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Woodbine: Attfield brings maiden to Breeders'
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Roger Attfield has trained a record eight winners of the Breeders’ Stakes, the 1 1/2-mile turf race that is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and will be run here at Woodbine on Sunday,
Attfield has won the Breeders’ with standouts With Approval, Izvestia, and Peteski, all of whom were completing sweeps of the series for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.
He has won the Breeders’ with the fillies Carotene, Free Vacation, Pinafore Park, and Sweetest Thing.
And his most recent Breeders’ win came with Perfect Shower, who had just won his maiden for a $25,000 claiming price and was a 46-1 chance.
But Attfield will be looking to add a new wrinkle to his Breeders’ résumé when he enters Diego Bay, who is a maiden after three starts, on Thursday.
“I could have entered him in a maiden race Friday, but it was only a mile and a sixteenth, and that’s too short for him,” said Attfield.
“He’s training really well, so I’ll give him a go at the mile and a half. The maiden race will still be there in a couple of weeks.”
Diego Bay, a homebred who races for Stronach Stable, has been showing improvement.
After trailing badly through most of his debut, Diego Bay closed to finish 7 3/4 lengths behind the winner in a 1 1/16-mile race here May 15.
Switched to turf but cutting back to a mile for his second start, Diego Bay rallied into second place in midstretch before weakening slightly to finish third.
And in his most recent start, on July 16, Diego Bay again came from off the pace to finish fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, at 1 1/4 miles on the turf.
“He finished well there,” said Attfield, noting that Diego Bay had come up just a neck short of the third-place finisher.
Richard Dos Ramos, who won last year’s Breeders’ with the maiden and first-time turf starter Miami Deco at 65-1, has picked up the mount on Diego Bay.
Dos Ramos had been scheduled to ride Nanaimo for trainer Barbara Minshall but that horse was removed from Breeders’ consideration on Wednesday.
“He had a little bit of mucus, and it wasn’t cleared up 100 percent, so we decided not to run,” said Minshall.
Dos Ramos also won the 1986 Breeders’ with Carotene and the 2008 running with Marlang.
Stunning Split shedding blinkers
Stunning Split, a homebred who races for Sam-Son Farm and is trained by Malcolm Pierce, will be looking for his first career win while making his ninth start in the Breeders’ and finishing fifth in the July 16 maiden race.
“Obviously, I believe the horse shouldn’t still be a maiden,” said Pierce, noting that Stunning Split had been beaten just a half-length here June 10 in a 1 1/16-mile turf race won by Clement Rock, who has gone on to win the Charlie Barley and the Toronto Cup.
Stunning Split had been prominent throughout that race, looking like a winner when he was three lengths clear with a furlong to go, and Pierce made an equipment change for his most recent start.
“I took the blinkers off, with this race in mind,” said Pierce, who already was considering a Breeders’ run. “He’d been running too close to the lead, until his last race. I think we’ll be looking for a happy medium this weekend.
Stunning Split had raced in 10th place, some 10 lengths off the pace, before coming on to be beaten 2 3/4 lengths for all the money in that most recent outing.
Patrick Husbands was aboard that day but was otherwise engagead for the Breeders’, and Pierce has gone to Jim McAleney, who won the 2001 Breeders’ with Sweetest Thing.
“I think this horse is going to get the distance,” said Pierce. “I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.”
Keough: Delawana can rate
Delawana, a front-running winner of the July 16 maiden race at 80-1 under rider David Moran, also will be making his stakes debut in the Breeders’.
“He always acted like he’d go long,” said Mike Keogh, who trains the homebred Delawana for owner Gustav Schickedanz.
“He’s never shown any speed at all. He just gallops around, at a nice pace.”
Delawana, who had started twice as a 2-year-old, wintered with Keogh in South Carolina and was making his fourth start of this meeting when he graduated at 1 1/4 miles with blinkers added to his equipment.
“I’d galloped him in blinkers a couple of times, and I’d put them on for his last work,” said Keogh. “I think they helped him a bit.
“I was a little surprised he paid so much. I thought he’d run better.
“But, he doesn’t need the lead. If somebody else wants the lead, he’ll rate off him.”
Keogh and Schickedanz won the 2003 Breeders’ with Wando, who was completing his Canadian Triple Crown run.
Sand Cove in Seagram Cup defense
Attfield and Dos Ramos will be teaming up here Saturday with Sand Cove, who will be looking to defend his title in the Grade 3, $150,000 Seagram Cup.
The 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup has attracted a field of seven that also includes a second Attfield trainee in Hollinger.
Sand Cove, a 6-year-old horse owned by Ralph Johnson, will be making his third start of the season and his first since winning the restricted Steady Growth at 1 1/16 miles here June 19.
“I skipped the seven-furlong race to go in here,” said Attfield, referring to the July 13 Ontario Jockey Club, an overnight turf stakes.
“He’s going to have to step up a bit, but he’s doing very well.”
Hollinger, a 4-year-old colt owned by Bob Harvey and Al Wortzman, will be making his first start on Polytrack since finishing a disappointing last of eight in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here last June.
“I wasn’t going to run him on it, but he’s been working very well on it, and I think he should have the benefit of the doubt,” said Attfield.
Hollinger, who will have regular rider Tyler Pizarro aboard, is coming off a third-place finish in the Ontario Jockey Club.
Banner Bill headed to Spa
Banner Bill breezed five furlongs in 1:01 under regular rider David Clark here Wednesday morning and is scheduled to ship out on Monday for the Aug. 15 Saratoga Special.
“I want him to have time to gallop over that track, and maybe have an easy blowout,” said Ralph Biamonte, who trains the Illinois-bred Banner Bill for Ron Magers, Bob Marcocchio, and partners.
Banner Bill is perfect in three starts here, with his victories including the five-furlong Victoria and the six-furlong Colin in his latest start on July 16.
The Saratoga Special, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-olds, offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $150,000.
“I want him to have time to gallop over that track, and maybe have an easy blowout,” said Biamonte, who has recruited Alex Solis for the Saratoga Special mount.