09/15/2013 4:29PM

Woodbine: Forte Dei Marmi gets first Grade 1 win in Northern Dancer Turf

Michael Burns
Forte Dei Marmi (No. 2) beats stablemate Perfect Timber by a neck in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Forte Dei Marmi ($3.80) held off his Roger Attfield-trained stablemate, 16-1 shot Perfect Timber, to land his first Grade 1 stakes win Sunday at Woodbine in the $315,600 Northern Dancer Turf.

The diminutive Forte Dei Marmi raced in second on the backstretch under red-hot rider Eurico Rosa da Silva, as Stormy Len set moderate middle fractions in the 1 1/2-mile marathon. Forte Dei Marmi hit the front early in the stretch and then held a one-length lead that dwindled in the final sixteenth.

Forte Dei Marmi dug in gamely in deep stretch to prevail by a neck in 2:28.46 over firm ground. Stormy Len weakened to finish a length behind the winner in third and a nose ahead of the lone filly in the field, Irish Mission. Hampstead Heath, Hotep, and early pacesetter Turkish completed the order of finish.

The Northern Dancer was the third straight stakes score at the meet for Forte Dei Marmi, who also won the Grade 2 Sky Classic and the Grade 3 Singspiel. He earned $180,000 on Sunday for owner Stella Perdomo. 

“He’s the best he’s ever been,” Attfield said. “He’s done it now three times in a row, in three different situations. He’s a tough, little horse, and the way he is right now, he’s tough to beat. We gave him a good run down the lane with my other horse.”

The Northern Dancer Turf was the fourth winner on the card for da Silva, who also won the Grade 3 Ontario Derby an hour earlier aboard His Race to Win.