08/09/2010 2:06PM

Weekend stakes stars have different stories


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The trainers of last Sunday’s two stakes winners here presented a study in contrasts.

Roger Attfield, who is 70 years old and saddled his first winner Canadian winner in 1972, was watching Sand Cove become the 348th stakes winner of his career when that 5-year-old defeated three rivals in the $179,100 Seagram Cup at 1 1/16 miles.

Bill Tharrenos, 47, saddled his first winner here in 2005 and was watching Tree Pose become his first stakes winner when the filly outfooted 10 opponents in the $127,400 Nandi at six furlongs.

Sand Cove, an Ontario-sired horse owned by Ralph Johnson, was winning for the ninth time in the Seagram Cup but winning his first graded stakes and just his second open stakes after capturing the 1 1/8 mile Ontario Derby here in 2008.

“He’s usually running in all the different restricted races,” said Attfield. “He’s a tough little campaigner.”

Sand Cove displayed that quality in the Seagram Cup as he made all the pace while pressed throughout and scored by a length under his regular rider, Richard Dos Ramos.

“Richard and I talked about it, and I told him just to let him run his race,” said Attfield. “So often in these small fields, everybody’s worried about everybody else instead of just riding their own horses.”

While Sand Cove now has won 7 times from 21 starts on the Polytrack surface and twice from seven attempts on the turf, Attfield firmly believes that his charge is equally at home on either surface.

“Some of the grass races I’ve run him in really haven’t been ideal races for him,” said Attfield, pointing out last year’s Woodbine Mile as a prime example.

“That obviously was a tough race, and he didn’t run that badly.”

Sand Cove finished eighth in the Woodbine Mile but was beaten just six lengths while coming back less than two weeks after an emphatic score in the 1 1/16-mile Elgin.

The $125,000 Elgin, one of six yearling stakes to be run here Sept. 6, is Sand Cove’s next target.

More than one first

Tree Pose, also sired in Ontario, was registering her first stakes win in just her third career start and also was the first stakes winner for her owner, Gus Diakoloukas, whose nom du course is Six Brothers Stable.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Tharrenos, who also sent out Lucky Be Me to finish third in the Nandi.

“I’m very happy for the owner. He’s been participating for 25 years. He doesn’t spend a lot of money on any one horse, but he’ll buy what you think is right.

“Today was his day to shine.”

Tree Pose, purchased for $9,000 at the Canadian Thoroughbred Society’s open yearling sale, had won her first start and came into the Nandi off a strong second-place finish in Shady Well, a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies.

Roxy Gap arguably is the most talented member of her division currently stabled at Woodbine and Tree Pose, after leading throughout the Nandi and scoring by 1 1/4 lengths under Jono Jones, can’t be far behind.

Tree Pose, who stopped the clock in 1:09.64 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 75, is scheduled to make her next start in the Muskoka, the seven-furlong yearling sales stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

“She’s a very laid-back filly to train,” said Tharrenos. “But, she brings it in the afternoon.”

Stablemate no slouch

While Tree Pose was sent off as the 9-5 favorite her stablemate Lucky Be Me was beaten just 2 1/2 lengths as a 25-1 shot with her regular rider, Dos Ramos, in the irons.

Also a winner first crack out, Lucky Be Me had finished a well-beaten fifth in the Shady Well following what Tharrenos described as a troubled start.

Lucky Be Me, who is owned by her trainer in partnership with Alan Adler, also is yearling-sales stakes eligible after being purchased for $7,000 at the local select sale.

“She ran really good,” said Tharrenos. “She’s been outworking Tree Pose in the morning.”

A third good showing

Kalypso Kerry, also owned by Six Brothers Stable, had been nominated for the Nandi but opted for a restricted 5 1/2-furlong maiden race here last Friday, in which she closed strongly to be beaten 1 1/2 lengths as the third-place finisher.

Yet another bargain purchase, Kalypso Kerry was acquired for $5,500 at the open CTHS yearling session.

“All three of them shipped south to Florida for the winter, so they had a good foundation,” said Tharrenos.

“I’m very pleased with how they have progressed.”

Sharp Secretary scores for Richards

Trainer Lorne Richards has been on a bit of a tear here recently, with 3 wins and a pair of seconds from his last 6 starts.

Last Saturday, Richards sent out Conflicting Report to score for a $25,000 claiming price and added an exclamation mark by saddling Sharp Secretary for her first stakes victory in the $151,200 Duchess for 3-year-old fillies.



“She’s a nice filly – she’s got tons of heart,” said Richards, who trains Sharp Secretary for a partnership racing as Lansdowne Stable.

“But she doesn’t have a fantastic way of moving and the farther you go, you have to take that into consideration.”

“I would try her up to a mile, on turf.”

That opportunity could come here Aug. 28 in the Ontario Colleen, an open race for 3-year-old fillies.

The pickings for Sharp Secretary are slim after that with the $100,000 Ruling Angel, an overnight stakes here Oct. 20, being a long-term target.

“I don’t want to run her a lot,” said Richards. “If I run her three more times this year, I’ll be happy.”

Sharp Secretary, a $1,100 buy at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February sale in 2008, came to the attention of bloodstock agent Dan Kenney, who happens to be a longtime friend of Richards and sold the filly to her current owners.

The $90,000 winner’s share in the Duchess brought Sharp Secretary’s bankroll to $230,664 based on a record of 4-2-0 from 8 starts.


The Duchess was run over seven furlongs, the longest distance over which the New York-bred Sharp Secretary has raced to date.

Eurico Rosa da Silva, who was Sharp Secretary’s fourth rider in her last four outings, kept her off the pace of runaway leader Simply Spiteful and took over when that one spit the bit at the top of the stretch.

The outcome was never really in doubt thereafter, as Sharp Secretary led by 1 1/2 lengths a furlong out and prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths.