Longshots Aplenty in Woodbine Stakes Races

The final turf racing day of the Woodbine season was a success for jockey Jono Jones and for longshot players.

Jones captured both turf stakes races, aboard Byzantine in the River Memories and Red Sea in the Labeeb. Constant Montpellier guided Spanish Decree to a nose decision in the Jammed Lovely Stakes.

As for longshots, seven of the day's 10 races returned win payouts of more than $20. In total, the average win price on the afternoon was $36.30.

Spanish Decree Surges to Jammed Lovely Stakes Win
After winning her first two starts of 2002, including a victory in the Lady Angela Stakes, Frank Huarte's Spanish Decree has been out of luck in her last seven outings.

She was second in the Apelia Stakes, third in the Ontario Damsel, second in the Passing Mood, third in the Duchess and second in the La Prevoyante. But on Sunday at Woodbine, there would be no denying the daughter of War Deputy as she surged in the final strides to catch Mountain Orchid and win the $165,750 Jammed Lovely Stakes by a nose.

"She's run very well all year, had some tough luck," said Huarte, who owns, bred and trains Spanish Decree. "She's very honest and tries very hard. I gave her a little break and it worked out good for us. I thought we lost. I thought she was second, but it was great."

Constant Montpellier, who rode both Lady Shari and Arco Gold to impressive stakes wins on Saturday, guided the 3-year-old to victory, to complete an amazing weekend.

"I really thought before the race, I could see other horses setting it up really well for us," said Montpellier. "Turning for home, I was right where I wanted to be. She just got up there, I wasn't sure (if we had won)."

The time of the seven-furlong race was 1:24.52 over a main track rated fast.

Spanish Decree, who raised her career earnings to $363,531, returned $21.60, $10.00, $3.70, combining with Mountain Orchid ($8.50, $4.60) for a $154.10 exacta. Mulrainy ($2.40) completed the $416.20 trifecta.

Byzantine Runs for Memories
Jono Jones had a strategy in mind before Sunday's $114,000 River Memories Stakes. Aboard 6-year-old Byzantine, and drawing the inside post, Jones was hoping to stay along the hedge for most of the one-mile event, and find room in the final quarter of a mile.

The plan worked, as Jones and Byzantine squeezed between horses in late stretch, to win the event for fillies and mares.

Trained by Bruce Pollock for owner Royal Oak Farm, Byzantine was relaxed well behind pace-setter Ghazirella.

Through fractions of :23.21 and :46.46, the daughter of Quiet American bided her time along the inside. At the top of the stretch, the field began to fan out, and Jones directed the accomplished mare between rivals, catching Strait From Texas in the final seventy yards, to win by a length.

The time of the race was 1:36.89 over a yielding turf course.
"I stayed along the inside all the way," said Jones. "About two furlongs out, she got a break, and found a way through. At the head of the lane, I knew I was going to win from there. We were lucky she got a break."

According to Pollock, Byzantine is thriving during the fall racing season. "It's the best time of the year for her, with the deeper turf and the cooler weather," he said.

Byzantine returned $34.80, $15.80, and $6.20, combining with Strait From Texas ($6.30, $3.60) for a $232.10 exacta. Love Kiss ($2.20) completed the $611.60 trifecta.

Red Sea sails to victory in the Labeeb
After taking advantage of a ground saving trip to win the River Memories Stakes early on Sunday's card, Jones engineered a very similar trip in the $115,000 Labeeb Stakes, with very familiar results.

Jones had Red Sea relaxed in seventh, well behind pace-setter Storm Cruiser through fractions of :23.52, :47.29 and 1:12.12. As the field turned into the stretch, Jones moved the son of Barathea to the two-path, where Red Sea split horses late, and captured the Labeeb by 3/4- length over a late-charging Silver Spear and Academic.

The time of the race was 1:37.72 over a turf course rated yielding.

"I won one stake the whole year and today I won two," said a jubilant Jones. "I kept him covered up. He felt great in the warm up and broke from the gate running."

According to trainer Roger Attfield, who dropped Red Sea into win a $50,000 claiming race in his last start as a confidence builder, the bay has always shown a lot of talent.

"We'd given this horse quite a bit of time off since last year," said Attfield. "He needed that last race, and we decided we would try him here. He's just a nice horse to be around and I'm just delighted. We'll take him down to Florida now so he can enjoy the sunshine."

With the win, Red Sea boosted his career earnings to $433,254 for owners Werner, Windhaven and Attfield.

Red Sea returned $42.80, $22.60, $16.00 combining with Silver Spear ($10.10, $8.40) for a $197.60 exacta. Academic ($20.50) completed the $11,312 trifecta.

(Chart, Equibase)