Marsh Side Takes Valedictory on Closing Day at Woodbine

(from Woodbine reports)
Marsh Side kept his perfect Polytrack record intact by taking Sunday's $125,000 Valedictory Stakes on closing day of the 2006 season at Woodbine under meet riding champion Emma-Jayne Wilson.

The Maryland-based colt broke his maiden at first asking over Turfway Park's Polytrack on Feb. 25 at one mile. Almost 10 months later and six furlongs farther, Marsh Side journeyed to Canada to compete in the country's final stakes event of the season over Woodbine's four-month old Polytrack.

The 25-year-old Wilson completed back-to-back riding titles at Woodbine.

One of only two 3-year-olds in the seven-horse field (Kisseroo was the other), Marsh Side, trained by Michael Dickinson, took his fourth career win from nine starts.

A bay son of Gone West owned and bred by Robert Evans, Marsh Side came into the 1 ¾-mile Valedictory, traditionally the final stakes on the Woodbine Thoroughbred calendar, off a 1 ¼-length win at Laurel on October 19.

It was even-money choice True Metropolitan, a finalist for the 2006 Top Older Male Sovereign Award, who led the seven-horse field through a half-mile in :48.09 and three-quarters in 1:13.13.

After getting her charge into striking position, Wilson asked the Kentucky-bred for a burst of speed. The colt delivered, blowing past True Metropolitan to the inside just before the 1 ½-mile juncture.

Around the last of the event's three turns, Marsh Side drew off and went on to win by 3 ¾ lengths. Bureaucratic closed well to finish second, another 3 ¾ lengths ahead of True Metropolitan, who had been looking for his sixth consecutive triumph. The final time was 2:58.27 over the Polytrack.

In the Valedictory winner's circle, Wilson said she was thrilled to end her campaign in style.

"I'm so thankful I was able to snag the last stakes race," said Wilson, who won 144 races, including nine stakes at the Toronto oval in 2006. "It's been a tremendous 2006 season. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of it."

Marsh Side returned $20.70, $10.30, $5.60. Bureaucratic ($9, $3.60) completed a $175.40 exacta. True Metropolitan ($2.50) rounded out a $567.50 trifecta.

Sid Attard led Reade Baker by two wins, 78-76, to capture the 2006 Woodbine training title. It is Attard's fifth title overall. He also took Woodbine championships in 1982-Fall, 1996, 2004 and 2005.

"It was a very good year for us," Attard said. "We started slowly, but we picked it up. We're lucky we've got good help."

Sam-Son Farm topped Woodbine's owner standings with purse earnings of $2,311,566. Stronach Stables was second with $1,834,093 and a meet leading 29 wins.

(Chart, Equibase)