While Sam-Son Farms celebrated its sixth victory in the $249,576 Coronation Futurity, trainer Malcolm Pierce got the trophy in the 1 1/8-mile contest for the first time on Saturday when Up With the Birds rallied from last to score by 3 1/2 lengths under a hand ride.
Jockey Eurico da Silva allowed the son of Stormy Atlantic to settle in the back of the six-juvenile field as first Star Contender, then Bookies Nightmare led the way through splits of :23 4/5, :48 and 1:13 3/5. Rounding the turn, Up With the Birds began picking off horses while widest of all and easily drew up with Star Contender, who had regained the advantage entering the lane.
Living up to his name, Up With the Birds flew past that rival and drew off under a hand ride from da Silva to stop the clock in 1:51 over Woodbine's Polytrack.
Da Silva was full of praise for the strong conditioning job by Pierce to ready the colt for his first added-money score.
"(Pierce) had a lot of patience with this horse," the rider said. "We've been educating this horse for a long time. Malcolm took his time and today it paid off. (Up With the Birds) did today, everything he had learned in the morning already. I had a lot of confidence in this horse today."
Sent off the near 6-5 second choice, Up With the Birds paid $4.30, $2.20 and $2.10. Star Contender, the even-money favorite, was easily four lengths clear of third-place His Race to Win, also from the Pierce shedrow. Bookies Nightmare, Hesa Big Dude and Kitten Candy completed the order under the wire.
Up With the Birds broke his maiden in his second try, taking the September 29 contest by 3 1/2 lengths after stretching out to 1 1/16 miles from his initial try of six-furlongs in another Woodbine maiden event. With this one now improving his line to 3-2-0-1, the bay colt has banked $198,116.
Pierce is cautiously optimistic Up With the Birds will continue to improve with an eye to next year's Queen's Plate.
"I hope next June or July he can go a mile and a quarter, but there's a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then," the horseman smiled.
The Ontario homebred is the first registered foal out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Song of the Lark, who is herself a daughter of Canadian champion and Grade 1 queen Wilderness Song.
That Wild Again mare had the misfortune of being born the same year as 1991 champion three-year-old filly and Canadian Horse of the Year Dance Smartly. The two competed multiple times against each other, including running one-two in the Queen's Plate against the boys, but Dance Smartly, who swept the 1991 Canadian Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup Distaff, always got the best of Wilderness Song.
Patrick Husbands took note of Up With the Birds' rallying win after finishing second with Star Contender and utilized that same tactic two races later in the Grade 2, $153,937 Autumn aboard James Street. The Melynk Racing Stable homebred sailed down the center of the track after tracking in fourth to nip Patrioticandproud and Hotep on the wire of the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack contest.
James Street was a half-length clear on the wire while finishing up in 1:44 1/5. Alpha Bettor followed Hotep under the line, while Maritmer, 2-1 favorite City Wolf and Jomelo completed the order of finish.
James Street closed out his four-year-old campaign with a fifth in last year's Autumn. Thus far this season the bay son of El Prado has finished fifth in the Grade 3 Eclipse, third in the Grade 3 Seagram and Durham Cups, and captured an allowance, all at Woodbine. This score by the Josie Carroll-trained Kentucky-bred pushed his career record to 20-6-4-3, $478,431.
"He's a beautiful horse and the model of consistency," Carroll praised her charge. "He's just a horse that comes over and does his job every time."
The conditioner admitted to being a little nervous as the field turned for home.
"Fortunately, he found some racing room late," she said. "We were a little concerned as he came around the turn, but as soon as there was a hole, the horse just went for it."
James Street's dam, the winning Unbridled mare Alleynedale, is a half-sister to Grade 1-scoring sire Albert the Great.