09/21/2009 11:00PM

Sterwins's late run pleases his trainer


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The locals had a tough go of it in Woodbine's major events last Sunday, with horses based south of the border taking most of the spoils.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce did his bit to hold up the home front, however, by sending out Sterwins to finish third in the $1 million Woodbine Mile and Much Obliged and Points of Grace to run third and fourth, respectively, in the $300,000 Canadian.

Sterwins, a homebred 6-year-old gelding who races for Eugene Melnyk, lagged behind the field until the top of the stretch and then came with a rush that netted him third money of $126,500 under jockey Patrick Husbands.

"He ran a big race; he really came home fast," Pierce said. "He was disinterested early. I sure thought he'd be sharper and a little more into the race. Whether it would have a made a difference, I don't know."

Much Obliged was beaten a nose and a head after rallying wide in the 1 1/8-mile Canadian, while Points of Grace finished just more than 4 1/4 lengths back after pressing and setting the pace in the turf race for fillies and mares.

"I thought they both ran good, especially Much Obliged," Pierce said. "She deserved to win as well as she ran."

Much Obliged picked up $33,000, while Points of Grace collected $18,000.

Pierce has no particular plan for Sterwins, who has raced over a variety of distances and surfaces this year.

"I just wanted to get through this race," he said.

Much Obliged, who has run just three times this season, is a possibility for the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares here Oct. 17.

Jungle Wave points to Nearctic

Jungle Wave, owned by Tucci Stable and trained here by Sid Attard, ran well to earn fourth money of $60,000 in the Woodbine Mile.

"He ran good; I thought he'd got third," said Attard. Jungle Wave finish just a nose behind Sterwins.

"I knew they were very nice horses, and I think up to seven-eighths is better for him."

Jungle Wave, who had come into the Woodbine Mile off back-to-back turf wins in the 6 1/2-furlong Play the King prep and the Play the King itself, will be pointed for the Grade 2, $500,000 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf race here Oct. 17.

Locally-based Field Commission, Rahy's Attorney, Sand Cove, and Grand Adventure ended in the sixth-through-ninth finishing positions in the Woodbine Mile's field of 10.

Field Commission, owned by Ed Seltzer in partnership with trainer Danny Vella, was beaten just more than 4 1/2 lengths and also is a candidate for the Nearctic.

"I thought he ran a good race," Vella said. "If you'd told me at the start of the year that he'd get beat a half-length for third in the Woodbine Mile, I'd have been shocked and pleased."

Field Commission had closed well in his two previous turf outings, ending second in both the six-furlong Highlander and in the Play the King.

"Now, I believe a mile is a touch past his best distance," Vella said.

Field Commission also had a late rider change as Robert Landry was in the irons for the first time since last August.

Julien Leparoux had been named but was taken off by the stewards after the Jockeys' Benefit Association of Canada protested that he did not have the proper documentation to ride for a Canadian owner. Although a minority owner of Field Commission, Vella is Canadian.

Edward Seltzer, the majority owner of Field Commission, is American.

Rahy's Attorney, the defending champion in the Woodbine Mile, forced the early pace of Grand Adventure and gave way.

"The horse is in good order," trainer Ian Black said. "He just hasn't got the ability to run a half in 46 followed by another half in 46. It's as simple as that, and that's what he would have had to do to win."

Rahy's Attorney could make his next appearance here in the $125,000 Bunty Lawless, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up here Oct. 24.

His opponents there could include Sand Cove, who was beaten six lengths for it all, and a head by Rahy's Attorney, in the Woodbine Mile.

"I thought it was a very good effort," trainer Roger Attfield said. "He was coming back in 13 days, which is tough anyway, and it was a big step up for him. He's a genuine little racehorse."

Grand Adventure finished 4 1/2 lengths behind Sand Cove after setting the pace.

"He ran real well to the eighth pole," trainer Mark Frostad said. "It was throwing him to the wolves a little bit, but it was right here on our home grounds.

"We'll see what comes up for him. The Nearctic is a possibility."

Marchfield to Canadian International

Marchfield, the 3-1 second choice in Sunday's Grade 1 Northern Dancer over 1 1/2 miles of turf, was beaten just more than three lengths as the fifth-place finisher after experiencing some traffic problems in upper stretch under regular rider Patrick Husbands.

"When he was forced to alter course in the stretch, he ended up on part of the course you didn't want to be on," Casse said.

"When you run against average horses, you can have things go wrong and win. With good horses, you can't do that. We'll just chalk it up and go on to the Canadian International."

Medjool, a second starter for Casse in the Northern Dancer, wound up on an unexpected lengthy lead and faltered to finish eighth in the field of nine.

The plan had been for Medjool to sit second behind Marlang, who looked like the speed of the field. But when Marlang steadied at the break, Medjool took off with jockey Corey Fraser.

"He was running off, getting out on one line the entire way," Casse said.