Up With the Birds, rallying from last, circled the field rounding the far turn and swept past favored Star Contender en route to a convincing win in the $249,576 Coronation Futurity for 2-year-olds at Woodbine Nov. 10 (VIDEO).
With a confident Eurico Rosa da Silva aboard, Up With the Birds registered his first stakes win by 3 1/2 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack test. Sam-Son Farms, which own and bred the son of Stormy Atlantic out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Song of the Lark, won the key Canadian juvenile test for the sixth time.
The Malcolm Pierce-trained Up With the Boards, timed in 1:51.13, becomes a favorite for next spring's Queen's Plate. However, the last horse to win the Coronation Futurity and then the Plate was Norcliffe, who achieved the feat in 1975-76.
"I hope next June or July he can go a mile and a quarter, but there's a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then," said Pierce after registering his first win in the Coronation Futurity.
Six were entered in this year's Coronation Futurity, with Star Contender a slight pick over Up With the Birds at even money.
Bookies Nightmare staked the early lead from the inside while pressed by Kitten Candy, who recovered from a stumble at the start, and Star Contender. Bookies Nightmare, who skipped away to a two-length lead up the backstretch, carved fractions of :23.83, :48.02, and 1:13.75.
Star Contender went for an early move under Patrick Husbands and grabbed the advantage approaching the quarter pole. The Henny Hughes colt, easy winner of the Cup & Saucer Stakes on yielding turf in his last start, took the field into the stretch. But he could not withstand the charge from Up With the Birds, who collared the favorite in upper stretch and took command after rallying four paths wide. Up With the Birds was much the best in the final furlong under a hand ride.
"He (Pierce) had a lot of patience with this horse," said da Silva. "We've been educating this horse for a long time. Malcolm took his time and today it paid off. He (Up With the Birds) did today, everything he had learned in the morning already. I had a lot of confidence in this horse today."
Star Contender was a clear second by four lengths over His Race to Win, who rallied belatedly for Alex Solis to get the show spot over Bookies Nightmare. His Race to Win is also trained by Pierce for Sam-Son Farms.
Hesa Big Dude and Kitten Candy trailed.
Up With the Birds has won two of his three starts, all over the Polytrack. He debuted with a third-place finish going six furlongs against maidens Aug. 26 but moved up significantly when stretched out to 1 1/16 miles Sept. 29, graduating by 3 1/2 lengths.
Under equal weights of 122 pounds, Up With the Birds paid $4.30, $2.20, and $2.10 while collecting $149,745 for the victory. Star Contender returned $2.20 and $2.10 and the heavy favorites combined for an $8.10 exacta. His Race to Win paid $2.70 to show.