Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield saddled Stella Perdomo’s Musketier to victory in the 2009 and 2011 editions of the Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT). Now he’s hoping for a third score in the 1 ½-mile test with the 10-year-old iron horse, who has at least hit the board in graded stakes company every year he’s raced since 2004.
Musketier, a six-time graded stakes winner, is joined by 7-year-old stablemate Simmard --winner of the May 26 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) last time out--to complete an Attfield-trained duo of veteran co-highweights for the $150,000 Singspiel at Woodbine June 24. Both runners carry 125 pounds against five other rivals in the eighth race on the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes undercard, with an approximate post time of 4:16 p.m. ET.
These particular stablemates are no strangers to running together. In fact, the two have gone postward in six of the same races, including the 2011 Singspiel, won by Musketier in which Simmard finished fourth; the 2011 William L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT), taken by Musketier with Simmard a half-length back in second; and the Feb. 26 Mac Diarmida Stakes (gr. IIT), which Simmard won while Musketier ran third.
“They both really enjoy the mile and a half on the turf, and there’s quite a limited amount of races at that distance, so that’s why quite often they’ve run against each other,” Attfield remarked. “They’ve both been really good troupers for me.”
Musketier, a son of German stallion Acatenango out of the Linamix mare Myth and Reality, was bred in Germany by Gestut Gorlsdorf and has 46 starts under his girth, 24 of them in Europe from his 2-year-old season to his 5-year-old year. Simmard, by Dixieland Band out of the Spectacular Bid mare Dibs was bred in Kentucky by Haras Santa Maria de Araras S. A. and has run 31 times, all in North America. Both runners tend to be forwardly placed in the first tier of horses--Musketier, who ran second to Gio Ponti in the 2009 edition of the Man o’ War Stakes (gr. IT), moves from fourth or fifth to kick clear, while Simmard is generally just behind the pacesetter in second or third by the second point of call.
This year, Musketier comes off a fourth-place finish in the April 27 Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland, a race he won in 2011 and 2010. Simmard is more recently raced, his last start a victory in the May 26 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) off a third in the Elkhorn. The Dixieland Band runner, formerly owned by Attfield, was sold privately after the Louisville Handicap and will race under new colors for Antonio Francesco. Ramon Dominguez will get the mount on the former, while Corey Nakatani rides the latter.
Windways Farm Limited’s Solitaire, who closed for second in a June 2 allowance event going 1 ¼ miles at Woodbine last time out, was sixth in the 2011 edition of the Singspiel and runner-up by 3 ¾ lengths in 2010. The son of Victory Gallop won the John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga in 2009 for owner William L. Clifton Jr. and was third in the Queen’s Plate in 2008, but has contested only allowance and claiming events since last running in the Singspiel for trainer H. James Bond.
Terra Racing Stable’s Big Red Mike was the wire-to-wire winner of that June 2 allowance in the second start of his 2012, but has not won a stakes since taking the 2010 Queen’s Plate for trainer Nicholas Gonzalez.
Stronach Stables’ homebred City Wolf, a son of Giant's Causeway who strung together a four-race win streak in 2011 that culminated with a victory in the Durham Cup (gr. III), is closest in weight to the Attfield duo at 122 while trying turf for the first time. Trainer Reade Baker saddled the 5-year-old horse to an 11th-place finish most recently in the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse Stakes (gr. III) over the all-weather surface May 26.
Sam-Son Farm’s Cognashene, winner of a May 26 allowance by a nose going 1 1/16 miles on the turf for trainer Malcolm Pierce, and Celtic Conviction, fifth in the same event for Dura Racing and Michael J. Doyle, who also trains, complete the field.
$150,000 Singspiel Stakes (CAN-IIIT, Race 8, 4:16 p.m. ET) 3YOs & Up, 1 ½ Miles (Turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Celtic Conviction (ON), E. Ramsammy, 118, M J Doyle
2. City Wolf (KY), E. Wilson, 122, R Baker
3. Simmard (KY), C. Nakatani, 125, R L Attfield
4. Solitaire (ON), L. Contreras, 118, H J Bond
5. Big Red Mike (ON), E. R. Da Silva, 118, N Gonzalez
6. Musketier (GER), R. A. Dominguez, 125, R L Attfield
7. Cognashene (ON), P. Husbands, 118, M Pierce