Guillaume rallied on the outside and overtook Merchant of Hope in the final strides of the $40,000 Hansel Stakes for Virginia Certified 2-year-olds on the Tuesday night opening night card at Colonial Downs. The son of Hard Spun is owned by DARRS Inc., trained by Mike Stidham and was ridden by Trevor McCarthy, the same owner-trainer-jockey combination who were leaders at the 2019 Colonial meeting.
The victory was third of four on the night for McCarthy and second for Stidham. “When we saw that his race was for Virginia-certified horses, it got on our radar,” said Stidham. “He was impressive at this distance but we’ll be looking to go longer in his next start.”
Guillaume came on strong in the stretch to win the 2020 Hansel Stakes. Photo by Coady Photography.
Named after a famous Canadian ballet dancer, Guillaume’s performance impressed owner David Ross. “Mike did a great job getting the horse ready and Trevor did a phenomenal job getting out in the lane and just getting him to the wire in time. The horse was moving forwardly at the finish. He’s an exciting horse to watch.”
Guillaume was making his career debut in the Hansel and banked $24,000 for the half-length victory. He covered the 5 ½ furlongs over a fast track in 1:04.38 and paid $6.40, $3.40 and $2.10. The winner was broken at the Middleburg Training Center by Ballyerin Racing’s Madison Meyers and Kieran Norris. The Center recently underwent a multi-million-dollar upgrade.
Merchant of Hope set the pace in the five-horse field through fractions of 22.85 seconds for the opening quarter, 46.11 seconds for a half-mile and a five-furlong split of 58.06 seconds. The son of Bayern paid $4.00 and $2.40.
Jockey Trevor McCarthy guides David Ross’s Guillaume to victory. Photo by Coady Photography.
It was another 1 ¾ lengths back to third-place finisher and post-time favorite Sky’s Not Falling who returned $2.10 to show. Natural Attraction and Dare to Promise completed the order of finish.
Earlier in the card, Wesley Ward’s Amsden went gate-to-wire in a $40,000 five-furlong maiden turf race for two-year-olds. The American Pharoah colt won by three lengths. Last year, Ward connected in a Colonial turf sprint with another two-year-old, Four Wheel Drive, who captured the Rosie’s Stakes and went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Colonial Downs’ summer meeting continues racing through September 2 on a Monday through Wednesday basis with a first post of 5:30 EDT. A special Sunday program has been added August 2 to make up for the cancellation of Monday’s scheduled card.