09/16/2012 4:43PM

Woodbine: Stealcase rallies from far back to take Ontario Derby

Michael Burns
Stealcase, ridden by Patrick Husbands, scores in the Ontario Derby.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Stealcase, overcoming a slow start, rallied from last place in the field of seven to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths in the Grade 3, $154,500 Ontario Derby on Sunday at Woodbine.

Conditioned by Mark Casse and ridden by Patrick Husbands, Stealcase had been keeping difficult company south of the border and was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Any Given Royal, who had rallied into the lead in early stretch under rider Luis Contreras, was unable to withstand the winner’s rally but held for second money, three-quarters of a length  before the third-place River Rush.

“I couldn’t have had a better trip,” said Husbands. “I was just following Luis, and waiting for him to pull the trigger.

“When Luis pulled the trigger I went on with him. He was much the best.”

Gung Ho, looking to give Kentucky-based trainer Mike Maker his third straight Ontario Derby victory, set the pace while pressed by Colleen’s Sailor and Ultimate Destiny but weakened to finish fourth.

Colleen’s Sailor, Peyton, and Ultimate Destiny rounded out the order of finish.

Prospective and Patrioticandproud, also trained by Casse, both were scratched. Prospective and Stealcase both are owned by John Oxley.

The Ontario Derby was the first stakes victory for Stealcase and his first start at Woodbine. The Kentucky-bred colt returned $6.20 and was timed in 1:50.56.

Casse has been at the Keeneland sales all week and assistant trainers David Adams and Kathryn Sullivan deputized.