06/13/2013 11:48AM

Woodbine: Ultimate Destiny should challenge Fifty Proof in Steady Growth Stakes

Michael Burns
Ultimate Destiny has won two consecutive allowances and seeks his first stakes victory in Saturday's $125,000 Steady Growth Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Fifty Proof is the class of Saturday’s $125,000 Steady Growth Stakes, but Ultimate Destiny brings a two-race winning streak into the 1 1/16-mile route for Ontario-sired stock at Woodbine.

Fifty Proof was Canada’s champion older male in 2011 after winning the Grade 3 Eclipse Stakes and running second in a pair of Grade 2 turf stakes, the King Edward and the Nijinsky. Following an extended layoff, he returned last December to take the restricted Sir Barton Stakes in front-running style going long on the Polytrack.

Fifty Proof finished last after flashing speed in a pair of turf races at Gulfstream Park last winter, the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale over 1 1/16 miles and a one-mile optional claimer. Most recently, in a Woodbine allowance prep for the Eclipse Stakes, he tired from chasing the front-running winner, Delegation, and wound up 11 lengths back in fifth.

“His last three races puzzled me a little,” trainer Ian Black said. “The two in Florida, I blamed the distance and the turf, which was a mess. When he came back up here, Delegation ran a huge race, but I was surprised and disappointed that he didn’t go a little further than he did.”

Fifty Proof has recorded two rapid Polytrack breezes this month. He sped a half-mile in 47.80 seconds last Sunday and went five-eighths in a bullet 59.60 seconds the week before.

“He’s been working well,” Black said.

Ultimate Destiny competed in all three legs of the 2012 Canadian Triple Crown, including a fifth-place finish in the Queen’s Plate and a second in the Prince of Wales Stakes. He was sold privately in the fall to owner-trainer Alec Fehr, who won back-to-back allowances with him here in May, including a seven-furlong event in which he earned an 88 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He’s definitely a really good off-the-pace sprinter right now,” Fehr said. “Early in the year, they’re always a little sharper, and you can sprint them. He was really sharp and showed it in his races. I think the winter [off] did him some good. He grew up a bit and gained some weight.”

Fehr said Ultimate Destiny has trained encouragingly leading up to the Steady Growth.

“I was concerned because I did sprint him twice that I had him too sharp,” Fehr said. “He worked last Saturday and was off Sunday.”

Fehr said he had Ultimate Destiny on the training track Monday “to try to calm down his mind a bit,” then brought him to the main track Tuesday, “and he was really good and becoming more relaxed. He’ll be close to the pace, a stalking trip, and I think he’s ready for a two-turn race.”