Grand Adventure

Grand Adventure

Michael Burns

Grand Adventure Looks for King Edward Repeat

Sam-Son Farm's 5-year-old faces 10 tough rivals in $250,000 turf event at Woodbine.

Grand Adventure, who captured the most lucrative win of his career in last year's King Edward Stakes (Can-IIT), is back to defend his title in the one-mile turf event worth $250,000 at Woodbine June 25.

The King Edward, which attracted 11 older runners, highlights the opening card of Queen's Plate weekend. The program also includes the $100,000 Charlie Barley Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf, the $100,000 Trillium Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, and the $150,000 My Dear Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at five furlongs on Polytrack. The My Dear, with 14 entrants, is the seventh race at 4:03 p.m. EDT, immediately preceding the King Edward, which is scheduled to go off at 4:35 p.m. EDT.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, Canada's equivalent of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), is June 26, along with the $200,000 Highlander Stakes (Can-IIT) at six furlongs on turf, and the $150,000 Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT) at 1 1/2 miles.

Trained by Mark Frostad for Sam-Son Farms, front-running Grand Adventure won last year's King Edward by repelling Rahy's Attorney in the stretch en route to a one-length tally. It was the fifth win in the race for Frostad and a record ninth for Sam-Son in the King Edward, which was named for King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and was run for the first time in 1903. The race was shortened to one mile from nine furlongs for the first time last year.

Grand Adventure has not won in the year since, dropping six in a row. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Grand Slam has raced twice in 2011. He finished second by a half-length in Keeneland's Shakertown Stakes (gr. IIIT) on a yielding turf at 5 1/2 furlongs. The dark bay returned to Woodbine May 29 to run third over soft ground in the seven-furlong Connaught Cup (Can-IIT), a race he also won last year.

Regular rider Patrick Husbands, aboard for both of Grand Adventure's big wins in 2010, has the mount once more. Grand Adventure, who runs his best when forwardly placed, drew the rail in the big field and has a major speed rival directly to his outside in Fifty Proof.

Grand Adventure has won five of 11 starts over his home turf course and is 0-for-6 elsewhere. He leads the field in earnings with $757,280.

Workin for Hops, winner of the Hanshin Cup Handicap (gr. III) by three lengths over Arlington Park's Polytrack May 21, invades Woodbine for the first time and shares the top weight assignment of 123 pounds with Grand Adventure. He ran second in the Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland prior to the Hanshin Cup.

Trained by Michael Stidham, Workin for Hops has raced mostly on turf, with 11 of his 14 career starts and four of his six victories coming on grass. Estorace's 4-year-old City Zip gelding captured both the Arlington Classic and the American Derby (gr. IIT) last year at Arlington. Emma-Jayne Wilson takes over for the first time.

Ontario-bred Fifty Proof tuned up for the King Edward with a half-length score in Woodbine's Eclipse Stakes (Can-III) at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack May 28. Kinghaven Farms and partners' 5-year-old has won both of his starts in 2011 for trainer Ian Black. He began the season with a 1 3/4-length victory over an optional claiming allowance field April 22, also on Polytrack.

The Whiskey Wisdom gelding has shown his mettle on Woodbine's turf as well, winning three of six starts with two seconds. He was runner-up in the 12-furlong Northern Dancer Stakes (Can-IT) after setting the pace last September. He came back a month later to show the way in the Canadian International (Can-IT), also at 12 furlongs, before giving way in the final furlong and finishing fifth. Justin Stein retains the mount.

Society's Chairman  returns home for trainer Roger Attfield following a third-place effort in the Maker's Mark in his most recent start. The son of Not Impossible, now 8, has won or placed in nine of 15 starts at Woodbine, but was fifth in last year's King Edward, 8 1/4 lengths behind Grand Adventure. He won last year's Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park for owners Charles Fipke and George Waud.

Garrett Gomez has the call on Society's Chairman, who drew the far outside post.

Attfield also entered Hollinger, winner of the Cup & Saucer and Coronation Futurity as a 2-year-old in 2009. The son of Black Minnaloushe is on the comeback trail after a rough Queen's Plate campaign last year. He began the 2011 season with a third in an allowance at Keeneland April 17, a race won by Baryshnikov.

Melnyk Racing Stable's homebred Silver Rock makes his stakes debut following three successive wins for trainer Mark Casse, who also entered Hailstone, runner-up in last month's Connaught Cup.

Two other hot horses make their first stakes appearance here. Gustav Schickedanz's homebred Artic Fern is on a four-race win streak for trainer Mike Keogh. Court of the Realm also has a four-win skein going for trainer Peter Berringer and owners Aurora Meadows and Ocbridge Farm.

$250,000 King Edward Stakes (Can-IIT, Race 8, 4:35 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Grand Adventure (KY), P Husbands, 123, M R Frostad
2. Fifty Proof (ON), J Stein, 121, I Black
3. Silver Rock (KY), S Bridgmohan, 117, M E Casse
4. Woodbourne (ON), L Contreras, 117, R P Tiller
5. Hailstone (KY), J M Campbell, 117, M E Casse
6. Court of the Realm (KY), E R Da Silva, 117, P Berringer
7. Hollinger (ON), T Pizarro, 117, R L Attfield
8. Workin for Hops (KY), E Wilson, 123, M Stidham
9. Artic Fern (ON), D Clark, 117, M Keogh
10. Merkabah (ON), J C Jones, 117, J Carroll
11. Society's Chairman (ON), G K Gomez, 121, R L Attfield