Avie’s Flatter had experienced problems at the start in his first two appearances but was the consummate professional on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack as he cruised to a 5 1/4 length score in the 82nd running of the Cup and Saucer Stakes.
The $225,000 Cup and Saucer, a race for Canadian-bred two-year-olds which was run over 1 1/16 miles on a turf course officially rated “yielding,” had attracted a field of 10 but Just For Larry was a late scratch.
There was only one horse when it mattered, however, as Avie’s Flatter took charge on the far turn and easily turned back a couple of challengers under regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva.
“I was very, very surprised he showed a lot of speed today,” said Da Silva, who was winning his meet-leading 22nd stakes and second of the weekend. “He was very, very confident, this horse. When he broke there, I tried to take him back a little bit – like at least six seconds – but you know what, he told me, ‘Eurico, let me do this!’ You know, I pleased him, I let him go to the lead and he relaxed. From there, it was over.
“He’s a very nice horse. He’s handled that turf course like it was a hard track. He’s unbelievable how he runs.”
Hesathriller was first to show through an opening quarter in :24.92 but Avie’s Flatter was right on the flank and led through the half in :48.90, three-quarters in 1:14 and the mile in 1:38.33 before stopping the clock in 1:45.20 as the 9-5 favourite.
The only two fillies in the lineup, Bold Script and Kitten’s Girl, both took runs at the leader but fell short.
Bold Script, the 5-1 third choice, finished gamely for second money, three-quarters of a length before a closing Moon Swings.
Kitten’s Girl, the 2-1 second choice, flattened out late to end a neck behind Moon Swings but was a half-length before fifth-place Tricky Magician, who also had taken his shot at the favourite.
Ojiisan, Groundhog Day, Flying Curlin and Hesathriller rounded out the order of finish.
Josie Carroll, who conditions Avie’s Flatter for owner/breeder Ivan Dalos, admitted that she did not anticipate the Flatter colt being so prominent early.
“I was very surprised to see him go to the lead, but then he got up there and he was so relaxed,” said Carroll. “His ears were pricked and I thought, obviously, Eurico knows what he’s got under him and hopefully there’s a enough horse to go on with.
“He seemed to handle the soft turf. You know, he had a tough trip in the race before and I think he got a lot of conditioning out of that, which made me a little more confident.”
Avie’s Flatter returned $5.60, $3.60 and $2.80 and keyed a $25.60 exacta with Bold Script ($4.50, $3.10). The $2 trifecta, which paid $198, was completed by Moon Swings ($6.30) and the $1 superfecta, with Kitten’s Girl fourth, was worth $353.60.
A special holiday Monday program of live racing at Woodbine will feature the $100,000 Bunty Lawless Stakes. First race post time is set for 1 p.m.