Days before the running of Sunday's New Providence Stakes at Woodbine, rider Todd Kabel admitted Forever Grand had yet to run his best race of 2003. After the Ontario-bred's performance in the $127,625 added-money event, that's no longer the case. It was by no means a flawless trip, but Forever Grand, who broke poorly from the gate and was well back of the early pacesetters, found his best stride late in a thrilling display in the six-furlong New Providence.After closing the gap on his rivals, Forever Grand found himself behind a wall of horses in the late going. Kabel eventually found a narrow gap to charge through, crossing the wire two lengths ahead of Krz Ruckus.Krz Ruckus and Mulligan the Great hooked up in an early speed duel, leading the four-horse field (Barbeau Ruckus was scratched) through an opening quarter-mile in :22.29. Devastating was next in line, while Forever Grand was saddled with the task of catching the front-running duo.
"I had a bad break and I thought right there that it had cost me the race," said Kabel, who tops all Woodbine jockeys with five stakes wins on the year. "You need every edge you can get, but I had enough horse underneath me and he overcame it."Conditioner Robert Tiller was equally impressed with the gutsy effort."I really thought he'd run a big one," said Tiller, who won his fourth stakes race on the campaign. "I was saying to myself, 'Please find some room.' I knew if he got the room, he'd get it."The final time for the race was 1:10.96 over a fast main track.The victory, worth $80,404, boosts Forever Grand's lifetime earnings to an impressive $501,291.He paid $5.40 and $2.70, combining with Krz Ruckus ($2.80) for an $11.90 exacta. There was no show betting available. (Chart, Equibase)