Gran Estreno, claimed for $20,000 on two different occasions this year, was installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the $150,000 Durham Cup (Can-III) Oct. 4 at Woodbine.
A 6-year-old son of Lucky Roberto—Great Stampa, by Senor Pete, Gran Estreno has reeled off six consecutive wins, five of them for his new connections. His latest victory came in the Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) Sept. 5 at Arlington Park when he went wire-to-wire to win the 1 3/8-mile Polytrack event. Prior to that, the Argentine-bred horse scored the Claiming Crown Emerald at Canterbury Park in July.
Gran Estreno, a group I winner in Argentina who will make his first start at Woodbine, was claimed by Larry Rivelli for Richard Ravin prior to winning a $20,000 claimer at Gulfsteam Park March 27. One start later he was plucked for the same tag by Michael Stidham for Feel The Thunder Stable out of an Arlington Park race on May 1. He went on to win that contest by more than 12 lengths.
Stidham has named regular rider E.T. Baird for the nine-furlong Durham Cup. They will break from post 2.
The 3-1 second choice is defending Durham Cup titleholder Palladio. Trained by Roger Atffield, 7-year-old Palladio defeated Marchfield by three-quarters of a length is the 2008 Durham Cup and has come back this season to take the Seagram Cup (Can-III) over the same strip. But in his most recent start the son of Lycius was fifth, beaten three lengths by Gran Estreno in the Washington Park Handicap.
Winner of the 2005 Ohio Derby (gr. II), Palladio will break from post 9 and be ridden by Richard Anthony Dos Ramos.
Also in with a good chance in Augustin Stable’s Ice Bear, winner of the Eclipse Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine in July. A 5-year-old gelded son of Maria's Mon, Ice Bear enters off a 1 1/16-mile allowance score at Woodbine on Sept. 11, a race where he defeated Sligovitz by a length. Sligovitz came back to finish third in the Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. III) Sept. 26 at Turfway Park. Chantel Sutherland will ride for Mac Benson.
$150,000 Durham Cup (Can-III, Race 8, 4:30 p.m.), 3YO & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds 1. Pool Play (ON), P Husbands, 117, M E Casse, 15/1
2. Gran Estreno (ARG), E T Baird, 121, M Stidham, 2/1
3. Catch the Luck (ON), E R Da Silva, 117, M R Frostad, 15/1
4. Tiz Late (KY), W Martinez, 117, M J Trombetta, 8/1
5. Alezzandro (ON), T Kabel, 117, K Attard, 10/1
6. Marlang (ON), J C Jones, 117, D England, 15/1
7. Chief Bear (KY), E Ramsammy, 117, B A Pirie, 20/1
8. Ice Bear (ON), C Sutherland, 121, M Benson, 4/1
9. Palladio (FL), R A Dos Ramos, 121, R L Attfield, 3/1