Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart gave jockey Julien Leparoux his fourth win on the afternoon in Saturday’s G3 Canadian Turf Stakes, taking the field from gate to wire in a dominating performance that saw him win by three-quarters of a length. The 6-year-old son of English Channel covered a mile on Gulfstream’s firm turf course in 1:32.63 for trainer Brian Lynch, marking the horse’s 12th lifetime victory.
“Today it didn’t look like there was too much speed in the race so I thought I would be on the lead a little bit easier, actually,” said Leparoux. “They put a little bit of pressure on me which they had to do. The thing today was when I got to the quarter pole and asked him, he really kicked at the end. Last time he didn’t really do it and today he was back to himself. He ran a big race.”
Heart to Heart broke incredibly sharply for Leparoux, out-sprinting his rivals to the first turn with ease. Though he worked through the first quarter-mile in just 22.94 seconds, the second and third quarters are where the race was won, because Leparoux was able to slow him down to a 23.31-second quarter, marking the half in :46.25, and a 23.32-second third quarter to clock six furlongs in 1:09.57.
Though Heart to Heart was pressured a bit in the middle of the race by Vision Perfect, he stayed very relaxed for Leparoux, and had plenty left to fend off Bondurant at the wire. Turning for home, Heart to Heart extended his lead to nearly two lengths as Conquest Panthera moved up the rail to make his bid. Bondurant was closing from fourth along the outside, and appeared to be moving best of all late, but Heart to Heart’s lead was just enough to hold on for the win by three-quarters of a length. Bondurant had to settle for second, and Conquest Panthera was third.
“I always say he runs the turns like a rat in a barrel,” said Lynch. “I think they underestimate how much he gets away from them when he runs the turn, and I think that was the case today. There’s no one who fits him better. Julien has a lot of confidence in him and he has a lot of confidence in Julien.”
Bred in Ontario by Red Hawk Ranch, Heart to Heart was a $ 25,348 yearling purchase at the CTHS sale. He has now eight graded stakes wins to his name, and an overall record of 12 wins from 27 starts, for earnings of nearly $ 1.1 million.
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