Cudney Stables homebred Lafontaine, the longest shot in a six-horse field at 18-1, charged late to overtake pacesetter Heart to Heart en route to a half-length win in the $119,710 Toronto Cup (VIDEO) over the Woodbine turf July 20.
The 3-year-old gelded son of Artie Schiller—Deli Cat, by Bold Ruckus, was laying third throughout as favored Heart to Heart, with Luis Contreras aboard, set a moderate pace of :24.06, :47.34, and 1:11.01 in the 1 1/8-mile turf test for 3-year-olds.
Heart to Heart took a bunched-up field into the turn as Sly Tom and Florida Won were urged into contention, but it was the patient Bahen who guided Lafontaine off the rail and wore down the pacesetter in the final strides.
Another longshot, Pumpkin Rumble, also rallied late for second with Jesse Campbell aboard, three-quarters of a length in front of the weakening Heart to Heart and Luis Contreras.
Final time of 1:48.86 over a course rated good was well off the course mark of 1:44.73.
The winner paid $38.70, $15.90, and $6, with Pumpkin Rumble at $10.70 and $5. Heart to Heart, the 17-10 favorite, paid $3.10. The top two paired for a $217.70 exacta. The order was completed by Sly Tom, Florida Won, and Freitag.
Trained by Elizabeth Charalambous, Lafontaine was unplaced in two starts at Woodbine as a 2-year-old while racing over the main Polytrack surface. Eighth in his turf and 2014 debut June 7, the gelding came back three weeks later to break his maiden while going 1 1/16 miles on grass at Woodbine previous to the Toronto Cup. With two wins from five starts, Lafontaine has earned $102,455.
The winner is named for Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, the first Canadian to become prime minister of the United Province of Canada.
"I'm very proud of this horse," said Charalambous. "He's really figured it out now and knows why he's here and what we're asking of him. The talent was always there, he just had to figure it out."
Charalambous praised Bahen for the perfect trip.
"Steve rode him perfectly. I asked him to sit off the speed, which he did and I was just a little concerned that he might get stuck on the rail but things opened up for him and he exploded.
Deli Cat, the dam of Lafontaine, was purchased by Cudney Stables for $9,267 from the consignment of Schonberg Farm, agent for Gustav Schickedanz, to the 2002 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division) winter mixed sale. Deli Cat is also the dam of My Perfect Ten, a daughter of Perfect Soul who won last year's Ellis Park Turf Stakes.