Roger Attfield trainee Eccentric captured Sunday's CAN$150,800 Connaught Cup Stakes (Can-III) (VIDEO) on a yielding turf at rainy Woodbine with a game run through the stretch.
The English-bred son of Most Welcome swung four-wide into the lane for jockey David Clark and ran down front-running As Expected mid-stretch, drawing off to a 2 1/4-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile event, the first stakes race of the season on turf. Eccentric stopped the timer in 1:45.05 over the 'yielding' course, which had been downgraded from 'good' after a mid-afternoon downpour.
As Expected, who was allowed to have his own way on the lead for Richard Dos Ramos through fractions of :24.14, :48.12 and 1:13.26, stayed on gamely for second by 1 3/4 lengths. Shoal Water, ridden by Robert Landry, was along late for third. French Beret, the 8-5 favorite, had no kick and finished sixth.
Clark said he thought As Expected would have more company on the front end.
"I thought there would be more of them on the lead. (As Expected) was all by himself out there. From the five-eighths pole, I had so much horse, it didn't matter," said Clark. "When he made the lead, he went to loafing a bit. Other than that everything was fine."
Attfield celebrated his second graded stakes score in seven days, having won last Monday's Eclipse Stakes (Can-III) with Palladio.
For the 6-year-old gelding Eccentric, the turf score is his second graded stakes win from just five North American starts. Almost seven months ago, the chestnut won Keeneland's Fayette Stakes by three quarters of a length.
"This is a very versatile horse. He likes a bit of give in the ground. I think that's why he likes the Polytrack too," said Attfield.
The Connaught Cup was Eccentric's second start of 2007. On April 26, he finished ninth in the Ben Ali (gr. III) over Keeneland's Polytrack.
"I ran a short horse at Keeneland," said Attfield. "I was quite confident coming into this race. He's a very nice horse."
Eccentric, who is owned by Gary Tanaka, is now 11-for-35 with $634,499 in career earnings.
Sent off as the second choice in the field of seven, Eccentric returned $8.50, $4.10, $3.30, combining with As Expected ($8.90, $5.80) for an exacta worth $106.40. Shoal Water ($4) completed a $503.80 trifecta.
Pellegrino, Idle Rumor, French Beret and Millfleet followed. Raw Power and Are You Serious were scratched.
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