10/14/2016 10:30AM

Stacked Deck back on turf in Nearctic Stakes

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Michael Burns
Stacked Deck (center) wins the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Stacked Deck got his 2016 campaign back on track when he captured the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes off a layoff Sept. 11. He’ll look for his second straight stakes win in Sunday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Nearctic Stakes over six furlongs on turf at Woodbine.

Heading into the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes, Stacked Deck had not raced since he finished fifth in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup on June 5. The 2015 Canadian champion sprinter had been sick over the summer and missed several weeks of training. He went straight to the lead in the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes and recorded a 1 1/4-length victory over Puntrooskie. Trainer Barb Minshall said Stacked Deck is back to his old self following the win.

“He’s in really good order,” she said. “He’s breezing great, and he’s training super. He’s definitely on his game. He’s every bit as good as he’s ever been.”

While Stacked Deck has six wins in nine starts on synthetic, he’s only recorded two wins in 10 starts on turf. Minshall said she wasn’t concerned about the surface switch.

“I think he handles the grass just fine,” she said. “He hasn’t really had much of a chance to run on the turf. I think he’s had a certain amount of success on it, and going three-quarters is definitely not an issue.”

Nearctic Stakes, Race 6

Key Contenders

Stacked Deck, by First Samurai
Last 3 Beyers: 100-92-102

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: Minshall and jockey Rafael Hernandez have had an extremely successful partnership since Hernandez moved to Woodbine in July. The pair has a 27 percent strike rate in 22 starts, good for a return on investment of $3.15.

Divine, by Dark Angel

◗ Divine is the lone European runner and the lone filly in the field and will run without Lasix.

◗ She won a Group 3 event at The Curragh on good going against males back in June, when she carried 132 pounds. She’ll carry just 116 pounds in the Nearctic.

Full Mast, by Mizzen Mast
Last 3 Beyers: 102-103-96

◗ He’ll cut back in distance off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on Sept. 17.

◗ He recorded a 102 Beyer while sprinting in his first start in North America at Belmont Park in June.

Conquest Enforcer, by Into Mischief
Last 3 Beyers: 96-95-88

◗ The talented 3-year-old will face older horses off a win in the Allied Forces Stakes at this distance at Belmont Park on Sept. 11.

:: WOODBINE: Get PPs, watch Sunday’s card live