05/08/2011 4:15PM

Woodbine: Hot pace sets up Stunning Stag in Vigil Stakes

Michael Burns
Stunning Stag, under Gerry Olguin, takes the Vigil Stakes by three lengths.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario— Stunning Stag came rolling in the lane from off a rapid pace to win the $174,900 Vigil Stakes going away at Woodbine on Sunday.

It was the first start of the year for Stunning Stag, who raced well back in the early stages of the seven-furlong sprint. Essence Hit Man set fractions of 22.12 and 43.84 seconds while being chased by favored Hollywood Hit, last year’s ultra-impressive winner of the Grade 3 Vigil.

Stunning Stag ($8.70) began to make up ground around the quarter pole, and then mowed down Essence Hit Man with a sixteenth left en route to a three-length tally, in a time of 1:22.15. Signature Red rallied belatedly for third, and Hollywood Hit faded to finish a distant fourth. Southdale trailed the five-horse field. 

Gerry Olguin rode Stunning Stag, who earned $108,000 for owner Janice Attard, the wife of trainer Sid Attard.

“He had been working great all spring,” said Olguin. “I left him alone the first part, and he was comfortable where he was. He was getting tired at the end, but they ran pretty fast.”