.

Dragon Bay was rebounding off a lackluster performance in the Grade 2 King Edward, and the Grade 2 Nijinsky was his first start beyond nine furlongs.

“We thought he’s a little bit better when he’s forwardly placed,” Boulanger said. “We didn’t see a whole lot of speed. I thought I was the speed of the speed.

He’s a really manageable horse. His ears were up the whole way, waiting for me to ask him. He kinda clocks horses. He made my job really easy."

A 4-year-old son of Parading, Dragon Bay banked $105,000 for the partnership of trainer Stu Simon and Brent and Russell McLellan.

“He’s been just a dream horse,” said Simon, who purchased him privately after his debut at 2.