Smokey Fire, making his stakes debut for trainer Sid Attard, took the lead approaching mid-stretch and held off Field Commission for a three-quarters of a length victory in the $159,787 Kennedy Road (Can-III) (VIDEO) at Woodbine Nov. 21.
With Emma-Jayne Wilson at the controls for the first time, Jim Dandy Stable's Ontario-bred 4-year-old son of Smoke Glacken caused a mild upset at odds of 6-1 when favored El Brujo failed to threaten. Smokey Fire, who had been the choice in all seven of his prior races, was coming off a one-length win in an optional claiming allowance race over the Polytrack course at six furlongs Oct. 17. He registered his fourth win in his first season of competition.
Grade II winner Field Commission, with James McAleney aboard, finished a clear second by 1 1/4 lengths over Signature Red, who headed Grazettes Landing for third. The final time for the six-furlong race was 1:08.49.
Jungle Wave, expected to set the pace from the rail after the scratch of You Don't Pass, was away slowly, allowing the outsider Home for Harlan to dictate the pace through an opening quarter-mile fraction of :22.39 with Bogue Chitto and Signature Red chasing.
Signature Red, with Chantal Sutherland aboard, put a head in front as they completed a half-mile in :44.81. Smokey Fire, stalking the leaders on the outside, made his bid four wide on the turn and soon challenged for the lead. Smokey Fire was in control just past mid-stretch as Field Commission put in his run through the lane and overtook Signature Red on the far outside. But Smokey Fire held Field Commission in check all the way to the wire while all out for Wilson.
Signature Red, also from the Attard barn, held off Grazettes Landing, closing at the rail, for third. Then came Storm Treasure, Jungle Wave, 19-10 choice El Brujo, Bogue Chitto and Home for Harlan.
"It couldn't have worked out any better," said Wilson. "He's an impressive horse to look at and he's just as impressive to sit on."
Attard was especially pleased with the Ontario-bred's gutsy performance.
"We nominated three, (including Jungle Wave)," noted Attard. "We were supposed to run Smokey Fire and Signature Red in a conditioned non-winners of three-other-than-maiden or claiming at 6 1/2 furlongs. The races didn't go. We gave them a shot.
"He's on his way to Kentucky on Tuesday. That's it for him this year. We're hoping he's going to be a nice horse next year."
El Brujo was hung out wide on the turn while racing near the back of the pack and was not a factor.
Never out of the money in his eight starts, Smokey Fire improved his career mark to 4-3-1 with earnings of $250,359. The Kennedy Road victory was worth $96,741. Mel P. Lawson (Jim Dandy Stable) bred the winning gray/roan gelding. He is out of the Housebuster mare Destroy.
Smokey Fire paid $15.30, $8.40, and $5.30, topping an exacta worth $101.30. Field Commission, coming off a win in the Nearctic Stakes (Can-IIT) on the Woodbine turf for trainer and co-owner Daniel Vella, returned $6.60 and $4.50. Signature Red, also in his stakes debut for Attard, was $12.80 to show.