Up With the Birds wins the Marine Stakes.

Up With the Birds wins the Marine Stakes.

Michael Burns

Up With the Birds Dominates Marine Stakes

Sam-Son Farms' leading Queen's Plate contender overpowers open company at Woodbine.

Favored Up With the Birds, tuning up for the Queen's Plate in six weeks, romped to victory over open company in the $163,681 Marine Stakes May 26 at Woodbine.

With Eurico Rosa Da Silva aboard for trainer Malcolm Pierce, Up With the Birds rallied from last rounding the final turn and swept past his four rivals in upper stretch to win the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack event for 3-year-olds by 4 3/4 lengths. The final time was a solid 1:43.82.

Up With the Birds, the 6-5 favorite, is an Ontario homebred for Sam-Son Farms by Stormy Atlantic . The bay colt is the first foal out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Song of the Lark.

Winner of the Coronation Futurity last November, Up With the Birds is the leading contender for the $1 million Queen's Plate July 7 off his dominating performance.

"He handled everything so easy. He's a wonderful animal," said Da Silva.

Up With the Birds began the year with two starts on turf. He captured the Black Gold Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs on soft going at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots as the favorite March 2. In his next outing, Up With the Birds made a big move from far back after wheeling out for the drive to finish a neck behind Jack Milton  in the Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland April 5.

"He came into the race in good order and timing wise he's had plenty of space between races," said Pierce. "Let's just keep our fingers crossed for six more weeks."

Pierce said he will train the colt into the Queen's Plate, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Breaking from the rail in the Marine, Up With the Birds trailed the compact field into the far turn as outsider Drenched led Five Iron and Ghost Hunter through quarter mile fractions of :24.25, :47.52, and 1:11.32. Up With the Birds angled four paths wide leaving the bend as Drenched began to weaken and challenged for the lead as they straightened away for the drive.

Up With the Birds quickly took command, reaching the furlong mark 2 1/2 lengths in front, and finished well under steady coaxing from Da Silva.

Winning Cause, the 7-5 second choice after winning the Lexington Stakes (gr. III) in his most recent start, edged Five Iron for second by a neck, with Ghost Hunter and Drenched completing the order.

Up With the Birds, who had a three-race win streak interrupted in the Transylvania, improved his record to 4-1-1 in six outings while increasing his bankroll to $367,779.

Sharing top weight of 119 pounds with the runner-up, Up With the Birds paid $4.40, $2.40, $2.10. Winning Cause, ridden by Julien Leparoux, paid $2.50 and $2.10, while Five Iron returned $2.60 with Luis Contreras aboard. The exacta was worth $8.

Silent Admirer was a stewards scratch.