TORONTO, November 12, 2020 – Avoman, fresh off a win in the Bull Page Stakes, locks horns with eight rivals in Sunday’s $100,000 Frost King Stakes, at Woodbine.
The son of prominent sire Old Forester arrives at the 6 ½-furlong Tapeta event for Ontario-sired two-year-olds off an impressive victory in the 7 ½-furlong (Inner Turf) Bull Page Stakes on September 27 at Woodbine.
With Justin Stein in the irons, the gelding, co-owned by trainer Don MacRae (D-Mac Racing) and La Huerta Inc. (father and son team Jim and Graeme Bruce), got off a step slowly but finished with a flourish to net top prize in the $100,000 added-money race, crossing the wire 1 ½ lengths on top in a time of 1:31.78.
“To say he would win, that’s kind of a bold statement,” said MacRae, of expectations ahead of the Bull Page. “I thought he was a pretty talented horse, enough to take a shot – even though he was a maiden – in a stakes race. I wasn’t really totally confident about running on the grass. Some of the siblings haven’t run that well over it. He did have a sister [Professor’s Ride] who did win a stake [2013 edition of the La Prevoyante] on it. So, I went in there with confidence thinking that he would run a big race, but to think he would win, that’s a bold statement.”
Avoman will now return to the Tapeta and shorten up in his quest to make it two straight stakes scores. He debuted on September 7 in a 6 ½-furlong main track race at Woodbine, and finished third in the $126,800 maiden special weight event.
“You never want to get too excited early on,” offered MacRae. “When he was down in Ocala, my buddy Chris Griffith was getting on him, and he thought at that point that he had some talent. It was just a matter of him maturing, and building on that momentum. When Chris was breezing him and he started going a little further, he showed he did have some ability. Once again, he does need to keep him improving because the other two-year-olds are going to get bigger and stronger as well. It’s tough enough to get a good horse, so when you do, you want to do everything right by them.”
A $60,000 yearling purchase at the 2019 Canadian Premier Yearling sale, the dark bay, bred by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, is the first stakes winner for the Bruce family who campaigned their first horse, Arthur’s Pass, in 2017. La Huerta Imports is a family-run business founded by Jim Bruce over two decades ago. Operating out of Toronto, the company supplies tropical produce to buyers and retailers.
Graeme Bruce, vice-president of La Huerta Imports, is hoping his young charge has a fruitful weekend and beyond.
“He’s beautiful horse with a great stride, but most importantly seems to like racing. We have had some lookers that just didn’t have the mindset, so were happy we found one that for now enjoys the sport. We had this one circled in the book from his page. The mare has had some good runners and we own his full-brother Secret Path, so it seemed like a good fit for the barn. We went a bit higher than we wanted, but hindsight being 20/20, it seems like a great buy. Always cautious, but looking forward to having a solid run this Sunday.”
If attitude and body language is an indication of how Avoman will fare, Bruce is understandably feeling good ahead of the Frost King.
“The horse is acting like he owns the joint, which is always a great sign.”
“He acts like that. He walks out there with some swagger. The first time Justin came to breeze him, I let him know that once he starts galloping, he lets out a big buck every time. He did that in the Bull Page. He likes to show off a little bit. He loves the game. He loves everything about it. When I take him out to the main track and it’s busy, he loves the competition, and he loves spotting horses and chasing after them. That part is very fun to watch, to see that he enjoys what he does. That’s pretty cool.”
Rivals include All Canadian, runner-up in the Bull Page, and Simcoe Stakes, as well as Dragon’s Brew, who took the Simcoe for owner Goldmart Farms and trainer Robert Tiller.
The Frost King is slated as race eight on Sunday’s 11-race card. First post time is 1:25 p.m. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
$100,000 FROST KING STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Avoman – Justin Stein – Don MacRae
2 – Souper Classy – David Moran – Michael De Paulo
3 – Candy Overload – Rafael Hernandez – Krista Cole
4 – De Only Solution* – Patrick Husbands – Cole Bennett
5 – Blind Trust – Luis Contreras – Norman McKnight
6 – All Canadian – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Gail Cox
7 – Red River Rebel – Steven Bahen – Rachel Halden
8 – Dragon’s Brew – Daisuke Fukumoto – Robert Tiller
9 – Forest Survivor – Kazushi Kimura – Norman McKnight
By Chris Lomon for Woodbine Communications / Michael Burns photo