July 24, 2011
On Sunday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack, a field of 6 older horses went to post in the $300,000 Nijinsky Stakes (G2), a 1 1/8 mile feature run over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. Despite drought conditions and record heat for July, localized heavy rains Saturday night downgraded the course to yielding, but racing was conducted under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70's. Eclipse Stakes (G3) winner Fifty Proof was sent off as the 9-10 favorite off a close second in the King Edward Stakes (G2) last out. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Musketier, winner of the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland and the Singspiel (G3) at Woodbine, and 7-2 third choice Windward Islands, winless since capturing this race a year ago and third in the Singspiel last out.
Favorite Fifty Proof was hustled to the lead by new jockey Luis Contreras and he set slow fractions of 25.47, 49.39, and 1:13.23 with Hailstone stalking him second 1 1/2 lengths behind. Into the stretch, Fifty Proof continued to lead but Windward Islands, 5th early, came out for room after saving ground on the turn and was quickly closing the gap. Fifty Proof got the mile in an easy 1:37.01, but Windward Islands collared him inside the 1/8 pole and outfinished him to win by 3/4 length in 1:49.82 over the yielding turf. It was just a neck back to Hailstone third.