Updated on 09/18/2011 1:34AM

Sky Conqueror reels in Last Answer near wire

Michael Burns Photo
Sky Conqueror wins the $697,800 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf Sunday at Woodbine.

Sky Conqueror ($11.20) overhauled front-running Last Answer in deep stretch to win the inaugural running of the $697,800 on Sunday at Woodbine.

Todd Kabel rode Sky Conqueror, who raced three wide among a pack of six going down the backstretch of the 1 1/2-mile marathon. Last Answer opened up a substantial lead under Emile Ramsammy and set fractions of 25.50 seconds, 50.94, and 1:16.33 over a course labeled soft.

Jambalaya and Sky Conqueror both commenced a rally exiting the far turn, and Sky Conqueror went best in the final furlong, winning by a half-length in a time of 2:34.36. Jambalaya finished a clear third. He was followed in order by Shoal Water, Porfido, the 8-5 favorite Revved Up, and Pellegrino.

"When Last Answer got away, I was worried," Kabel said. "He was free-wheeling, and I had a lot of ground to make up on him. I had to bide my time, and it all worked out well. I couldn't use my horse earlier, or he would have come up empty at the eighth pole."

Said Ramsammy: "Everybody took a hold early, and I didn't want to be hung seven wide. I put him on the lead, and he was a little aggressive on the bridle all the way. He hung on well, but was just second-best."

The Northern Dancer was Sky Conqueror's first attempt beyond 1o1/4 miles, but trainer Darwin Banach said he was confident that the great-grandson of Northern Dancer would stay the trip.

"We expected him to get the distance," Banach said. "In his training, he showed us that he wanted to go far."

Owned by Bill Sorokolit, Sky Conqueror earned $420,000, which boosted his bankroll to $738,555.

The Northern Dancer was one of only four races that were run on the card, which commemorated Woodbine's 50th anniversary. The last seven inner-track races were canceled because of poor track conditions caused by heavy rain.

* Millfleet ($11.10) won Sunday's supporting feature, the $75,000 Ontario Jockey Stakes, on an easy lead, running seven furlongs over soft turf in 1:25.89 under jockey Steven Bahen.

Millfleet set slow fractions, and won by 1 1/2 lengths over a closing Raw Power. Awesome Action, favored Sophia's Prince, and Feather Bed Lane completed the order of finish. Marco Be Good was scratched from the race for Ontario-breds.

Millfleet earned $45,000 for owner Margaret Squires. It was the third stakes score in the past eight days for trainer Mike DePaulo, who also won last last Sunday's Prince of Wales Stakes with Shillelagh Slew, and then Wednesday's Deputy Minister Stakes with Bad Hat.