Grand Adventure and Spice Route, impressive recent stakes winners on the Woodbine turf, take on defending winner Rahy's Attorney in the $300,000 Nijinsky Stakes (Can-IIT) July 24 at the Toronto track.
Eight are entered in the 1 1/8-mile Nijinsky, which shapes up as the best turf stakes so far this season at Woodbine. The race, shortened from 10 furlongs this year, is the eighth on the program with a probable post of 4:34 p.m. EDT.
Also on the card is the $150,000 Toronto Cup at nine furlongs for 3-year-olds, a major prep for the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes, the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown series for 3-year-olds on the grass Aug. 15. The Toronto Cup is the fourth race, set to go off at 2:27 p.m. EDT.
Grand Adventure strode home powerfully in winning the one-mile King Edward Stakes (Can-IIT) June 27 by one length over a rallying Rahy's Attorney after clearing off in the homestretch. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Grand Slam colt owned by Sam-Son Farms and trained by Mark Frostad, Grand Adventure won the Connaught Cup (Can-IIIT) at seven furlongs by the same margin a month earlier. He has won five of seven starts on the Woodbine turf.
Patrick Husbands, who rode Grand Adventure in both of his prior victories, is back aboard. They'll break from post 2 with top weight of 123 pounds. Grand Adventure will be attempting the longest race of his career.
Frostad also entered Sam-Son's Windward Islands, a lightly raced 6-year-old Cozzene gelding who comes off a neck tally in an optional claiming allowance race at nine furlongs at Woodbine in his first start in nearly three months. Husbands is also named to ride Windward Islands.
Making his first start in 2010, Spice Route humbled his rivals in the Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT) on the Queen's Plate program July 4, bursting away in the stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths while well in hand for jockey Mike Smith. Jono Jones takes the mount this time for the 6-year-old Roger Attfield trainee. Spice Route, who has won six of 26 lifetime starts, has earned $966,532.
The British-bed Spice Route, who breaks from the rail, likes a longer distance than he'll get in the Nijinsky. But the chestnut son of King's Best won his only prior start at 1 1/8 miles, defeating Soldier's Dancer by a nose in Calder's Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) in December 2008.
Champion turf horse Rahy's Attorney has been slow to begin the 2010 season, losing all four of his starts, but the 6-year-old Crown Attorney gelding perked up in the King Edward when reunited with Robert Landry, who retains the mount. Landry was aboard for Rahy Attorney's most recent win in the Bunty Lawless Stakes nine months ago.
Rahy's Attorney, who is trained by Ian Black for Ontario breeder Ellie-Boje Farm and co-owners Read Peters and Jean and Jim MacLellan, won the Nijinsky last year at the extra furlong by 1 3/4 lengths in a front-running effort over a soft course. Rahy's Attorney, who like Spice Route will carry 121 pounds, drew the far outside post this time. He comes into the race with a 10-6-4 mark in 30 starts and earnings of more than $1.7 million.
Black also entered Southdale, who cuts back a bit after flattening out in the 1 1/4-mile Dominion Day Handicap (Can-III) over Polytrack July 1. The Street Cry colt finished third as the favorite. Roderick Ferguson's Ontario homebred won the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse Stakes (Can-III) by three-quarters of a length prior to that. This would be the turf debut for Southdale, who is to be ridden once more by Emma-Jayne Wilson.
Trainer Sid Attard is represented by Utterly Cool, a 4-year-old Smoke Glacken gelding who stretches out after a pair of turf sprints at Woodbine this spring. Owned by Jim Dandy Stable, Utterly Cool romped by 10 1/4 lengths as a 2-year-old in the 2008 Cup & Saucer Stakes on a yielding Woodbine turf. He was sidelined for more than 16 months after that.
Stormy Lord, second as the favorite after setting the pace in the one-mile Charley Barley Stakes on a firm Woodbine turf July 3, is the most accomplished among seven sophomores in the Toronto Cup. Black trains the Kinghaven Farms homebred son of Stormy Atlantic who is also owned by Hat Trick Stable. As a 2-year-old, the speedy Stormy Lord ran second in both Cup and Saucer on turf and the Coronation Futurity Stakes over Polytrack.
Frostad entered a pair for Sam-Son Farms. Born to Act, a Theatrical colt, ran fifth in the Charley Barley. Dark Cloud Dancer, a son of Storm Cat out of the Mr. Prospector mare Dancethruthedawn, comes off a sixth-place effort in the Queen's Plate in his stakes debut. Dark Cloud Dancer's dam won the 2001 Queen's Plate to become Canada's champion 3-year-old filly that year, as well as the 2002 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I)
$150,000 Toronto Cup Stakes (Race 4, 2:27 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 MIles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. D's Wando (ON), C Sutherland, 117, I Black
2. Born to Act (ON), R C Landry, 115, M R Frostad
3. Tir Chonaill (KY), E Wilson, 115, C M Costigan
4. Dark Cloud Dancer (ON), P Husbands, 115, M R Frostad
5. Stormy Lord (ON), J McAleney, 115, I Black
6. Kara's Orientation (KY), E Ramsammy, 120, S Chircop
7. Woodland Flute (ON), O Moreno, 115, M Keogh
Blinkers Off: D's Wando; Blinkers On: Tir Chonaill
$300,000 Nijinsky Stakes (Can-IIT, Race 8, 4:34 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Spice Route (GB), J C Jones, 121, R L Attfield
2. Grand Adventure (KY), P Husbands, 123, M R Frostad
3. Utterly Cool (ON), R A Dos Ramos, 117, S C Attard
4. Windward Islands (KY), P Husbands, 117, M R Frostad
5. Southdale (ON), E Wilson, 121, I Black
6. Tierra Del Tigre (KY), D Clark, 117, G Cox
7. Cobotown Ron (ON), J Stein, 117, A M Delmas
8. Rahy's Attorney (ON), R C Landry, 121, I Black