04/27/2013 6:10PM

Woodbine: Essence Hit Man three-peats in Cartier Stakes

Michael Burns
Jockey Jesse Campbell give the No. 1 sign as Essence Hit Man coasts home in the Cartier.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Essence Hit Man, Canada’s champion sprinter in each of the past two years, won the $169,200 Jacques Cartier Stakes for the third straight year at Woodbine Saturday.

With blinkers off for his season opener, Essence Hit Man set moderate fractions under Jesse Campbell, with Bear Tough Tiger in close proximity.

Essence Hit Man opened up a daylight lead early in the lane, and then coasted home on top by four lengths, in a quick 1:08.83 for the six furlongs. Bear Tough Tiger finished a length ahead of Keeneland shipper Upgrade, who nosed out Hammers Terror for third in the seven-horse field.

Justin Stein, on Bear Tough Tiger, claimed foul against Essence Hit Man for interference at the five-eighths pole, which was disallowed after a stewards’ inquiry.

“He was a cool customer today,” said Campbell. “I didn’t think he’d run this good. I was very impressed.”

Essence Hit Man returned $6 as the favorite, and banked $108,000 for A & G Racing Stable and trainer Sylvain Pion.