Sterwins turned in probably the race of his life when he came from behind to defeat Rahy's Attorney by a head for the Connaught Cup (Can-IIIT) while setting a course record at Woodbine last month. The question in the upcoming $300,000 King Edward Stakes (Can-IIT) is whether the Eugene Melnyk homebred can do it again.
The 1 1/8-mile turf event June 27 not only brings together Sterwins, Rahy's Attorney, and the third-place Connaught finisher, Society's Chairman, for what should be a terrific Woodbine rematch. The King Edward also marks the return to action of Marlang, front-running winner of last summer's Breeders' Stakes, the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Seven are entered in the King Edward, which includes a $50,000 Breeders' Cup purse enhancement.
Sterwins, rallying from last in the May 24 Connaught Cup, closed six wide under Patrick Husbands to collar the favored Rahy's Attorney, who fought back in deep stretch. Sterwins, though, got up late with a final surge. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile trek was 1:38.99, which broke a 14-year-old course record.
Trained by Malcolm Pierce and ridden once again by Husbands, Sterwins will break from the rail this time. The 6-year-old Runaway Groom gelding owns a 7-6-3 lifetime record in 21 starts. As in his previous start, Sterwins will carry 121 pounds while receiving five pounds from Rahy's Attorney.
The Connaught Cup was the first start in six months for Rahy's Attorney, who had a two-length advantage with a furlong to run. Upset winner of last September's Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), the 5-year-old Crown Attorney gelding is trained by Ian Black, who puts Slade Callaghan aboard once again. They'll break from post 3 while toting top weight.
Rahy's Attorney has made 18 of his 20 career starts at Woodbine, winning seven times. Black also entered the multiple graded stakes-placed Wollemi Pine.
Charging late in the Connaught Cup but coming up 1 1/2 lengths short was Society's Chairman. The 6-year-old Roger Attfield trainee has not been out of the money in four starts this year after a 2008 campaign in which he won four of nine. The son of Not Impossible has a 5-3-2 overall mark in 13 starts. Jono Jones retains the mount.
Gustav Schickedanz’s homebred Marlang has not raced since a 10th-place finish in last October's Canadian International (Can-IT), his first stakes start against older runners. In a 9-1 surprise, Marlang controlled the pace in last season's 12-furlong Breeders' Stakes and held sway by nearly three lengths under Richard Dos Ramos, who has been aboard for all of the Langfuhr colt's races.
Trained by Deborah England, Marlang ventured away from Woodbine just once in his nine-race career, capturing Saratoga's 1 3/16-mile Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT), also in gate-to-wire fashion by nearly two lengths. The layoff is a big question for Marlang, although the bay returned from a six-month hiatus to break his maiden by six lengths in May 2008.
Also in the field is French Beret, who ran fifth in the Connaught Cup. Baletti travels north for trainer Angel Penna Jr. to make his stakes debut after winning three of four against allowance company in the U.S.
$300,000 King Edward Stakes (Can-IIT, Race 7, 4:01 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Sterwins (ON), P Husbands, 121, M Pierce
2. Society's Chairman (ON), J Jones, 119, R L Attfield
3. Rahy's Attorney (ON), S Callaghan, 126, I Black
4. Marlang (ON), R A Dos Ramos, 121, D England
5. French Beret (ON), E R Da Silva, 121, M R Frostad
6. Wollemi Pine (KY), E Wilson, 115, I Black
7. Baletti (KY), R Maragh, 115, A J Penna Jr.
Equipment Changes: Wollemi Pine - Blinkers off