10/20/2011 12:27PM

Woodbine: Sand Cove, Society’s Chairman retired

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Michael Burns
Sand Cove, the Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s top older male of 2010, has been retired.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Sand Cove and Society’s Chairman, a pair of Ontario-sired horses who have combined to win 19 races and more than $1.8 million, have been retired.

“Ideally, they’ll stand in Ontario somewhere,” said Roger Attfield, who has trained both Sand Cove and Society’s Chairman throughout their careers. “They probably could have run again, but they were going to retire at the end of this year anyway. They’ve done enough. They’ve been good to us. I think they’d be good Ontario-sired stallions.”

Sand Cove, a 6-year-old owned by Ralph Johnson, will go to stud with a record of 12-5-7 and earnings of $1,073,282 from 36 starts and a Sovereign Award as Canada’s top older male of 2010.

His portfolio includes nine stakes wins, all at Woodbine, topped by last year’s Grade 3 Seagram Cup at 1 1/16 miles and the open Ontario Derby at 1 1/8 miles during his 3-year-old campaign.

Sand Cove also won two runnings of the Steady Growth plus the Elgin, Overskate, and Sir Barton on the main track and the Bunty Lawless and Vice Regent on the turf.

“He’s been so versatile,” Attfield said. “He’s won on synthetics, he’s won on turf, he’s won at five furlongs and a mile and an eighth.

“He’s just a very, very tough, honest racehorse.”

Society’s Chairman, an 8-year-old turf specialist owned by Chuck Fipke and George Waud, retires with a record of 7-7-7 for earnings of $793,521 from 30 starts.

His r é sum é includes victories in Gulfstream’s Grade 3 Appleton over 1 1/16 miles and two editions of the Woodbine’s Halton.

Society’s Chairman also finished second in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, ran third there in two editions of the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark, and placed in four other graded stakes, including three here at Woodbine.

“He’s been around everywhere, and he’s been a very solid competitor,” Attfield said. “He always runs well. He runs his heart out.”

Attfield acknowledges that it will be tough to fill the gaps left in his stable by the departure of the two warriors.

“They were two very genuine horses who have always been a pleasure to be around,” Attfield said. “You always knew they were going to go out and give their best. And that’s all you can expect from any man or beast as far as I’m concerned.”

Bug’s Boy back on turf in stakes

Can Bug’s Boy bounce back in the Bunty Lawless?

Bug’s Boy, trained by John LeBlanc, became a stakes winner here at age 8 when he rallied from well back to defeat the odds-on Society’s Chairman in the Halton Stakes over one mile of good turf here Sept. 5.

But in his next appearance, which came on the main track in the seven-furlong Overskate on Sept. 28, Bug’s Boy found himself on the lead early but backed up to finish seventh in the field of eight.

“He’s feeling good,” said LeBlanc, who trains Bug’s Boy for his wife, Maggie, and son, Douglas. “I’m looking forward to getting him back on the turf. I just hope he gets the same trip.”

Bug’s Boy was 74-1 when he ran the race of his career in the Halton and will be coming back at the same distance on the same surface under regular rider Omar Moreno for the Bunty Lawless.

Last Saturday, LeBlanc was in the irons when Bug’s Boy drilled five furlongs in 59.20 seconds.

“He spotted a couple of horses, just sat in behind, and then made a run at them,” said LeBlanc, who is inclined to discount Bug’s Boy’s performance in the Overskate.

“He got out of the gate a little too sharply, and Omar just miscalculated,” LeBlanc said. “He was anticipating a little more speed to go, but he got the lead. The first couple of strides are the key, to get him covered up. Once he got going, he couldn’t stop him. I know it’s not the first time it’s happened to a rider.”

LeBlanc has a second Bunty Lawless entrant in Peter’s Charisma, a 5-year-old gelding who is owned by Maggie LeBlanc in partnership with Michael and John Young.

Peter’s Charisma will be cutting back in distance after finishing a non-threatening seventh in a $32,000 starter allowance over 1 3/4 miles of turf here Oct. 9. Two starts earlier, he had been a front-running winner of a first-level allowance over 1 1/4 miles of grass.

“I didn’t want him being on the engine at a mile and three-quarters with other speed in the race,” LeBlanc said. “But, he just got too far out of it and he just didn’t run his race.

“He came back like a firecracker. That’s the only reason I considered bringing him back in this race.”

While LeBlanc would not go so far as say that Peter’s Charisma would be acting as a rabbit for Bug’s Boy, he did allow that one’s presence definitely would not hurt the other’s.

“They have completely different running styles,” LeBlanc said. “Peter’s a front-end runner. He likes to press the pace. And, on the off chance that the race might come off the turf, I’d probably stay in there with just him. Bug’s Boy is just not a two-turn horse.”

Autumn prep fails to fill

It’s been a tough year for older males looking to run in stakes preps here.

The prep for the Nov. 12 Autumn Stakes was the latest casualty as the $89,400 allowance race was offered for Friday and carried over to Saturday before being put to rest.

The Eclipse, Dominion Day, and Seagram Cup were the other open two-turn stakes for older horses on Polytrack here this year, and their allowance preps also failed to fill.

“I just don’t think we have as many good older horses as we need to make those races go,” said Steve Lym, racing secretary and a director of racing for the Woodbine Entertainment Group. “I think three weeks between a prep and a stakes is enough time. The preps have always been light to go in the last few years, and with the addition of more overnight stakes they go even less.’

An overnight stakes, which requires a field of five to be carded, offers a purse of $100,000 but also has black-type implications for the participants.

Buick fined $4K for whip violation

Jockey William Buick has been fined $4,000 after the stewards cited him for “raising his hand above his head while urging his mount, I’m A Dreamer” during the running of last Sunday’s Grade 1 $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes.

I’m A Dreamer finished second, a head behind Miss Keller and a nose before third-place finisher Dream Peace.

Under the Ontario Racing Commission’s penalty guidelines for whip violations in stakes races, Buick’s fine was based on 20 percent of his earnings, which would have equated to $20,000 based on his share of the $200,000 second money.