In his 25 years as an owner, Quebec businessman Tony Infilise has never had a racehorse win eight consecutive starts, until Montreal Phil did it this fall.
The four-year-old Blissfull Hall gelding, full brother to Infilise's 2004 star Shanghai Phil, will try to extend his 2008 unbeaten streak to nine in the second race at Woodbine on Saturday, a $26,000 pace.
"He's a nice colt, with a nice gait to him. We still don't know how good. He developed a sore knee at three and we gave a year off. I give a lot of credit to (Quebec trainer) Guy Corbeil, who brought him along nicely for us this year," said Infilise, also the breeder.
Montreal Phil made his belated 2008 debut at Rideau Carleton on September 1 and rattled off six straight wins there. Then came two wins at Woodbine, the first in a career-best 1:51.2.
He hasn't been Infilise's only bright spot this year.
Two-year-old trotting filly Tuscan Gal, co-owned with Gaetan Bono, won the Roger White Trot in Montreal and an elimination of the Goldsmith Maid at Woodbine and looks have a promising future.
The Andover Hall filly will race Sunday at Hippodrome de Montreal in a $25,000 Quebec Plus Elite stake.
"Based on that, we'll decide whether to try her in the Breeders Crown eliminations (next weekend at the Meadowlands)" Infilise said. "For whatever reason, she was a bit flat in the final (of the Goldsmith Maid, finishing fourth). Physically, she's grown so much this year, and she still put a lot of bucks ($135,760) in the bank."
As for Shanghai Phil, a career winner of $567,622 now standing at stud in Quebec, Infilise said he and co-owner Dustin Jones are mulling their options, given the absence to date of any sires-stakes program for 2009 in Quebec.
Shanghai Phil's first crop of yearlings would have sold at auction this year, except the major Quebec auction was cancelled because of the industry's chaotic state.
(Paul Delean for Trot Insider)