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2016 Nijinsky Stakes Preview, Entries & Odds – The Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes will be contested this Sunday, July 24 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario. A purse of $200,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to race 1 1/8 miles on Woodbine’s turf track.

A strong field of just five will line up on the Nijinsky Stakes – race 8 on Woodbine’s Sunday schedule. Post time is 4:46 PM. Here is a brief look into the past performances of all five combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.

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2016 Nijinsky Stakes Race Preview at Woodbine Racetrack

Kaigun 9-5 – won the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes at Woodbine and the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar in 2014 for trainer Mark Casse and has been up and down lately. He enters off consecutive disappointments – a ninth after stopping late in the minor Belmont Gold Cup Invitational June 10 and a sixth in the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes May 14. He was good before that – an OK second in the Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland April 23 followed a nice win in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream Park April 2 and four more runner-up finishes – the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes March 5, the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup January 30 at Sam Houston, the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap at Gulfstream December 26 and the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct in November. Kaigun now six wins, nine seconds and three third place finishes in 31 career starts hopes to snap an ugly skid from gate 2 Sunday. Patrick Husbands rides the morning line favorite.

Up With the Birds 2-1 – Canada’s 2013 Horse of the Year and Champion 3 Year Old Colt, Graham Motion trained multiple graded stakes winner looks for his first win since the Nijinsky Stakes in July, 2014. He was OK last year – six starts with a second and two third place finishes. He hasn’t been great lately however – a sixth last time out in the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational June 10 followed a fourth in the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes May 14, a fifth in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland April 23 and a ninth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup back in November. He did post a good second in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International October 18 and had consecutive fourths in graded stakes action last summer. Up With the Birds hasn’t shied away from top company but has been inconsistent as of late to say the least. He hopes to snap an 11 race losing streak from post 3 with Eurico Rosa Da Silva in the saddle of the morning line second choice.

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Dynamic Sky 5-2 – Canada’s Sovereign Award Winner for 2014 Champion Grass Horse now has 30 career starts with five wins, six seconds and seven third place finishes. Career highlights include a win in the 2014 Red Smith Handicap, a second in the 2014 edition of this race, another second in the 2014 Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes and two more runner-up finishes in 2015 -the Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes and the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes on this track a year ago. He hasn’t been all that great lately however – a fifth last time out in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap May 21 followed a third in an Allowance April 10, another fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in March and eight months away from the track. Dynamic Sky has never posted victory at Woodbine but will try to channel his 2014/2015 form and to snap a 10 race losing streak from post 5 Sunday. Gary Boulanger gets the call.

Button Down 9-2 – Josie Carroll trained mare has three wins and six seconds in 16 career starts and has three wins and two seconds in her last eight starts overall. She enters in a bit of a funk – an eighth last time out in the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland April 29 followed a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay March 12. Before that was a career-best win in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs November 21, another fifth in the Grade 1 EP Taylor Stakes at Woodbine in October and consecutive runner up finishes -in her graded stakes debut – the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes September 13 and the minor Flaming Page Stakes August 15. She also posted two more wins last summer. Button Down was good at this time last year but has failed to place in three of her last two four. She hopes to snap a skid Sunday when she leaves from the rail with Luis Contreras aboard.

Halo Nation 15-1 – lightly raced Conor Murphy trained gelding has placed in all five career starts – one win, two seconds and two third place finishes. He makes his stakes debut Sunday off consecutive runner-up finishes in Starter Allowance races at Churchill Downs. Before that was a third in a similar race in April and a Maiden Claiming score at Tampa Bay in March. Halo Nation takes a huge step up in competition in so-so form and is expected to be in over his head from gate 4. David Moran has been tabbed to ride.

2016 Nijinsky Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 8 on Woodbine’s Sunday card with a Post Time of 4:46 PM.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Button Down (GB) 9-2 Luis Contreras Josie Carroll
2 Kaigun 9-5 Patrick Husbands Mark Casse
3 Up With the Birds 2-1 Eurico Da Silva Malcolm Pierce
4 Halo Nation 15-1 David Moran Conor Murphy
5 Dynamic Sky 5-2 Gary Boulanger Mark Casse

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