11/02/2004 12:00AM

Dittfach and Scharfstein score big double

Email

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Hugo Dittfach and jockey Jill Scharfstein have been a potent team at Woodbine in recent weeks, winning stakes with both Millfleet and Norfolk Knight.

But the Dittfach-Scharfstein duo outdid themselves here Sunday as both Millfleet and Norfolk Knight, half-brothers owned and bred by Margaret Squires, took down the two biggest pots on the program.

Millfleet, a 3-year-old gelding, prevailed by a neck in the $146,750 Bunty Lawless, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward.

Norfolk Knight, a 5-year-old gelding, was the 10 3/4-length winner of an $83,700 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles, billed as the prep for the Nov. 20 Woodbine Slots Cup.

"You dream, and you hope," said Dittfach, who experienced many memorable days in the saddle before hanging up his tack with a total of 4,000 victories in 1989. "But it doesn't get any better than this. Everything worked out the way I wanted it to."

Both Millfleet and Norfolk Knight were nominated to the Bunty Lawless, but Dittfach preferred the Slots Cup prep for Norfolk Knight, who was coming off an upset win over Mobil in the 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup.

Norfolk Knight held up his end of the bargain, romping to a very impressive victory.

"He just destroyed the field," said Dittfach. "He's awesome."

Unraced at 2 and 3 due to his enormous size, Norfolk Knight has come a long way since finishing ninth in his debut here on May 28, 2003.

Following Sunday's win, Norfolk Knight has earned $567,487 and will be looking to add significantly to that total in the Grade 3, $150,000 Woodbine Slots Cup at 1 1/16 miles.

Millfleet makes good on his turf potential

Millfleet was making his third start on turf in the Bunty Lawless. He finished third in an entry-level allowance at seven furlongs here June 18, but was last of eight in the one-mile Charlie Barley on June 27.

Dittfach, noting that Millfleet had been bothered by sore shins during the latter turf try, was hopeful of a much better performance Sunday and got his wish with a big assist from Scharfstein.

"I gave her no direct orders," said Dittfach. "I just told her to ride the horse with confidence. She rode a great race; I don't think anybody could have done a better job."

Millfleet has one more stakes engagement this season, the $125,000 Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old colts and geldings here on Dec. 4.

"I have no doubt that he can go a mile and a sixteenth," said Dittfach, who has yet to send Millfleet around two turns. "This horse is a racehorse. I knew that from the beginning."

Last Answer finally breaks through

The other big winners here last weekend were trainer Mike Keogh and owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz, who watched Last Answer become a stakes winner in Saturday's Chief Bearhart and then saw Wando return to winning form in an allowance race on Sunday.

Last Answer, a 4-year-old gelding by Langfuhr, made his 20th career start in the $108,000 Chief Bearhart under regular rider Jono Jones.

"He's been knocking on the door," said Keogh. "It's nice to see him win one."

Last Answer had finished second four times and third once in his seven previous outings this season, all but one of which came under second-level allowance terms.

Last Answer could make his next stakes appearance in the $125,000 Valedictory Handicap, a 1 3/4-mile race here closing day, Dec. 12. Keogh noted that while Last Answer also is effective on the main track, the Valedictory distance might be beyond his scope.

Wando bounces back - now, on to Florida

Wando, whose campaign was interrupted by illness early this summer, had disappointed when he returned to action in the Bunty Lawless prep here Aug. 11, but he looked much more like his old self here Sunday.

The $76,100 allowance race was the first time Wando had competed at seven furlongs. His sire, Langfuhr, made his mark by winning Grade 1 stakes in New York at seven furlongs and one mile.

"He was very impressive," Keogh said of Wando. "I've been dying to run him seven furlongs."

Keogh is uncertain as to his next move with Wando, but is looking forward to racing the colt at Gulfstream this winter. Races such as the 6 1/2-furlong Deputy Minister on Feb. 5 and the seven-furlong Richter Scale on March 12 are appropriate targets.

"From there, we could go to New York with him, and try and go the same route as his old man," said Keogh.

Wando will be based with Keogh at Palm Meadows this winter, along with Last Answer and the multiple stakes winner Mobil, who will not see action again this season.