10/12/2008 11:00PM

Sand Cove keeps on rolling


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Roger Attfield and jockey Richard Dos Ramos have been winning stakes races here together since the mid-1980s.

And the two staged a particularly lucrative revival here last weekend when Sand Cove captured Sunday's $125,800 Bunty Lawless after Palladio prevailed in Saturday's $154,200 Durham Cup.

Sand Cove, a 3-year-old colt owned by Ralph Johnson, recorded his third consecutive stakes score in the Bunty Lawless, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up.

After becoming a stakes winner in the Vice Regent, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here Aug. 31, Sand Cove came back four weeks later to take the open Ontario Derby at 1 1/8 miles.

Attfield had been concerned about the two-week turnaround for Sand Cove on Sunday, but those fears were unfounded as Sand Cove led throughout to win by a comfortable 3 1/4 lengths.

"It takes a good horse to do that," Attfield said. "He'd just run a mile and an eighth, setting a track record, and never getting a breather. Now he was coming back, giving weight away, and I was shortening him back.

"He's a tough horse. He's a hard horse to get by, but that never came into the equation here."

Sand Cove could make his final appearance of the season in the $125,000 Sir Barton, a 1o1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up here Dec. 3.

"That would be the only race I'd consider, and it would depend on the track and the weather," Attfield said.

Sand Cove would then join his stablemate Not Bourbon, who now is officially through for the season, on Attfield's annual pilgrimage to Payson Park in Florida.

"They'll get a nice break," Attfield said. "Payson Park is a great place for that. You can still keep them doing a little bit, going around the park, keeping them in relatively good condition. It kind of perks them right up."

Palladio sets record in Durham Cup

Palladio, who was injured in Florida last winter when gearing up for his current campaign, did not make his season debut until Julyo27.

But Palladio was back in peak form with his emphatic 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Durham Cup, in which he finished the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.29 to break Sand Cove's short-lived track record.

"He ran to the way I thought he'd run," said Attfield, who trains the 6-year-old Palladio for owner/breeder Haras Santa Maria de Araras. "I'd have been very upset if he hadn't won, the way he'd been training."

The Durham Cup was just the third start of the season for Palladio and came five weeks after he had finished seventh of eight in the Woodbine Mile.

Attfield had entered Palladio in the Woodbine Mile for lack of any other local option, but had expected the horse to perform creditably.

"He was training so well, and I'd been just waiting for someplace to run him," Attfield said. "But things kind of got kind of messed up. The turf came up very soft, which he didn't like."

The Grade 2 Autumn, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up here Nov. 9, is Palladio's next target.

"After that, he's going to go away for winter racing," Attfield said. "He's just getting started."

Meanwhile, Dos Ramos now has ridden Palladio in 20 of his 27 career starts and in 6 of his 7 stakes victories.

The jockey also has been Sand Cove's partner in all but one of his 16 career starts. Slade Callaghan had picked up the mount for the Vice Regent when Dos Ramos was at Saratoga piloting Marlang to victory in the Grade 3 Saranac.

Attfield leads with 10 stakes wins

Following his weekend successes, Attfield now has recorded a meet-leading 10 stakes scores.

And he should be looking to add to that total next weekend as he plans to send out Red Birkin and Quelle Beaute in Saturday's River Memories and Russian Rosie in Sunday's Maple Leaf.

The $100,000 River Memories, a one-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares, is an overnight stakes but should have no trouble attracting the minimum of five entrants.

The $175,000 Maple Leaf is a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares on the main track.

Sugar Bay ends season with five straight

Sugar Bay capped a remarkable campaign here Saturday by winning her fifth straight race and fourth straight stakes in the $150,800 Carotene.

The Carotene, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for Ontario foals, extended a stakes streak that began in the seven-furlong Duchess and continued in the one-mile Ontario Colleen on turf and the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette back on the main track.

All of Sugar Bay's stakes successes came against fellow 3-year-old fillies, with the first three in open company. In all, she scored in 6 of 9 starts, making her the leader in races won at the meeting, and finished second once while banking $561,660.

"She's something," said trainer Mac Benson, who had been concerned about running back Sugar Back just two weeks after her La Lorgnette score. "She's more than done everything we've asked her to do. Hopefully, she'll blossom out next year, like she has this year."

Sugar Bay, owned and bred by George Strawbridge Jr., will spend the winter with Benson at Payson Park.

"She'll probably start back here next spring," Benson said. "There's a good stakes program for her here on the grass.

"Fortunately, she can run on Polytrack, too. That's the good thing about her."

Jono Jones, who rode Sugar Bay to her two turf stakes scores, leads the jockey standings in stakes won with 14.