Peyton is the 124-pound high weight in the Valedictory Stakes.

Peyton is the 124-pound high weight in the Valedictory Stakes.

Michael Burns

Valedictory Drops Curtain on Woodbine Stand

Closing day grade III feature at 1 3/4 miles brings out a well-matched field of nine.

The $150,000 Valedictory Stakes (Can-III), the closing-day feature for 2012 at Woodbine Dec. 16, will produce a first graded win for one of the nine entrants in the 1 3/4-mile marathon.

The Valedictory, to be contested on Polytrack, is the 11th of 13 races on the final day of the 156-day stand that began April 6. Post time for the feature event is 5:56 p.m. EST.

Peyton, a homebred trained by Michael Doyle for William D. Graham's Windhaven Farms, is the 124-pound high weight. The 3-year-old Tale of the Cat  gelding comes into the race off a 2 1/4-length tally in a high-priced allowance race at 1 1/2 miles Nov. 23.

Luis Contreras, who has wrapped up his second straight Woodbine riding title (he was 25 wins ahead of second-place Patrick Husbands through Dec. 12), has the return mount on Peyton, who snapped an eight-race losing streak. Peyton spots his rivals nine to 12 pounds apiece and will be trying the 14-furlong distance for the first time. The three-time winner from 16 starts drew post 6.

Husbands, who won the Valedictory the past two years with Eagle Poise last year and Pool Play in 2010, does not have a mount in this year's race.

Get A Grip, second to Peyton last time, and Quaesitor, third as the favorite, also return in this spot. Get A Grip, an Irish-bred 5-year-old son of Royal Applause, will be attempting to end a 14-race winless streak for trainer Kevin Attard and owner Joshua Attard. David Moran retains the mount. 

Three-year-old Quaesitor, trained by Ian Howard for Wayward Stable, tired in his last after vying for the lead. He had won his previous two starts in allowance company, including a victory at 1 1/4 miles over the track Sept. 22. Justin Stein guides the gelding from the rail post.

Heathcote, from the Paul Attard barn for owner/breeder Chiefswood Stable, won the first three starts of his career at Woodbine, all at 1 1/16 miles against Ontario-bred competition. The 4-year-old Niigon gelding looks to end a three-race slide since then while stepping into stakes company for the first time. He comes off a runner-up finish in an off-the-turf allowance race at 1 1/4 miles Nov. 3. Emma-Jayne Wilson has ridden the dark bay in all six of his prior races.

Owner Bruno Schickedanz, who won the Valedictory with Whomsoever Proud in 1996 and again with Salty Note three years later, enters Th Original Scotty. The Phillip England trainee takes a big step up from Ontario-bred allowance conditions where he has been quite effective. The 4-year-old colt by Mr. Scotty has a win, two seconds, and two thirds in his past five starts.

Juddmonte Farms' Imperial Pippin is the lone filly in the race. Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Empire Maker lass returns to Woodbine from Belmont Park after running second to Smart Sting in the 10-furlong Maple Leaf Stakes Nov. 3.

$150,000 Valedictory Stakes (Can-III, Race 11, 5:56 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 3/4 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Quaesitor (ON), J. Stein, 115, I Howard
2. Attendant (KY), J.V. Bridgmohan, 113, M R Frostad
3. Th Original Scotty (ON), E. Ramsammy, 115, P England
4. Heathcote (ON), E. Wilson, 115, P Attard
5. Political Fever (KY), J.M. Campbell, 113, J Mattine
6. Peyton (ON), L. Contreras, 124, M J Doyle
7. So Long George (KY), E.R. Da Silva, 113, J Charalambous
8. Get A Grip (IRE), D. Moran, 115, K Attard
9. Imperial Pippin (KY), O. Moreno, 112, W I Mott