Trainer Kevin Attard and jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva teamed up to win Sunday afternoon's first three races at Woodbine including the $125,000 Carotene Stakes for Ontario-bred three-year-old fillies.
The duo completed the natural hat trick with Amalfi Coast fighting off Monastery Lane at the end of the 1-1/8-mile turf feature.
Terra Racing Stable's homebred Tapizar filly struck the front in the stretch after fanning wide from an outside stalking position while the upset minded Monastery Lane, at odds of 12-1, rallied from last alongside the favourite. Those two took off from the rest in a deep stretch with Amalfi Coast ultimately prevailing by a neck in 1:48.02.
Intanga Rose, the 2-1 second choice, came on for third with Street Zapper finishing fourth and the Attard-trained Holyanna fifth. Miss Ariel, who led through fractions of :25.18, :48.16 and 1:11.50, faded to sixth.
“When I tucked behind there, she was on the muscle more than last time,” said Da Silva. “But we were in such a great position there, where anytime I could just take her outside and get going. I knew that I was going to have a good run on her because I had a lot of gas in the tank.
“She fought very, very hard. This is all good preparation from this man right here. Kevin is amazing to develop horses – not only claiming horses but young horses like you see this one and many others. He's just a great guy to work with.”
Amalfi Coast was the 6-5 bettors' choice following her victory in the one-mile Ontario Damsel Stakes last month and returned $4.60 to win.
“Any time you stretch out, it's a little bit of a concern, but her running style and the way she did it last time it wasn't that much of a bother,” said Attard of the extra distance in the Carotene.
Unraced as a two-year-old, Amalfi Coast is now three-for-seven this year.
Attard, who earned his first Grade 1 victory in last weekend's E.P. Taylor Stakes courtesy of Starship Jubilee, also enjoyed a training triple on Friday at Woodbine.
“It's been a good roll, that's for sure, but there's been a lot of hard work that's put in by my crew and staff,” said Attard, who sits third in the trainer standings with 42 wins at the Woodbine meet. “I couldn't do it without them.”
Da Silva, winner of last year's edition of the Carotene with the Catherine Day-Phillips trainee Dixie Moon, went on to win a total of six races from nine mounts on the day. Woodbine's leading jockey went six-for-six earlier this year on April 28.
Sunday's co-featured $100,000 Bunty Lawless Stakes went to Cooler Mike, who stalked front-runners Desolator and Silent Poet through panels of :24.17, :47.25 and 1:10:67 then took the lead from three-wide off the final turn for jockey Luis Contreras. The four-year-old Giant Gizmo gelding forged ahead of a game Silent Poet in a blanket finish to win the Ontario Sire Stakes event for three-year-olds and up over one mile on the turf. The final time was 1:34.49.
Sent postward at odds of 7-1, Cooler Mike paid $16.50 to win. Silent Poet, the 7-5 favourite, had the edge in a photo for place with Thor's Rocket. Eskiminzin, the lone mare Red Cabernet and Split My Pants finished close behind.
Royal Laser, Dun Drum, Carmenootz and Desolator completed the order of finish.
“He's got a huge heart,” said trainer Nick Nosowenko, who bred and co-owns the five-time winner with his father Mike. “He's the kindest horse you've ever seen around the barn, wants his mints, plays with everybody in the morning, flaps his lips and he's just always there.”
After taking time off with a stateside sojourn following top three finishes in last year's Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, Cooler Mike returned to Woodbine and picked up a victory in the Halton Stakes this summer.
“Boy, he's come back this year like a tiger,” said Nosowenko. “He's just an all-around good horse.”
Favoured at odds of 8-5, Jean Elizabeth ($5.50) took Saturday's featured $125,000 Ontario Fashion Stakes (Grade 3), winning the six-furlong main track event in 1:09.26 with Da Silva aboard for trainer Larry Rivelli and co-owners Richard Ravine and Patricia's Hope LLC.
Fresh off last month's Sweet Briar Too Stakes victory, the four-year-old Adios Charlie filly fashioned another front-end score and held off Special Relativity along the rail by three-quarters of a length, with Heavenly Hill finishing third.
“She's a runner,” stated Da Silva after the race. “She's fast from the gate, she took the lead and when we turned home, she gave another kick. It's very hard for a horse to pass her.”
Woodbine's Turf Endurance Series wrapped up this weekend with Sine Metu claiming the top spot in the standings and $25,000 first-place bonuses for his connections after accumulating 31 points throughout the four legs. Trained and co-owned by Ron Sadler, Prideofdistinction ($5.10) finished off the series a two-leg winner completing Saturday's 1-3/4-mile marathon in 2:57.44 with Justin Stein aboard. Sine Metu was fifth in the final leg after runner-up finishes in the first three events for trainer/owner Debra Rombis.
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