11/29/2010 3:33PM

Sand Cove looks to wrap up division title in Sir Barton

Michael Burns
Sand Cove could clinch a Sovereign Award with a strong performance in Wednesday's Sir Barton Stakes at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Sand Cove, the front-runner for Canadian champion older male honors on the main track this year, will take center stage Wednesday at Woodbine Racetrack in the $125,000 Sir Barton Stakes.

Sand Cove was a beaten favorite after carving out the fractions in each of the last two runnings of the Sir Barton, but he hung on for a share both times.

Sand Cove has registered three stakes victories at the meet. He earned a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the restricted Steady Growth in June. He also wired an excellent field that included Stunning Stag and Field Commission in the Grade 3 Seagram on Cup Aug. 8.

Sand Cove has run two strong races, on Polytrack and turf, since finishing a flat third as the prohibitive favorite in the Sept. 6 Elgin Stakes.

“He doesn’t very often throw a bad one,” trainer Roger Attfield said. “He came out of [the Elgin] with a little virus, so we gave him a little time off at the farm. We brought him back in, and he ran a big one.”

Attfield said Sand Cove will probably return to action next year at age 6.

“If he looks the same after this race as he’s looked all year, then we’ll definitely run him next year,” Attfield said.

Richard Dos Ramos will ride Sand Cove, who is the 123-pound highweight in the 12-horse field.

Guipago could be the second betting choice in the 1 1/16-mile route for Ontario-sired runners.

Guipago upset Society’s Chairman when he captured the restricted Halton Stakes over a mile on the grass in September. He subsequently finished sixth of nine in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes and was third behind favored Rahy’s Attorney and Sand Cove in the Bunty Lawless Stakes.

Guipago ran the best Polytrack race of his career Nov. 13 in the 1 1/16-mile Autumn Stakes, in which he came from off a lively pace for fourth. He earned a career-high 88 Beyer in that Grade 2 event, while leaving the likes of Southdale and Big Red Mike in his wake.

Guipago is one of two entrants trained Analisa Delmas, along with Cobotown Ron. Tyler Pizarro was named on both runners.

J J for Dave was in solid allowance form prior to a double-digit loss in the 1 5/8-mile allowance prep for the Valedictory Stakes, a throwout race.