Host Rolls On in Canadian Turf Win
Photo: Coglianese Photos
In his second start for new trainer Tom Albertrani, Host takes the Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Host finished eighth as the favorite in the Dec. 1 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder for new trainer Tom Albertrani. On Jan. 4, Eugene Melnyk's 8-year-old son of Hussonet won the Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Gulfstream Park.

And he went off at odds of nearly 6-1 in taking the 1 1/16-mile contest over firm going.

"The faster pace in today’s race, compared to his last, set up perfect for him and he trained a little sharper for this one too," said Albertrani. "I’m fortunate to have picked him up with a couple of other horses for Mr. Melnyk. He’s just turned 8 and what do they say about wine? It gets better with age. It looks like he’s been a little inconsistent at times in his career, but I haven’t had him long enough to know all his idiosyncrasies.”

The wagering public made Thorn Song the 9-5 favorite, and he made the lead down the stretch. But Host and Yate's Black Cat came on the outside and National Captain rallied up the rail to get the first three spots.

In the early going, Kiss the Kid made the lead and battled with Jet Propulsion, covering the opening quarter in :23.39 and half in :45.78. Delosvientos tried to take the lead from the outside but could not and settled in third, with Thorn Song in fourth.

They covered six furlongs in 1:09.39 as Kent Desormeaux and Thorn Song began to close ground as the field headed in to the turn for home. But Kiss the Kid and Eddie Castro proved tough, battling on to keep the lead inside the eighth pole. John Velazquez and Host, in 10th place after six furlongs, closed with a strong rush to get up and win by a half-length over Yate's Black Cat, who finished a neck in front of National Captain. Kiss the Kid held on for fourth, with Thorn Song settling for fifth.

“I had a feeling there was going to be a fast pace and they were going pretty quick," said Velazquez, who rode Host when he was in Todd Pletcher's barn. "I told Tommy (Albertrani) that if they set a fast pace we were going to win it. I know this horse pretty well and I knew that if he showed up, he would win. Sometimes he drops too far back and it doesn’t work for him, but there was a fast pace and I was able to keep him going. He shows no signs of age."

The time was 1:39.85.

Host was winning his 10th race in 27 starts with earnings of $1,136,408. In last year's running of the Canadian Turf, he finished second, beaten a head by Giant Wrecker, after a more than 10-month layoff.

The horse, out of the Roy mare Colonna Traiana, was bred in Chile by Eduardo Matte's Haras de Pirque.

The winner paid $13.80, $7,40, and $5 while Yate's Black Cat returned $12.80 and $7.40. South African-bred National Captain paid $5.20 to show.

French Vintage, Big Prairie, Baron Von Tap, Jet Propulsion, Imawildandcrazyguy. Delosvientos and Dreadnaught completed the order.

(Chart, Equibase)

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