10/13/2013 4:17PM

Woodbine: Phil's Dream prevails in Nearctic Stakes

Michael Burns
Phil's Dream, ridden by Justin Stein, wins the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes by two lengths Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The late bloomer Phil’s Dream ($20) emerged from the pack in the stretch to win the $340,400 Nearctic Stakes going away under Justin Stein at Woodbine on Sunday.

The Grade 1 Nearctic is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In qualifier for the BC Turf Sprint on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, but Phil’s Dream is not BC-eligible, and owner/trainer Paul Buttigieg said he has no plans to supplement the 5-year-old gelding to the race.

Phil’s Dream raced in fifth on the turn in the six-furlong turf sprint while Fatal Bullet set fractions of 22.80 and 46.47 seconds, with Kentucky shipper Longhunter in close proximity. Phil’s Dream was blocked briefly early in the stretch before closing strongly to prevail by two lengths, in 1:10.83, over a rain-softened course labeled “good.” 

“When he found room, he exploded,” Buttigieg said. “He’s a good horse.”

Mr. Online rallied for second, and Longhunter weakened to finish third. Excaper, the lukewarm 3-1 favorite, checked in ninth in a field reduced to 10 with the scratch of Tripski.

For notching his sixth win in eight starts this year, Phil’s Dream earned $216,000 and boosted his career earnings to $511,179.