Sand Cove in the 2010 Seagram Cup Stakes.

Sand Cove in the 2010 Seagram Cup Stakes.

Michael Burns

Sand Cove to Defend Seagram Cup Title

Ralph Johnson's 12-time winner faces Stunning Stag, Court of the Realm at Woodbine.

Sand Cove, front-running winner of last year's Seagram Cup Stakes (Can-III), is back to defend his title in the $150,000 Polytrack event at Woodbine Aug. 6.

Trained by Roger Attfield for owner Ralph Johnson, Sand Cove surpassed $1 million in career earnings with his victory in the Steady Growth Stakes in his most recent start June 19. The 6-year-old gray/roan horse is a 12-time winner in 34 races with 10 more in-the-money finishes.

His only graded stakes win, however, came in last year's Seagram Cup, in which he tallied by one length as the 9-10 choice with Richard Dos Ramos aboard. The horse that was second that day, Stunning Stag, also returns for the 2011 renewal. Also in the lineup is Court of the Realm, returning to Polytrack after winning the King Edward Stakes (Can-IIT) on turf at Woodbine June 25.

Seven are entered in the 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup, which is race 8 on the Woodbine program with a 4:51 EDT probable post.

Sand Cove, to be ridden by Dos Ramos once again, must shoulder top weight of 126 pounds while breaking from the rail post. The Ontario-bred son of Bold Executive has had two starts in 2011, finishing sixth in the New Providence Stakes before bouncing back with his neck triumph in the Steady Growth.

Stunning Stag, who began the year with a three-length tally in the Vigil Stakes (Can-III), saw his three-race win streak ended three weeks later with a third-place finish in the Eclipse Stakes (Can-III) May 28. Trained by Sid Attard for his wife, Janice, the 7-year-old Running Stag gelding won last November's Autumn Stakes (Can-II) and has banked $816,172 while winning 10 of 28 starts. Gerry Olguin rides.

Court of the Realm, a 4-year-old son of Powerscourt, has won five races in a row since breaking his maiden in his fourth start last September. He made his stakes debut in the King Edward, driving late after stalking the pace to get up by a half-length at odds of 12-1. Eurico Rosa Da Silva, aboard for Court of the Realm's past four wins, retains the mount.

Luis Contreras, runaway leader in the Woodbine jockey standings this season, is named on Entourage Stable's Lord of Greatness. The 5-year-old son of Greatness brings a three-race winning streak into his stakes debut for trainer Robert Tiller.

Melnyk Racing Stable homebred James Street exits a runner-up finish in the Dominion Day Stakes (Can-III) July 1 for trainer Mark Casse.

$150,000 Seagram Cup Stakes (Can-III, Race 8, 4:51 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Sand Cove (ON), R A Dos Ramos, 126, R L Attfield
2. Southdale (ON), E Wilson, 117, I Black
3. Court of the Realm (KY) , E R Da Silva, 121, P Berringer
4. Hollinger (ON), T Pizarro, 121, R L Attfield
5. James Street (KY), P Husbands, 119, J Carroll
6. Stunning Stag (ON), G Olguin, 123, S C Attard
7. Lord of Greatness (FL), L Contreras, 119, R P Tiller