08/18/2013 5:25PM

Woodbine: Up With the Birds delivers as favorite in Breeders' Stakes

Michael Burns
Up With the Birds and jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva win the Breeders' Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths Sunday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The favored Up With the Birds pulled away late after some anxious moments to take the 123rd running of the $500,800 Breeders’ Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, at Woodbine on Sunday.

Up With the Birds ($3.10) raced in midpack under Eurico Rosa da Silva as longshot Dragon Puff set slow fractions over firm turf in the 1 1/2-mile marathon. Up With the Birds made his way to the lead exiting the far turn and then put away River Seven in the stretch to prevail by 2 3/4 lengths in 2:28.69.

River Seven held off a closing Pyrite Mountain by a neck for second. Global Express, the 9-2 second choice, finished another half-length back in fourth in the 10-horse field of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Up With the Birds bypassed the second Triple Crown race, the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, after finishing a fast-closing second as the favorite in the July 7 Queen’s Plate.

“I had a great trip, but he was very aggressive today,” da Silva said. “He really wanted to go. He wanted to be there. I think he knew he lost last time. This time, he said, ‘I’ll do the job.’ When he took the lead, it was going to be hard for another horse to catch him. He’s all heart. He’s a very good horse.”

Up With the Birds earned $300,000 for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Malcolm Pierce.

“He was well-rested and on his toes today,” Pierce said. “I was a little worried at the head of the stretch that River Seven was giving him all he wanted, but I was relieved in the last eighth, when he drew away.”

Jesse Campbell rode River Seven for trainer Nick Gonzalez, the same combination that won the $1 million Queen’s Plate with Midnight Aria. River Seven was making his turf debut in the Breeders’ off a second in the Prince of Wales.

“I knew it was going to be a fight,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of the horses in the race were proven, accomplished turf horses. We were experimenting, but I’m very happy.”