11/30/2009 12:00AM

Attfield's pair figure tough in Sir Barton


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sir Barton's famous match race with the brilliant Man o' War took place on Ontario soil at Kenilworth Park in Windsor in 1920. Man o' War prevailed over the older Sir Barton, who had captured the 1919 Triple Crown.

Wednesday's $125,000 Sir Barton Stakes at Woodbine could be viewed as a two-horse race between a pair of Roger Attifield-trained runners, Sand Cove and Society's Chairman. Sand Cove should be favored in the 1 1/16-mile route for Ontario-sired runners.

Sand Cove had a sensational 2008 campaign, during which he won three stakes and earned $366,955, but he could only manage third at even money in his final start of the year in the Sir Barton.

Sand Cove didn't make it to the races this year until July 18, when he finished a close third in the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes on turf. After a dull sprint try in the Shepperton Stakes, he led most of the way in the 1 1/16-mile Elgin Stakes, scoring with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

Shortly after the Elgin, Sand Cove finished six lengths back in eighth after saving ground in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. He is coming off a runner-up placing on soft turf in the Bunty Lawless Stakes behind Grade 1 winner Rahy's Attorney, who returned to run second in the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill.

Regular rider Richard Dos Ramos said Sand Cove ran his usual strong race in the one-mile Bunty Lawless.

"He'd never been on a soft turf course before, and I thought he handled it super," Dos Ramos said. "He's just a hard-knocking horse. He's very consistent. He's handled everything that we've put in front of him, but he's not a sprinter."

Society's Chairman, a turf expert with more than $400,000 in the bank, performed well in two of his four synthetic-track excursions.

Society's Chairman was stuck in traffic before ending up second behind Sligovitz in an optional claimer on Polytrack here in November 2008. He was a flat fifth in his only Polytrack outing this year in the With Approval, an overnight stakes that was taken off the grass. Society's Chairman took the restricted Halton Stakes for the second year in a row in September, winning with ease.