05/28/2012 1:19PM

Woodbine: Something Extra proves up to the challenge of Connaught Cup

Michael Burns
Instead of running in a high-priced optional claimer last weekend, Something Extra handled a tougher assignment by winning the Connaught Cup.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Trainer Gail Cox had entered Something Extra in a fourth-level optional $100,000 claiming race here at Woodbine last Sunday. But, when that race failed to fill, Cox exercised her option to enter Something Extra in Sunday’s Connaught Cup.

Something Extra responded by registering by far the most important win of his career in the Grade 2, $154,200 Connaught Cup, a seven-furlong turf race for 4-year-olds and upward which was run over very firm going.

“I didn’t think the ‘four-other-than’ would go but if you can run them in their conditions, that’s good,” said Cox, who also owns the 4-year-old Something Extra in partnership with John Menary.

Something Extra had made one start this year heading into the Connaught Cup, having finished fourth in the Grade 3 Jacques Cartier here April 7, and had been a vet scratch after being entered in the seven-furlong Vigil four weeks later.

“He had an infected hind leg. It came up the day before,” said Cox. “He was sound. I just would never have run him like that. He was lightly trained, for four or five days, until it came down.”

Something Extra had breezed twice in the interim and obviously was loaded for bear here Sunday as he bounced into the lead under Eurico Rosa Da Silva and never looked back en route to a dominant 2 1/2-length victory.

Da Silva had never sat on Something Extra’s back prior to the “riders up” call in the walking ring but had visited the Cox barn Sunday morning to make acquaintances.

“I told him he had tactical speed,” said Cox, “and that if he broke he could let him go to the front, but he would sit off.”

Cox was somewhat surprised but pleased to see Something Extra on the lead through a 23.00-second quarter and her confidence grew as the gelding maintained a clear advantage through a half-mile of 45.59.

“That’s not that fast, for these horses,” said Cox, who now will be examining her options for Something Extra’s next start. “I always thought he preferred turf, but he doesn’t like it soft. He’s run really well on Poly, anyway.”

Next up for the older male turf division is the Grade 2, $250,000 King Edward, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward which will be run here Queen’s Plate Day, June 24.

“A mile probably is a little bit far for him,” said Cox. “But if the turf was hard, like it was for this race, he’d have a better chance.”