06/19/2011 5:45PM

Woodbine: Sand Cove barely manages to hang on for repeat in Steady Growth

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Michael Burns
Sand Cove's clear lead in deep stretch evaporated to a neck in the Steady Growth.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario— Sand Cove won the $125,000 Steady Growth Stakes for the second year in a row in unspectacular fashion at Woodbine on Sunday.

Sand Cove ($3.20) tracked the leading J J for Dave through moderate fractions in the 1 1/16-mile route for Ontario-sired stock. Sand Cove assumed command at the top of the stretch, but only prevailed by a neck after appearing to slow down in the final sixteenth. J J for Dave ran the race of his life to finish a clear second over Lady’s First Cat. The final time was 1:44.61.

Richard Dos Ramos rode Sand Cove for owner Ralph Johnson and trainer Roger Attfield. 

“I wanted to wait as long as I could, because he was carrying 126 pounds,” said Dos Ramos. “He was giving away nine pounds. He got a little bit tired at the sixteenth pole, but class got him there.”

First prize of $75,000 pushed Sand Cove’s earnings past the $1 million mark. It was his second start since being voted the Sovereign Award for champion older male runner in Canada last year.