TORONTO, November 3, 2019 – Woodbine’s leading jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva was a force to be reckoned with on Sunday as he earned his sixth win on the program guiding Special Forces first across the finish line in the featured $175,000 Autumn Stakes (Grade 2).
Trained by Kevin Attard, Special Forces stole the spotlight from rival Mr Ritz at the end of the 1-1/16-mile main track event, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:42.57.
Salute With Honor showed the way through fractions of :24.38, :47.28 and 1:10.96 before the looming Mr Ritz took him on in the final turn. Those two battled into the stretch with Isotherm and Cooler Mike chasing in third and fourth while Special Forces arrived on the scene late.
Special Forces, who had gapped the top five down the backstretch, set his sights on his target and came flying down the stretch to defeat favourite Mr Ritz for his first stakes victory.
“This horse was in great shape today. Very, very focused, very relaxed,” said Da Silva. “Riding for Kevin is unbelievable. This man always brings the horse in the best shape they can be, and this horse was his best today. He gave me a lot of confidence and when I was sitting behind there, it was just a matter of time for me to get going. He was running so focused.”
Claimed for $40,000 in September last year, Special Forces has won half of his eight starts since while finishing no worse than third. The four-year-old son of Candy Ride had just missed by a nose last time out in the Grade 3 Durham Cup on Sept. 28, and also hit the board prior to that stakes event in the Presque Isle Downs Mile and Grade 3 Seagram Cup, both won by Mr Ritz.
“It took a little longer than we anticipated [to get a stakes win],” said Attard, who co-owns with Soli Mehta. “We were real high on the horse from last year and sometimes you hook small fields and the pace just doesn’t set up your way and today everything went our way.”
Sent postward as the 8-5 second choice, Special Forces paid $5.30 to win. He combined with Mr Ritz ($2.40, $2.30) for an exacta worth $9.50. Cooler Mike ($4.60) edged out Salute With Honor for third to complete the trifecta and superfecta, which returned $43.50 and $187.15 for $1 tickets. Isotherm, Sir Anthony, Say the Word and Admiralty Pier rounded out the field.
Special Forces now sports a career record reading 5-5-1 from 17 starts with earnings soaring past the $300,000 mark.
Da Silva kicked off the 10-race program sweeping the early Daily Double with the Martin Drexler trainee Goodoldhockeygame ($3.80) and Disclosure ($9), conditioned by Malcolm Pierce. He then won four in a row, beginning with Amnesty ($5.50) for Michael De Paulo, Corduroy Road ($3.30) for Robert Tiller and Brass Compass ($6.50) for Drexler.
Da Silva also posted a six-win day two Sundays ago at Woodbine and went six-for-six earlier this year on April 28.
The last jockey to win six races on a single card at Woodbine prior to Da Silva was Luis Contreras, who accomplished the feat on two occasions back on May 3, 2013 and August 7, 2011.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes at Woodbine on Wednesday evening, with post time set for 6:45 p.m.