Patena, an impressive maiden winner last out, had no problem in his first stakes test, as the 2-year-old Seeking the Gold colt gamely hung on for a narrow victory in the $150,000 Display Stakes on a cold and snowy day at Woodbine Dec. 6.
Sent off as the third choice in a field of 11 juveniles, Patena broke from the inside post and stayed within striking distance of the pacesetters under Robert Landry. He launched his winning move around the far turn, came on even terms with Hooh Why nearing the quarter-pole, and prevailed by a head after a long stretch duel. The bay colt completed 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack in 1:44.72 while routing for the first time.
Hooh Why, under Justin Stein, was 1 1/4 lengths better than third-place Red Leader. Bear’s Rocket was fourth.
Trained by Josie Carroll, Patena was making his fourth career start, all of which have come in Toronto. He broke his maiden at third asking Nov. 9, going seven furlongs in wire-to-wire fashion during his 5 1/4-length romp.
Patena was bred in Kentucky by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm and N.E.T.P, and is out of the A.P. Indy mare Handpainted. He was a $250,000 yearling purchase for John and Glenn Sikura and Dominic Dilalla. Carroll also trained Handpainted.
“Physically, there are a lot of similarities between the two,” offered Carroll. “This horse was going to take a little time. The owners let me take as much time between races and it's certainly paid off.”
Hooh Why broke sharply from post five and took the field around in fractions of :23.93, :48.92 and 1:13.12. D’Artagnan stalked the pace for a half-mile, while Unbridle’s Dream and Bear’s Rocket were also close up early on.
Patena closed ground on Hooh Why until finally taking a narrow advantage at the eighth pole. They battled the length of the stretch before Patena edged away late.
“I’ve always really liked this horse,” said Landry, who is closing in on 2,000 career wins. “Josie’s done a great job with him and gave him a chance to develop. He’s a good, little horse. When you ride those kind of horses, it makes our job really easy.”
Patena paid $10.50, $5 and $3.40. The exacta (1-5) returned $95.20, while the trifecta (1-5-10) was worth $471.80.