Melmich is out to extend his unbeaten 2017 run to six starts, and possibly enhance his Canadian Horse of the Year claims, when he takes on four opponents in the Autumn Stakes (G2) on the Woodbine Tapeta track.
The Ontario-bred 6-year-old has had a very good career, but it’s gone to new heights this year. After an allowance victory May 31, he’s won the Dominion Day Stakes (G3), the Seagram Cup Stakes (G3), his third consecutive Elgin Stakes on Canadian Millions night, and the Durham Cup Stakes (G3) by 7 ½ lengths at his most recent start Sept. 30.
Victory could keep the 3-5 morning line favorite in contention for the Horse of the Year title, for which Pink Lloyd, undefeated in seven starts, and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint runner-up Ami’s Mesa are other contenders.
Melmich gets into the race with 121 pounds, two behind Dragon Bay, a dual grade two winner this year of the Nijinsky Stakes and the Eclipse Stakes. The race will be his first on the all-weather track since the Eclipse.
Gigantic Breeze was second favorite on the morning line at 2-1. He finished second to Melmich in the Dominion Day Stakes and third behind the same horse in the Seagram Cup Stakes before heading across the border to win the Presque Isle Mile Stakes at Presque Isle Downs Sept. 17.
Western Reserve heads to Canada after a season in which he won the 1 1/16-mile Warrior Veteran Stakes on the Indiana Grand turf and finished second in the Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap (G3) at Fair Grounds. It’s his first race at Woodbine since finishing fourth in this race two years ago.
Tale of the Nile, fifth to Gigantic Breeze in the Presque Isle Mile Stakes and beaten a nose in an allowance at the same track Oct. 5, completes the field.
It’s difficult to see Melmich being defeated unless he has an off day. The only horse he doesn’t have some sort of form to relate to is Dragon Bay, who at his best is the most likely to test him.