Rockcrest bests champion Filo Di Arianna in an April 29 allowance (Michael Burns)
By Chris Lomon – Woodbine Communications
TORONTO— Also on tap Sunday at Woodbine is the first running of the $100,000 Pink Lloyd Stakes (formerly known as the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes), a six-furlong Tapeta race for Ontario-sired 4-year-olds and up.
Thirteen starters, including Rockcrest, will contest the race named after the gelding who was recently named to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
A 6-year-old son of Old Forester (Pink Lloyd’s sire), Rockcrest, owned and trained by Nigel Burke, heads into his latest test off a front-running 9-1 score at 5 ½ panels on April 9. The roan gelding earned a half-length victory over last year’s Canadian champion male sprinter, Filo Di Arianna (BRZ), who was also a finalist for horse of the year.
“I definitely have to give respect to the champion sprinter of 2022,” praised Burke. “He’s exceptional. I knew the only way we could beat this horse is if we were in front of him at the top of the stretch. If he was sitting level with us, he would explode and go by us. We broke well and were able to slow the pace down, and he [Filo Di Arianna] was trapped in a bit of a pocket, and by the time he had come, the race was over. It was a bit of racing luck, some winter training, and a big effort from Rocky.”
Bred in Ontario by Northern Dawn Stables Inc., Rockcrest will chase his first stakes score since taking the 2019 Simcoe. He was second in the Grade 3 Vigil to close out his 2022 campaign.
“He’s definitely a horse that tries every time he’s out there,” praised Burke. “He might not be the most talented, but he’s definitely going to give it his all nine times out of 10. And that’s all you can really ask of them. He’s just very special to me. He was my first winner in Canada and first stakes winner. I’m a small operation but he makes feel like I can compete with the big ones to a certain extent.”
Bred in Ontario in 20212, sprint superstar Pink Lloyd won 29 of 38 starts and earned $2.4 million (CDN) under the tutelage of Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller. Bred by John Carey and owned by Entourage Stable, Jr., the gelding’s first major triumph came early in 2017 when he captured the Jacques Cartier Stakes, a race he would win three more times. It would be the start of 26 career stakes wins, all at Woodbine. His perfect season of eight stakes scores garnered him Sovereign Awards as Champion Older Horse, Outstanding Sprinter and Horse of the Year. Over the course of the next four years, he earned five more Sovereigns.
Following his retirement from the track, Pink Lloyd’s connections donated him to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, where he continues to be a popular draw with racing fans who visit the farm.
PINK LLOYD FIELD
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Reload’s Rascal – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Michelle Love
2 – Last American Exit (S) – Jose Campos – Harold Ladouceur
3 – Mason’s Gamble – Patrick Husbands – Josie Carroll
4 – Bossy Holiday – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
5 – Miss Speedy – Kazushi Kimura – Mark Casse
6 – Poseidon Steel – Ryan Munger – Gordon Colbourne
7 – Commander Joe – Eswan Flores – John Ross
8 – Secret Reserve – Rafael Hernandez – Mike Mattine
9 – Rockcrest – Keveh Nicholls – Nigel Burke
10 – Dun Drum – Declan Carroll – Ian Black
11 – Maakwa – Justin Stein – Shana Lopez
12 – Forester’s Fortune – Daisuke Fukumoto – Rodney Barrow
13 – Candy Overload – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse