Updated on 09/16/2011 8:56AM

Attest faces champs


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Attest, who beat everybody but a streaking Bonus Back in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap, should be tough in Sunday's $136,875 Seagram Cup Stakes at Woodbine.

The 1 1/16-mile fixture has also lured Win City and A Fleets Dancer, both 2001 Canadian champions who have struggled this year.

Attest, a son of Affirmed, has run four solid races at the meeting for trainer Lorne Richards. He launched his campaign by running second in an $80,000 optional claimer, and then blew away $100,000 opponents.

Attest, who is usually forwardly placed, ended up trailing the six-horse field early in the allowance prep for the Dominion Day, before mounting a belated rally for fourth.

"The prep didn't turn out the way we thought it would," said Richards. "There was some speed in there, and he dropped out of it early. I knew we were probably in the wrong spot when we were three or four lengths behind Afleets Dancer going down the backside."

Attest finished 5 3/4 lengths behind the imposing Kentucky invader Bonus Pack in the 1 1/4-mile Dominion Day, much to Richards' satisfaction.

"It was very hot that day," Richards recalled, "and it came down to whoever stuck it out at the end." Attest, the trainer noted, "beat all the locals, and the distance is probably farther than he wants to go.

"He's coming up to this race alright," Richards added. "He's had a couple of light breezes. He keeps himself pretty fit with some long gallops."

Win City, the reigning Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old, is winless in five starts this year. He was a neck behind Attest in third in the Dominion Day, and a slow pace compromised his chances last time, when second in the restricted Izvestia Stakes.

Trainer Bob Tiller is mystified with Win City's productivity this year.

"He's had some minor aches and pains," Tiller said, "but they haven't been enough to stop him from running. He just hasn't arrived yet."

A Fleets Dancer, last year's champion older horse, has a second and a third in his three seasonal outings. A late-running 7-year-old, he finished sixth as the favorite in the Dominion Day, an effort trainer Roger Attfield attributes in part to the fact that the horse was running beside Catch the Ring, a mare.

"He just galloped along with her," Attfield pointed out. "Neither of them were going to leave each other. He's such a funny horse. You never really know how he's going to do when he goes over there."

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