TORONTO, November 11, 2020 – Red Equinox, a daughter of Signature Red, will try to follow up an impressive debut with a win in Saturday’s $100,000 South Ocean Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Jamie Attard for Norseman Racing Stable (Howard Walton), the chestnut arrives at the 6 ½ furlong main track event for Ontario-sired rookie fillies off a sharp score in her career bow on October 8 at Woodbine.
Sent off at 6-1, Red Equinox broke on top in the 6-furlong Tapeta race before being settled mid-pack by Kazushi Kimura. Second and gaining at the stretch call, the pair got up late to record a one-length win in 1:10.61.
“She’s always had talent, it was more about her mind than anything else,” said Attard, who currently has a stable of 13 horses on the Woodbine backstretch. “She came up to Toronto and they had done a beautiful job breaking her in Florida. Gail Woods – not the Gail Woods we know here in Canada – does a fantastic job with them. We have the full-brother, Red Hierarchy [3-0-2 from 5 starts], and as I recall, he hadn’t run yet when she first arrived. She showed talent right away, but she was kind of finicky and there were a couple of screws a little bit loose up there.”
Attard was glad to see the filly tighten things up and put it all together in her first start.
“She had 17 works before she ran that first race. In all honesty, I thought she’d be right there. I knew she was fit enough and she had put everything together properly. I think the last work – the one where she worked :36 and change out of the gate – is when the light bulb went on for her and she really put it together.”
Attard also handed out high marks to Kimura, who’ll be aboard once again in the South Ocean.
A combination of the conditioner’s gameplan and the rider’s execution of it worked to perfection.
“Kazushi hadn’t had a chance to work her. He came into the paddock, and I said, ‘This filly is quick out of the gate and I know she’s going to break well. We have an outside post and it’s a big field. We have a lot of inside speed, so to try and sit off them.’ And he did that to the letter. She sat there in the second flight and she’s not scared. Sure enough, she sat just off them, split horses late and started to draw off at the wire.”
Attard was just as impressed with his young charge in the lead-up to the race when a couple of pre-race incidents took place near Red Equinox.
Neither one caused her to flinch.
“A horse flipped right in front of her when we were putting the blinkers on in the paddock. Another one got loose by the rocks where the ponies wait. She just kind of stood there, looked at it, and took everything in stride. She handled herself very well.”
Attard is hoping for another strong showing on Saturday as Red Equinox steps up to face stakes competition.
He’s seen indicators between the first race and the South Ocean that she’ll be up to the task.
“Even more so since that first race, she’s matured and put things together. Her works have been easier for her because she knows what she’s here for now. That race really put her mind on business even more than it was.”
Attard’s father, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Sid Attard, campaigned her sire Signature Red, a multiple graded stakes winner also owned by Walton’s Norseman Racing Stable.
“Dad trained the father and the mother [Majestic Red] of Red Equinox. Any time that you deal with Howie, you know there’s some kind of connection to dad. Since I’ve gone out on my own, Howie has given me so many horses and given me a great opportunity. He really gives you the patience and autonomy to do what’s right. He just says, ‘When they’re ready, let me know.’ It’s very easy to work for him because you know you have his confidence.”
Other contenders include Dejas Too, a bay daughter of Ami’s Holiday, who has one win and a runner-up effort from two starts, Gizmo’s B F F, trained and co-owned by Paul Buttigieg, first-time out winner Jilli Marie, Meet the Soprano, a daughter of Singing Saint, who won her most recent start, and Sunsprite, a chestnut daughter of Reload, who has two wins and a second from three starts.
South Ocean, who went on to become a top broodmare, was a dual stakes winner, capturing the 1969 Yearling Sales Stakes and winning the premier race for fillies in 1970, the Canadian Oaks, defeating future Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Fanfreluche. Her two-year career race record consisted of 22 starts with 17 in the money finishes and purse earnings of $70,147.
The South Ocean Stakes is scheduled as race eight on Saturday’s 11-race card. First post time is set for 1:25 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com.
$100,000 SOUTH OCEAN STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Red Equinox – Kazushi Kimura – Jamie Attard
2 – Jilli Marie – Steven Bahen – Katerina Vassilieva
3 – Dejas Too – Patrick Husbands – Josie Carroll
4 – Silent Guroo – Luis Contreras – Nicholas Gonzalez
5 – Meet the Soprano – Daisuke Fukumoto – William Tharrenos
6 – Sunsprite – Justin Stein – Kevin Attard
7 – Speedy Lynn – Sahin Civaci – Martin Drexler
8 – Gizmo’s B F F – David Moran – Paul Buttigieg
9 – Absolute Privilege* – Rafael Hernandez – Cole Bennett
10 – Silent Sparkle – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Nicholas Gonzalez