Midsummer at Woodbine suits 7-year-old gelding Forte Dei Marmi well as shown by his consecutive victories in the $205,069 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-IIT), this time in course record time Aug. 18. (VIDEO)
Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva let the favored son of Selkirk—Frangy, by Sadler's Wells, relax and run easily in fifth through much of the 1 1/4-mile race behind pacesetter Irish Mission. The only filly in the field, Irish Mission took her rivals through early fractions of :25.99, :49.64, and 1:12.83 before giving way, with stalking Grand Arch taking a two-length advantage having reached the quarter pole in 1:36.27.
When it came time to run at the top of the stretch, Forte Dei Marmi kicked into gear, took the lead at the eighth pole, and rolled to an easy victory by 2 1/4 lengths in 2:00.12.
The gelding, who ran the final eighth in :23.85, shaved more than two seconds off his 2012 Sky Classic final time of 2:02.57. Hampstead Heath
finished second, a length ahead of Grand Arch
"Roger told me this morning, be sure you sit behind horses," said Da Silva. "He knows his horse. I let him be very relaxed throughout the race. When he saw the light, he ran very fast."
Forte Dei Marmi, owned by Stella Perdomo, has won only one time in four starts this year and had not placed in a stakes race since the Oct. 14 Pattison Canadian International Stakes (Can-IT) at Woodbine, it was a powerful victory in the Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT) that made him the prohibitive 4-5 favorite. In the Singspiel, he won by 6 1/4 lengths going 1 1/2 miles at Woodbine.
Trainer Roger Attfield ran the gelding at Colonial Downs
prior to the Sky Classic in 2012, but felt this year it was best to leave the horse in Canada.
"He didn't ship well to Colonial...so we decided to stay and do it here," said the U.S. and Canadian Hall of Fame trainer. "I was concerned about the firm turf, but he skipped over it, didn't he?"
The back-to-back Sky Classics and the Singspiel are Forte Dei Marmi's only graded stakes wins. He has placed in four other graded stakes in England, Pimlico, and twice in the late summer and fall at Woodbine in the grade I Northern Dancer Turf Stakes and Canadian International.
Perdomo is Fort Dei Marmi's third owner. Bred in Great Britain by Fittocks Stud, the gelding has been with Attfield since September 2011. Attfield said he likes working with older horses.
"Be patient, keep them happy, and they come through for you," he said.
Forte Dei Marme paid $4.40, $3.10, and $2.40. Hampstead Heath paid $5.40 and $3, while Grand Arch paid $2.30. The $2 exacta paid $28.40, and the $2 trifecta paid $69.90.