08/02/2009 11:00PM

Attfield takes a shot - and scores

Michael Burns
Oistins holds on under Jim McAleney to win the Nandi Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Winning the Breeders' Stakes was nothing particularly novel for Roger Attfield, who had accounted for seven editions of the Canadian Triple Crown finale prior to Sunday's $503,200 renewal of the 1 1/2-mile turf race. But Attfield had never won a Breeders' with a horse quite like Perfect Shower, who returned a very un-Attfield-like $95.30 when scoring by three-uarters of a length under his regular rider Jono Jones.

Much of the wagering public's dampened enthusiasm for Perfect Shower stemmed from the fact that he was coming into the Breeders' after winning his maiden for $25,000 over 1 1/16 miles on the main track here July 17. A son of Perfect Soul, Perfect Shower had started six times at 2, with his best effort a second-place finish here over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf

"He was just a big, gangly kid," said Attfield. "He couldn't get out of his own way; he was really backward."

After watching Perfect Shower finish eighth in his 3-year-old bow at Keeneland on April 4, Attfield felt there was little risk in running the colt for $25,000 and watched him respond with a 4 1/4-length victory. That success, as it turned out, marked a watershed in the career of Perfect Shower.

"I knew he was improving rapidly the last two months, and he got very high on himself after winning that race," said Attfield, who conditions Perfect Shower for owner-breeder Charles Fipke. "I took a calculated risk entering him in the Breeders', but Chuck was all for me taking it. I knew he was going to get a mile and a half."

Jones, who won the Breeders' with A Bit O'Gold in 2004 and Jambalaya in 2005, provided a succinct analysis of Perfect Shower's performance.

"I knew he was going to stay," said Jones. "It was a matter of whether he was good enough or not. Apparently, he was."

How good Perfect Shower may turn out to be remains an open question to Attfield.

"I think he's at the stage now he's going to continue on improving," said Attfield. "He's the kind of horse that still wouldn't be at his best physically. Who knows where he'll actually finish up? He prefers turf, for sure, and he wants to run a distance of ground, but I don't know if he needs to go a mile and a half. When you take a horse that just broke his maiden for $25,000 and run him in a $500,000 stakes, you haven't really made any plans beyond that."

The major disappointment in the Breeders' was Queen's Plate winner Eye of the Leopard, who finished 11th of 13 as the odds-on choice.

"He just didn't handle the turf," said trainer Mark Frostad here Monday morning. "We'll see how he comes out of it, and then go from there. I think he'll be fine; he certainly looks all right."

Not Bourbon not quite right

The news was not all good for Attfield on Sunday as Not Bourbon was not entered as planned in Wednesday's Shepperton.

"He wasn't right [Sunday] morning," said Attfield, who detected no improvement in Not Bourbon by Monday but still had not determinied the exact nature of the problem.

"I wanted to give him a nice race off the layoff. Now, this happens."

Not Bourbon had been entered and scratched from the Bold Venture here July 19, which was won by Fatal Bullet, Canada's reigning Horse of the Year and champion sprinter. Attfield said he didn't want to face Fatal Bullet in that race.

Fatal Bullet, trained by Reade Baker, breezed five furlongs in a bullet 59.80 on the training track here Sunday and is slated to make his next start in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga this Sunday. The Vanderbilt, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upwards, offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $250,000.

Oistins shows some guts

Oistins also became a stakes winner Sunday by capturing the $127,400 Nandi, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies. She led throughout and prevailed by a neck.

"I thought she was beat, but she doesn't give up,"said trainer Terry Jordan. "She's a very willing little thing."

Bred by trainer Gord Colbourne, Oistins had been purchased privately by Jordan prior to her first start and is now 2 for 3 with earnings of $117,600 for owner James Redekop.

"She had a shin that was bothering her, but we bought her anyhow," said Jordan. "Everything worked out all right."

Oistins was a troubled third in her May 30 debut and came back four weeks later to win her maiden at 4 1/2 furlongs.

Jordan hopes to keep Oistins in Ontario-sired company, but the next such stakes for her division, the six-furlong Victorian Queen, will not be run until Oct. 3.

Glitter Rox wins off layoff

Glitter Rox, making her first appearance since last November, came up with the best effort of her career to win last Saturday's Grade 3, $183,000 Royal North over six furlongs of turf. The 5-year-old mare was clocked in 1:09.03 under regular rider Gerry Olguin and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95, which bettered her previous top by 8 points.

"She'd fractured a splint bone and I didn't start her up until the middle of April on the farm," said Ian Black, who trains Glitter Rox for the Ellie Boje Farm of Don and Ellen McLellan and partners. "If I'm being totally honest, I thought she was a work or two away. Sometimes these fillies don't need us to do as much as we want to do with them."

Glitter Rox capped a tremendous week for Black and the McLellans, who also bred her and are the owners and breeders of last Sunday's Nijinsky winner Rahy's Attorney.

The Belle Geste, a $100,000 race for Ontario-foaled fillies and mares over seven furlongs of turf here Aug. 23, is the next target for Glitter Rox, who became a stakes winner in last year's running of that overnight stakes.