TORONTO, August 8, 2019 – Special Forces, a four-year-old son of Candy Ride, is set to contest his second straight Grade 3 race when he goes postward in Sunday’s $125,000 Seagram Cup Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Kevin Attard who co-owns with Soli Mehta, Special Forces was making his added-money debut in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes on June 30 at Woodbine.
Under Alan Garcia, the Kentucky-bred, sent on his way as the 6-5 favourite, rated off the pace in the 1 ¼-mile main track tilt, launched a determined stretch drive, but couldn’t collar Are You Kidding Me, finishing a half-length behind the Roger Attfield trainee, whom he’ll meet once again on Sunday.
The runner-up effort ended a three-race win streak that dates back to last October.
“I thought he ran well enough but didn’t have the punch we had seen in his last couple races,” offered Attard, who won the 2017 Seagram Cup with Melmich. “In saying that, he obviously took a big step up in class and the slow pace may have compromised him.”
Going winless in his first five career starts – all in the U.S. – Special Forces, who finished fifth in his career bow at Churchill on May 25, 2017, arrived on the Woodbine scene last July, finishing sixth in his Canadian curtain raiser.
Since then, the gelding has reeled off four wins and a pair of seconds from six Toronto oval starts, along with a sixth-place result at Saratoga on August 29.
Bred by Machmer Hall, Carrie Brogden and Craig Brogden, Special Forces has posted four wins and three seconds from 13 career starts.
Attard, closing in on 450 career wins, has high praise for one of his stable stars ahead of Sunday’s 1 1/16-mile main track feature.
“As for what impresses me the most, is that apart from being such a laid back horse he can show an explosive turn of foot. He’s great to work around and very professional.”
Special Forces will have to contend with the aforementioned Are You Kidding Me, who finished second in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Seagram, as well as 2015 Seagram champ Florida Won.
Last year, Decorated Solider pulled off the upset, paying $21 for the victory. Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley has won a record seven runnings of the race, including his first with Fabe Count in 1974.
The Seagram Cup is scheduled as race nine of 11 on Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. program.
Fans can also watch and wager on all the live action via HPIbet.com.
$125,000 SEAGRAM CUP
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Mr Havercamp – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Catherine Day Phillips
2 – Thor’s Rocket – Justin Stein – Paul Buttigieg
3 – Special Forces – Alan Garcia – Kevin Attard
4 – Florida Won – Kazushi Kimura – Ross Armata
5 – Mr Ritz – Patrick Husbands – Josie Carroll
6 – Revved Up – Jerome Lermyte – Mark Casse
7 – Rose’s Vision – Gary Boulanger – Stuart Simon
8 – Are You Kidding Me – Rafael Hernandez – Roger Attfield