TORONTO, November 10 – Undefeated in five starts this meet at Woodbine, Melmich will put his win streak on the line this Sunday in the $175,000 Autumn Stakes (Grade 2) for three-year-olds and up.
Using his patented late kick, the Horse of the Year candidate has gone undefeated in five starts during his six-year-old campaign with a meet-leading three graded stakes wins at Woodbine and a third successive Elgin Stakes victory among his accomplishments. His latest was his greatest margin of victory as he drew off by 7-1/2 lengths in the Durham Cup on September 30.
“He’s doing well, so far, so good,” reported Attard on Thursday afternoon. “He’s come out of his last race well. He’s had two breezes in the interim and I’m very happy where he’s at.”
While the Autumn Stakes will likely be Melmich’s toughest test so far this year with Gigantic Breeze coming off an impressive win in the Presque Isle Mile and the two-time Grade 2 stakes winner Dragon Bay in the mix, Attard believes his trainee is up to the task. Shippers Western Reserve and Tale of the Nile are also contenders.
“Obviously, it’s been an undefeated season for him so far and he’s stepped up to the plate each time we’ve sent him over there,” said Attard, who trains the son of Wilko for owners Stephen Chesney and Cory Hoffman.
With 16 wins in a career spanning 32 starts, the consistent gelding has proven his talent time and again while forming a bond with his connections.
“He’s a good boy. Sometimes he gets a little sharp on the track, but for the most part he’s just a great horse to work with,” said Attard. “He loves his mints. He’s happy to see you in the morning. He’s been really good to us and I think we appreciate each other.”
Woodbine’s leading stakes-winning jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday evening, retains the mount on Melmich for the Autumn Stakes.
Beyond the Autumn, the Valedictory Stakes on Woodbine’s December 10 season finale could provide one more opportunity for Melmich to showcase his talents. Melmich is trying to keep pace with Pink Lloyd, who is seven-for-seven this year and will be looking for eight straight if he can win the Kennedy Road Stakes (Grade 2) on November 25.
The following is the complete field for Sunday’s 1-1/16 mile Autumn Stakes, which is scheduled at race eight. First race post time is set for 1 p.m.
$175,000 Autumn Stakes (Grade 2)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer – Morning Line
1. Western Reserve – Luis Contreras – JK Sweezey – 12-1
2. Tale of the Nile – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse – 15-1
3. Dragon Bay – Rafael Hernandez – Simon Stuart – 6-1
4. Gigantic Breeze – Gary Boulanger – Alex McPherson – 2-1
5. Melmich – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Kevin Attard – 3-5