Overlooked Palladio swept past Awesome Rhythm approaching the eighth pole en route to a two-length victory at odds of 9-1 in the $147,965 Autumn Stakes (Can-II) (VIDEO) at Woodbine Nov. 14.
With regular rider Richard Dos Ramos aboard, the 7-year-old Palladio went over the million mark in career earnings. Last after a half-mile, he rallied from between rivals coming off the final turn to challenge Awesome Rhythm, who had a narrow lead, a furlong from home. Driving clear in deep stretch, the winning time for the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack event was 1:43.74.
One of three in the race trained by Roger Attfield, Palladio, a son of Lycius, earned his second win of the season for owner/breeder Haras Santa Maria de Araras. Palladio ran fifth in last year's Autumn.
Attfield was surprised to see the Florida-bred go off at odds of 9-1.
"I've had him since day one and he's a very good horse,” he said. "The race has to have pace and he has to be covered up as long as possible and make a quarter-mile run. I'm surprised he didn't get any respect because I loved him today."
Queen's Plate winner Eye of the Leopard , Stunning Stag and morning line favorite Ice Bear were all scratched from the Autumn, reducing the field to nine.
Palladio was held in reserve at the back of the pack as Awesome Rhythm took the lead out of the gate and led the opening quarter-mile in :24.76 while vying for the advantage with the longshot Crown Isle, racing at the rail. Crown Isle led through a half-mile in :49.71 and six furlongs in 1:14.31 but would soon tire as Awesome Rhythm took over with Pool Play and Sligovitz chasing through the stretch. But it was Palladio, forced to wait for room under Dos Ramos, finishing best of all. He closed from seventh rounding the bend and drew off from Awesome Rhythm.
"Usually, he runs his best race when I can keep him covered up as long as I can," noted Dos Ramos. "There was just a little hole at the top of the lane and I was hoping he didn't hesitate. He didn't and when I got through, I knew it was all over.
“When he does show he up, he's a good horse,” continued Dos Ramos. "Today he was all business when the gates opened up."
Awesome Rhythm, ridden by James McAleney, held on for second by three-quarters of a length over second choice Pool Play, with Patrick Husbands aboard. Sligovitz settled for fourth, a head back of the show horse, with 2-1 favorite Teide a non-threatening fifth.
Palladio, Canada's champion 3-year-old in 2005, captured the Seagram Cup (Can-III) over the course and distance by 1 1/4 lengths in August. Following a third-place finish behind Pool Play in the Durham Cup (Can-III) Oct. 4, Palladio ran third again in an allowance heat at the Autumn distance three weeks later. He led in that race in the stretch before being passed late by Ice Bear and Stunning Stag.
The victory, worth $85,680, was the ninth in 35 starts for the bay horse, who is out of the Mari's Book mare Giola. Palladio boosted his overall earnings to $1,029,055.
Palladio paid $20.40, $7.50, and $5.10, keying a $2 exacta worth $214.30 with the 20-1 shot Awesome Rhythm, who returned $14.80 and $7.80. The closing Pool Play, who came into the race with back-to-back wins for trainer Mark Casse, was $2.90 to show.
The Attfield-trained Sligovitz was followed by Teide, the Hastings Park invader who is now winless in three starts on synthetic tracks in his career. Then came Sr. Henry, Crown Isle, Storm Caller and the Attfield trainee Tutti Buona Gente, who faded after pressing the pace for six furlongs.