09/17/2011 5:06PM

Woodbine: Finale gives Pletcher a repeat in Summer Stakes

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Michael Burns
Finale (left), under John Velazquez, wins the Grade 3 Summer Stakes at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Finale punched his ticket to the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs with a workmanlike score Saturday at Woodbine in the $254,000 Summer Stakes, a one-mile BC Win and You’re In event.

Finale ($3.70) pressed a slow pace on the outside under John Velazquez and then duked it out with the front-running Excaper in the stretch en route to three-quarter-length triumph over that one. Daddy Nose Best rallied strongly to nail Maritimer on the wire for third in the eight-horse field.

The final time, 1:35.51, was .51 of a second slower than Northern Passion’s clocking for winning the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on the same card.

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“He didn’t leave the gate very good,” Velazquez said. “He took me very well the first part of the race. Coming to the quarter pole, I thought he was going to finish a little better than he did. I think he had a hard time with the grass, which was a little on the soft side.”

It was the second straight victory in the Grade 3 Summer for trainer Todd Pletcher, who trains Finale for partnership of Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith. Pletcher won the race last year with Pluck, who went on to take the Grade 2 BC Juvenile Turf.