06/17/2011 12:18PM

Woodbine: Sand Cove going for repeat in Steady Growth


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The brilliant Sand Cove, last year’s champion older male runner in Canada, will try to win the $125,000 Steady Growth Stakes for the second year in a row Sunday at Woodbine.

Sand Cove will be a short-priced favorite as the 126-pound highweight in the 1 1/16-mile route for Ontario-sired stock. He had a productive campaign last year at age 5, during which he won 4 stakes in 9 starts, for earnings of nearly $400,000.

Sand Cove registered a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the 2010 Steady Growth. He captured two other Ontario-sired stakes last year, the Overskate and Sir Barton, along with the Grade 3 Seagram Cup Stakes.

Following a winter layoff, Sand Cove finished a troubled sixth in the May 22 New Providence Stakes. Trainer Roger Attfield said he used the six-furlong New Providence as a springboard towards longer engagements.

“He doesn’t really want to sprint, anyway,” Attfield said. “We did the same thing with him last year. He got beat in his first few starts. He’s been working well.”

Attfield said Sand Cove was a deserving winner of the Sovereign Award, and he anticipates another fruitful campaign this year.

“He seems capable of going on for another year, for sure,” Attfield predicted.

Richard Dos Ramos will ride Sand Cove, who will vault over the $1 million mark in career earnings with a victory.

Trainer Ian Black aided in delivering Steady Growth, the 1979 Queen’s Plate winner, when he managed Kinghaven Farm. He will saddle the late-running J J for Dave.

J J for Dave just missed in a seven-furlong allowance in his first start off the sidelines April 10. He subsequently finished third and fourth, in a pair of allowance routes.

“He’s very pace-sensitive,” said Black. “He probably won’t get much pace to run at on Sunday, either. Last time, he was very wide turning for home. He was closing, but he wasn’t exactly mowing them down. He was plugging away. When it’s all said and done, maybe he’s better off going seven-eighths, when he has some pace to run at.”

Lady’s First Cat was third in last year’s Steady Growth, and he went on to win a first and second-level allowance. He’s stretching out off two mediocre efforts in third-level allowance/optional-claiming company.

Race for Gold is competing around two turns for the first time off a wide fifth-place finish in the New Providence.