Hard Not to Like bounds home in the Cup and Saucer.

Hard Not to Like bounds home in the Cup and Saucer.

Michael Burns

Filly Hard Not to Like Romps in Cup & Saucer

Two others, including favored Aldous Snow, pulled up in Woodbine juvenile grass test.

The filly Hard Not to Like romped to victory over her male counterparts in the $248,317 Cup and Saucer Stakes over a soft turf course at Woodbine Oct. 1. A pair of horses pulled up early, including favored Aldous Snow (VIDEO).

Maiden Secret Consultant broke down early on the backstretch in the 1 1/16-mile event for 2-year-olds. Aldous Snow, the 2-1 pick, was forced to alter course to avoid the distressed horse and was pulled up shortly afterward. Jockey Eurico Da Silva, riding Aldous Snow, was taken to a local hospital for examination.

According to a track report, Da Silva pulled up on Aldous Snow after being kicked in the leg by Secret Consultant. Aldous Snow was in good order following the race. Secret Consultant was euthanized.

Hard Not to Like, the 5-2 second choice in the field of nine Canadian-foaled juveniles, was ridden to a 4 3/4-length victory with Patrick Husbands aboard. The winning time was 1:48.00.

Hard Not to Like was the first filly to win the Cup and Saucer, one of Canada’s most prestigious races for 2-year-olds, since Atlantic Fury in 2001.

“She was just enjoying it,” said Husbands. “She just glided over it (the turf). It wasn’t a question of how far she’d win by. She’s a nice filly and I’m happy and proud to be a part of the team.”

Gail Cox trains the winning daughter of Hard Spun  for owner Hillsbrook Farms. Garland E. Williamson bred the gray/roan filly, who is out of the Tactical Cat mare Like a Gem, in Ontario. The filly carried 119 pounds, three fewer than her male rivals.

"She is a beautiful mover," Cox said the big but light filly. "I know that her whole family enjoyed the soft turf.”

Fifth in the one-mile Natalma Stakes (Can-IIIT) as the favorite in her most recent start Sept. 17, Hard Not to Like registered her first stakes victory and her third win overall in four races. All of her races have been on the turf at Woodbine, including a prior win over males in a one-mile allowance event Aug. 26.

Stormy Revenge set a reserved pace for a half-mile (:24.28, :49.16) while leading by two lengths over Hampstead Heath, with Hard Not to Like stalking in third on the outside. Bidding four wide on the turn, Hard to Not to Like took the lead approaching the quarter pole over Hampstead Heath, ridden by David Clark, after completing six furlongs in 1:14.94.

Hard Not to Like and the maiden Hampstead Heath dueled into the stretch before the filly took control. She led by two lengths at the eighth pole and drew off under good handling.

Hampstead Heath held well for second by three lengths over the late-running Jomelo, ridden by Tyler Pizzaro. Completing the order were Campitello, Colleen's Sailor, Making Amends, and Stormy Revenge.

Hard Not to Like earned $148,515 for the Cup and Saucer victory, extending her career total to $250,035. In her only loss, she was bumped while rallying at the top of the stretch in the Natalma and wound up 10 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Northern Passion

“It wasn’t the greatest trip,” explained Cox of the Natalma performance. “She got shuffled back and then had a lot left to do at the end.”

Hard Not to Like paid $7, $4, and $3.20 while keying a $30.20 exacta. Hampstead Heath, who was a closing second in her maiden debut Sept. 10 for trainer Brian Lynch, returned $4.60 and $3.40. Jomelo, seventh in the Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) at Woodbine Sept. 17, paid $6.50 to show.

Dead On, Maritimer, and Prince Raphael were all stewards scratches.