Owned by Ralph Johnson, Sand Cove covered the 1 1/16 miles of the $179,100 (U.S. funds) Seagram Cup in 1:43.57. The Roger Affield trainee held off a strong charge from Stunning Stag to win by a length. It was 21/4 lengths back to Field Commission in third. Pool Play finished fourth. Eagle Poise was scratched.
The Seagram Cup was the first graded stakes score for the 5-year-old gray/roan by Bold Executive—Mythical Status, by Mythical Ruler. His only other graded attempt came in last year's Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), in which he finished eighth.
"He's a real competitor,” Attfield said. “He's an interesting horse to train. He can be very aggressive in his stall. When he comes out, he's relaxed."
Winning jockey Richard Dos Ramos said it's difficult to plan a trip in a compact field.
"It gets very complicated because you don't know what's really going to happen,” he said. “We just played it by ear and sorted it out from there.”
Before the race, Attfield told Dos Ramos that “It was a five-horse field that turned into a four-horse field; everyone's thinking this that and the other. Just let him run his race."
Sand Cove broke well and went straight to the lead and set a leisurely opening quarter of :26.00. On the first turn, Pool Play applied mild pressure to his outside, but it didn't speed the pace up dramatically; the half was in :50.38.
"I wasn't worried when Patrick (on Pool Play) shot up outside of me, he was still relaxed,” Dos Ramos said. “When I put him on the bridle, he was ready to go."
Sand Cove quickened noticeably in the third quarter-mile, reaching the six furlongs in 1:13.76 (a :23.38 quarter). In the stretch, the Ontario-bred stayed on well and staved off a bid from Stunning Stag.
Sand Cove boosted his earnings to $774,732 and is now a nine-time winner. Earlier this year he won the Steady Growth Stakes over the same track and distance. All 28 of his starts have come at Woodbine. He was bred by James and Janeane Everatt and J. Arika Everatt-Meeuse.
Sand Cove returned $3.70 and $2.60, combining with Stunning Stag for a $10.70 exacta. Show and trifecta wagering were not available.