Trainer Kevin Attard could be in store for a big weekend of stakes action, headlined by the 126th running of the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes on Sunday, Aug. 20 at Woodbine Racetrack.
Attard will send out the lightly raced Lookin At Bravo in the Canadian Triple Crown’s 1-1/2 mile turf test, with Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard.
Bred by Penny & Manfred Conrad and owned by Derek Chin, the three-year-old Lookin At Lucky-Sunset Kisses gelding was a $52,000 purchase at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale and arrived in Attard’s care this past spring. He won his second of just three starts on June 14 on the Woodbine turf, drawing clear late to win in 2:01.94 over 1-1/4 miles. While he lacks experience, he is one of just two horses in the field of 10 that has raced over 1-1/2 miles on the turf following his win on July 14.
“He’s been pretty straight forward,” said Attard. “He’s come along nicely. I think we got a little spoiled that he won in his second start, but he had showed early that he had been breezing well and we kind of expected good things at the same token, I guess, so he’s coming into this race in good order. He lacks maybe a little seasoning compared to some of his counterparts, but he’s also had a run at the distance, which should serve him well.”
Attard, who previously celebrated a Triple Crown victory with 2007 Prince of Wales Stakes champion and Queen’s Plate runner-up Alezzandro, has put up career-best numbers over the past two seasons topping $1.79 million in earnings in 2016.
“Obviously, it’s been hard work,” said Attard of his growing success. “I have a good staff of people with me that have been working with me for the last five or six years and as a team, collectively, we’ve worked very hard to get where we are today. I’ve had some owners kind of push some good horses in my direction and trust me in the decision making and it’s proven successful. Obviously, I have a lot of confidence in my abilities, so it’s just been a long maturing process and everything’s kind of starting to come together, and with success, you’re fed better horses too.”
Attard currently has about 50 horses in training, including multiple graded stakes winners Melmich, Calgary Cat and Starship Jubilee.
Melmich just won the $125,000 Seagram Cup Stakes (Gr. 3) last Sunday while Calgary Cat will tackle this Saturday’s $175,000 Play the King Stakes (Gr. 2). In addition to the Breeders’ Stakes on Sunday, Attard will have two shots at another trophy with the streaking mare Starship Jubilee and Pumpkin Rumble entered in the $175,000 Sky Classic Stakes (Gr. 2).
Owned by Attard and Soli Mehta, Starship Jubilee will put her win streak on the line running against the boys with Luis Contreras taking the reins. The four-year-old Indy Wind-Perfectly Wild mare has won five races in a row, including back-to-back Grade 2 stakes wins at Woodbine for Attard in the Nassau and Dance Smartly.
“She’s just kind of developed into a good horse and we’ve been very ecstatic the way she’s been running since coming to Woodbine [from Gulfstream Park],” said Attard. “We’ve been having kind of a hard time finding a spot for her so this race is kind of a ‘Plan C’ really, but it’s local, she doesn’t have to ship anywhere, and she’ll get some weight because she’s running against the boys. The mile and three-eighths might be a little bit farther than she wants to go – I think that’s going to be her biggest hurdle – so we’re just going to try to ride her accordingly and hope she can prevail.”
Attard will also have Al and Bill Ulwelling’s Pumpkin Rumble competing in the Sky Classic Stakes. Jesse Campbell will retain the mount aboard the six-year-old English Channel-Clarins gelding following a third-place finish in the $175,000 Nijinsky Stakes (Gr. 2) on July 29 won by the Stuart Simon-trained Dragon Bay.
“He’s new for me this year and I’m beginning to learn about him as we go along,” said Attard. “I do think he’s going to step a little bit more forward in this race than his previous races so I’m happy with him and kind of excited to get him back to the gate on Sunday.”
Here is a look at the complete fields for Sunday’s turf stakes. First race post time is set for 1 p.m.
$400,000 Breeders’ Stakes – Race 8
Post – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line Odds 1. Conquest Lemonraid – Joe Bravo – Mark Casse 2. Channel Maker – Rafael Hernandez – Bill Mott 3. King and His Court – Gary Boulanger – Mark Casse 4. Lookin At Bravo – Emma-Jayne Wilson 5. Major Eclipse – Jesse Campbell – Roger Attfield 6. Woodbridge – Alan Garcia – Michael Keogh 7. Glencairn – Jerome Lermyte – Roger Attfield 8. Seeking Albert* – David Moran – Michael DePaulo 9. Final Copy – Patrick Husbands – Roger Attfield 10. Cool Catomine* – Luis Contreras – John Ross *supplemental entries
$175,000 Sky Classic Stakes (Gr. 2) – Race 6 1. Can’thelpbelieving – Joe Bravo – Graham Motion 2. Noble Thought – Patrick Husbands – Malcolm Pierce 3. Starship Jubilee – Luis Contreras – Kevin Attard 4. Dragon Bay – Gary Boulanger – Stuart Simon 5. Pumpkin Rumble – Jesse Campbell – Kevin Attard 6. Galileo’s Spear – Jerome Lermyte – Roger Attfield