Last at the top of the lane, Society's Chairman charged relentlessly on the far outside to nip fellow Canadian-bred Rahy's Attorney by a head in the $100,000 Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) on the Gulfstream Park turf March 20.
Society's Chairman, overcoming the rail under Jose Lezcano in the 7 1/2-furlong test over a firm course, scored in his first start of the year for trainer Roger Attfield and owner Charles E. Fipke. After saving ground around the turn, Society's Chairman swung out for the drive to get up just in time.
The grade I winner Rahy's Attorney, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Javier Castellano, was always close to the pacesetter Storm Play, seizing the lead near the sixteenth pole and inching away from his rivals. But the lifetime winner of more than $1.5 million could not quite hold off the 7-year-old Society's Chairman, who tallied his first graded stakes win. The final time was a strong 1:27.79, a half-second off the course mark.
"I knew at the quarter-pole that I had plenty of horse, and when the other horses started to move, it was time to ask my horse for his run," said Castellano, who rode Society's Chairman for the first time. "And when I asked him, he gave a big kick from the quarter to the wire.”
Kiss the Kid, attempting to defend his victory in last year's Appleton, was in tight quarters attempting to squeeze through an opening on the inside of the tiring Storm Play and finished third with Eddie Castro aboard. He was 1 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up. Storm Play, who carved quarter-mile fractions of :24.75, :47.70 and 1:10.45, settled for fourth, a head behind the Kiss the Kid, in the field of eight.
Off since a third-place finish in the Sir Barton Stakes on Woodbine's Sir Barton Stakes Dec. 2 Society's Chairman improved his career mark to 7-3-4 in 20 starts while earning $470,295. The winning purse in the Appleton was $60,000. Six of Society's Chairman's wins (out of 15 starts) have come on turf.
“He’s had his share of problems over the years, which explains why he hasn’t run that many times," Attfield said, "but I space his races and give him time when he needs it, and he runs his race for us just about every time. A mile is probably his best distance and he likes a shorter stretch rather than the longer one at Woodbine. I’ll take him to Kentucky and perhaps run him once there or just wait until we get back home (Woodbine) and run in the Connaught Cup early in the meet again.”
The bay horse by Not Impossible--Athena's Smile, by Olympio, was bred in Ontario by Errol Bailey. Society's Chairman picked up his first victory since winning repeating in the Halton Stakes for Canadian breds on the Woodbine turf Sept. 7.
Sent off as the third choice, Society's Chairman carried 120 pounds and paid $14.20, $6, and $3.60 and keyed a $50 exacta. Rahy's Attorney, winner of the 2008 Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), returned $3.60 and $2.80. Second choice Kiss the Kid was $3 to show. Rahy's Attorney and Kiss the Kid each carried high weight of 122 pounds.
Storm Play was followed by Boots Ahead, Carson Hall, Almoradi, and Together Indy. Suyeta scratched.