10/19/2014 4:55PM

Hillstar proves best in Canadian International

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Michael Burns
The English invader Hillstar proved best in the field Sunday, winning the Canadian International at Woodbine by three-quarters of a length.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Hillstar, the favored English invader, held off a charging Big Blue Kitten to capture Sunday’s $1 million Canadian International, from which morning-line favorite Brown Panther was scratched after getting loose in the warmup just prior to the 1 1/2-mile event.

Hillstar, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, bided his time in fifth on the backstretch, about four lengths off moderate middle fractions set by Reporting Star. Hillstar made a three-wide bid into contention on the far turn and opened up a clear lead inside the eighth pole before holding on for a three-quarter-length score, in 2:29 over the good ground.

It was the second straight win in the Canadian International for Ryan Moore, who rode Joshua Tree to victory last year. After the scratch of Brown Panther, Moore said he simply rode Hillstar like he was the best horse in the Grade 1 race.

“He jumped the gates good and landed in a nice position,” Moore said. “He was very relaxed, very comfortable all the way around. With Brown Panther out of the way, he was pretty clear on figures. He had a big class edge on the whole field, and it was just a matter of being in the right spot and keeping it straightforward. I moved a bit too early, but he was the best horse. He idled and changed leads 100 yards out.”

In his first start with Lasix, Hillstar ($4.50) earned $600,000 for owner Sir Evelyn De Rothschild, who said the 4-year-old son of Danehill Dancer would not start again this year.

Big Blue Kitten, the 5-2 second choice from New York, finished two lengths clear of the Woodbine-based 13-1 shot Dynamic Sky. Competing the order of finish were The Pizza Man, Suntracer, Reporting Star, War Dancer, Pyrite Mountain, and O’Prado Ole.

Due to the scratch of Brown Panther, $192,707 was refunded on the race.