TORONTO, March 19 – Welcome to the 11th edition of our weekly Snowbirds report chronicling the winter adventures of Woodbine-based trainers currently plying their trade south of the border.
Four of our travelling trainers found their way to the winner’s circle this week including Tino Attard, Mike DePaulo, Mike Keogh and Shane Learn.
Let’s start at the Aiken Trials, in South Carolina, where Mike Keogh’s Say No More set a track record covering 4 ½ furlongs in :52 2/5 seconds to take the City of Aiken trophy.
Say No More, a five-year-old Gustav Schickedanz homebred, was one of two winners on the day for Keogh who also saddled Well Played to victory in the Iselin Hall of Fame. For more on the Aiken Trials, click into this recap by Ben Baugh. And for more on Keogh, re-visit this excellent feature on the top conditioner about to enter his 20th season as a trainer.
Tino Attard was a man on a mission at Gulfstream last week notching his second win of 2013 when Why Katherine came from off the pace to win a one-mile turf tilt. It’s been a productive meet for the four-year-old chestnut filly, having broken her maiden at the Hallandale oval in January.
In addition, Attard sent out Get A Grip (3rd, March 13), Fathom’s End (7th, March 16) and Black Bonnet (8th, March 17), while also claiming Dragon Tail ($12,500) and Nemo Landing ($6,250) in a busy week.
Ben’s Best Bet broke his maiden in style for owner-trainer Mike DePaulo with a five-length score at Gulfstream on March 15. A four-year-old son of Survivalist, Ben’s Best Bet pressed the pace of Trueamericanpride in the six furlong event before opening up through the stretch under jockey Luis Contreras.
DePaulo also sent out Mays Treasuretrove (7th, March 15) in quiet week for the barn.
Shane Learn (4-3-1 in 12 starts) continues to be a high-percentage trainer in 2013 as Majestic Hope drew off to a six-length score at odds of 11-1 in a one-mile route at Parx, on March 16.
And now, let’s take a run through the rest of the results in alphabetical order.
Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield completed a pair of exactors at Gulfstream last week as Seekingthediamond (2nd, March 15) and Hollinger (2nd, March 16) were narrowly denied.
Hollinger was nosed out of an eventful 1 1/16-mile turf event, rallying from off the pace to take the lead nearing the wire only to get caught by a hard-charging Under Control with Southern Parkway up for show, a head behind Hollinger, in an exciting blanket finish.
Attfield also saddled the aforementioned Dragon Tail to a fifth-place finish.
Reade Baker’s lone starter, Benita Blue, finished sixth in a turf route at Gulfstream.
Bay King (7th, March 15) and Incredicat (7th, March 16) failed to hit the board for Ian Black at Gulfstream. Incredicat, defeated less than two lengths, seemed to enjoy his first jaunt over the lawn setting the pace in the Hollinger race.
Josie Carroll’s lone starter, Southern Legend, finished fourth in a turf claimer at Gulfstream on March 15, just in front of Jive On, who was sixth, as the lone starter for Gail Cox.
Mark Casse, who will send out Uncaptured for his three-year-old debut in the Spiral on Saturday at Turfway Park, finished the week with a record of 0-0-2 from five starters.
Gentleman Jackson (3rd, March 14 at GP) and Treasure Thief (3rd, March 17 at GP) were the best of a bunch that included Keep the Cash (4th, March 14 at GP), Miss Tatey Cat (8th, March 16 at GP) and Strike It Green (7th, March 17 at TBD).
Royal Espresso lacked energy for Mark Frostad finishing 12th at Gulfstream on March 15. Expect the horse to perk up next time out which will be the third start of the form cycle.
Cry War Eagle swooped for show money on St. Patrick’s Day, on the green at Gulfstream, for trainer Brian Lynch.
Unbridled War failed to fire coming home 11th for John Mattine on March 15, at Gulfstream.
Diamonds for Mia finished sixth for Michael McDonald on March 14, at Gulfstream.
His Race to Win, third in the Coronation Futurity, continues to seek his maiden score for Malcolm Pierce after a strong second-place run in his three-year-old debut at the Fair Grounds, on March 17.
Pierce, who will be prominent when Keeneland opens with filly Deceptive Vision and colt Up With the Birds, also saddled Speed Goddess for an eighth-place finish at the Louisiana track.
Pefect Tay finished fifth, defeated a length, while racing against fellow Woodbine horses Hollinger and Incredicat for trainer Lorne Richards, on March 16.
Just the one starter, Flashy Zee (5th, March 16), for John Simms last week at Tampa Bay Downs.
James Smith sent out a pair of runners at Laurel Park: Jazzy Jane (4th, March 13) and Winter Lady (7th, March 14).
And last, but not least, Dan Vella’s Fiaker finished 8th on debut at Gulfstream, on March 15.