Rahy's Attorney, upset winner of the $1 million Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) last year, returns to his favorite track for the first start of his 2009 campaign in the $150,000 Connaught Cup (Can-IIIT) May 24.
Ellie-Boje Farm’s Ontario homebred made the first 17 starts of his career at Woodbine, becoming a millionaire thanks to his 1 1/4-length win as a 12-1 outsider in the Woodbine Mile, which was contested on a yielding turf Sept. 7. The 5-year-old son of Crown Attorney also won the Connaught Cup in 2008 at odds of 16-1.
This year's 1 1/16-mile Connaught Cup drew seven to the Woodbine lawn. Included in the field are two horses that Rahy's Attorney defeated in the 2008 renewal, Society's Chairman and French Beret.
Trained by Ian Black, Rahy's Attorney defeated Ventura and top American miler Kip Deville in last year's Woodbine Mile. After stalking the pace to mid-turn, the bay gelding took over from there, opening a clear lead in the homestretch for jockey Slade Callaghan and holding on in an all-out drive over the charging Ventura.
Rahy's Attorney would run twice more in 2008, finishing sixth in the Shadwell Turf MIle (gr. IT) in October and ninth in the Mile Championship (Jpn-I) at Kyoto Nov. 23. Those were Rahy's Attorney's only starts away from Woodbine in a 19-race career that includes seven victories and earnings of $1,133,979. He has never finished out of the money in five tries at the 1 1/16-mile distance, winning three times.
Callaghan, who has guided Rahy's Attorney since landing aboard for last year's Connaught Cup, has the mount once again. They will break from post 3 with top weight of 126 pounds.
Society's Chairman defeated Parading , who won the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico May 16, by a nose in a 1 1/16-mile allowance over the Keenland lawn April 4.
Second by a half-length to Rahy's Attorney in this race in 2008, the 6-year-old son of Not Impossible is seeking his first graded stakes score for trainer Roger Attfield and owner Charles E. Fipke. Society's Chairman began his career last year and has won five of 12 starts.
French Beret looks to get back to the winner's circle after opening the 2009 campaign with a nose victory in the Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) on a 'good' Fair Grounds turf Jan. 10. Trained by Mark Frostad , Sam-Son Farm's homebred has lost three straight since. The 6-year-old Broad Brush gelding 's most recent try resulted in a second-place dead-heat finish in a high-priced allowance heat on the Keeneland grass April 9.
While earning $695,890 in his career, French Beret has won only four times in 37 starts and is 2-for-22 at Woodbine. He finished third in last year's Connaught Cup.
Artic Cry seems poised for a big effort following a game runner-up finish to Kiss the Kid in Gulfstream Park's 7 1/2-furlong Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) March 28 for owner/trainer Eddie Kenneally. Artic Cry yielded late after leading in the stretch. The 4-year-old Rahy gelding won back-to-back starts over the Gulfstream lawn prior to that, both at route distances. Robert Landry jumps aboard the lone Kentucky bred in the field.
Firestone Farm homebred Mike Fox has won just once in six outings since taking the 2007 Queen's Plate. Winless in three starts on turf, the 5-year-old Giant's Causeway horse has not raced since finishing sixth in Woodbine's With Approval Stakes last August.
The winner of that race, Augustin Stable's Ice Bear, also makes his seasonal debut here. The Maria's Mon 5-year-old ran third to Marchfield in the Autumn Stakes (Can-II) in his last start for trainer Mac Benson Nov. 9.
Melnyk Racing Stables' homebred Sterwins makes his third start for trainer Malcolm Pierce following an 8 1/2-month layoff. In his most recent effort, the 6-year-old gelding tired to fifth in Keeneland's Ben Ali (gr. III) over Polytrack April 19. Patrick Husbands rides.
$150,000 Connaught Cup Stakes (Can-IIIT, Race 7, 4:02 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Society's Chairman (ON), J C Jones, 119
2. Ice Bear (ON), C Sutherland, 117
3. Rahy's Attorney (ON), S Callaghan, 126
4. French Beret (ON), E R Da Silva, 121
5. Artic Cry (KY), R C Landry, 115
6. Mike Fox (ON), E Wilson, 115
7. Sterwins (ON), P Husbands, 121