Multiple Sovereign Award champion and millionaire Are You Kidding Me goes for the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes grand slam, Holiday Monday at Woodbine.
A 12-time winner from 42 career starts, nine-year-old Are You Kidding Me will look to add to his record trio of wins in the 1 1/16-mile event for four-year-olds and upwards.
Trained by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield, the son of Run Away and Hide captured the Eclipse in 2015, 2016 and 2018, just missing by a neck in the 2017 running of the $175,000 race.
“He's doing great,” said Attfield, who has won a record eight runnings of the Eclipse. “He's a great old boy. He's healthy and well. He's been a delight, around for a long time for us now. He's a fixture.”
In last year's race, the Kentucky-bred, owned by Michael Riordan, Ron Kirk and John Bates, stopped the teletimer in 1:43.14.
“He trained so well in the winter,” said Attfield after the 2018 score. “I gave him a lot of time for this quarter crack – a lot more than he actually needed – but the whole idea was really to have him for the summer here. He trained so very well, I would have been surprised if he got beat in the prep and then he trained off of that race well. Of course, this is the first time also he hasn't had to carry a lot of weight in this race so he was delighted to win it himself.”
Are You Kidding Me enjoyed a fruitful eight-year-old campaign, recording two wins, one second and a third from five starts.
Canada's Champion Older Horse in 2015 and 2016 arrives at the Eclipse off a ninth-place finish in a 1 1/16-mile turf race on April 5 at Keeneland.
Attfield expects his veteran star to rebound on Monday afternoon.
“I gave him that one race in Keeneland to help him get to this race. His last work (five furlongs, :59.80, breezing, on May 15) was great, very encouraging for me to go on to this race. He might have missed a step or two in age – I don't know – but he's not showing it at this moment.”
After a third and sixth, respectively, to launch his career in 2012, Are You Kidding Me responded with consecutive wins at Woodbine, including his maiden-breaking effort on July 28 of that year.
His first added-money title came at Delaware Park on September 7, 2013 when he won the Grade 3 Kent Stakes.
“He's run a lot of good races aside from this one,” offered Attfield. “It's the beginning of the year, he's fresh and we always have him fit enough. He's still feisty and he still has a lot of energy, but he's always been an easy horse to be around. He's just a real competitor. He goes into this race with a lot of desire.”
The Eclipse is Race 7 on Holiday Monday's eight-race card. First post time is 1:05 p.m.
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