10/09/2008 11:00PM

Sand Cove blossoms on the turf

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sand Cove, a late-blooming 3-year-old trained by Roger Attfield, should be a prohibitive favorite against older Ontario-sired opposition in Sunday's $125,000 Bunty Lawless Stakes at Woodbine.

Sand Cove was an ordinary Ontario-sired allowance performer during the spring and early summer before notching his first stakes win in his turf debut in the Aug. 31 Vice Regent.

Sand Cove proved to be a worthy backup for his stablemate, Queen's Plate winner Not Bourbon, in the Vice Regent, after Not Bourbon was scratched because of a hematoma on his leg.

"He ran really well in there," Attfield said. "He seems to handle just about everything. He's a very versatile horse."

Sand Cove took his game to another level most recently in the nine-furlong Ontario Derby, in which he put away a persistent Catch Air on the lead before edging closer Secret Getaway for the victory.

Attfield felt that Sand Cove overcame some adversity in the Sept. 28 Ontario Derby.

"Everything went the wrong way for him, but he just handled it all," Attfield said. "He never got a breather and was overtaken inside the sixteenth pole, but came back on and won. It takes a pretty good horse to do that."

Attfield is apprehensive about the one-mile Bunty Lawless because Sand Cove will be coming back in two weeks, but he believes it's worth a shot.

"He's been training like a wild man and acting like a wild man around the barn, so I think he deserves a chance at it," he said.

Richard Dos Ramos will ride Sand Cove, who was supplemented to the race at a cost of $2,500.

Forty Creek is an intriguing newcomer to the Ontario-sired ranks. He ran hot and cold in $40,000 claiming company in the summer, before registering a 16-1 upset in a 1 3/8-mile allowance Sept. 19.

Trainer Glenn Magnusson said Forty Creek excelled in his last race, over a turf course labeled good.

"He wanted to show speed and just kept on running, like a bear," Magnusson said.

Magnusson said Forty Creek has trained forwardly heading into the Bunty Lawless.

"He's in super shape," Magnusson boasted. "He worked a half-mile on the training track the other day in 49.60 [seconds] and went out [five-eighths] in a minute and change, just like nobody's business. We can't keep him on the ground."