Final Copy delivered Hall of Fame conditioner Roger Attfield his first Toronto Cup Stakes, winning the $119,400 co-feature, Sunday at Woodbine.
Bred and owned by Chiefswood Stables, Final Copy, a three-year-old son of Malibu Moon, wore down slight favourite Conquest Lemonraid in the late going of the 1 1/8-mile one-turn event over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
The grey, who notched his first added-money triumph, has now won three consecutive races.
It was Night Watchman, under Luis Contreras, who took command early, opening up a sizable advantage on his rivals through opening splits of :24.87 and :48.45. Rafael Hernandez, aboard Final Copy, was content to keep his charge relaxed off the pace in the fourth while tracking the trip of Conquest Lemonraid, who was positioned in second.
As the field rounded the turn for home, Night Watchman’s lead began to quickly dwindle, as Conquest Lemonraid soon took over with Final Copy, to his outside, in hot pursuit.
As the duo dueled down the lane, Final Copy eventually wore down his rival to earn a three-quarter length score. King and His Court was third in the race timed in 1:49.24 over a good E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Hernandez applauded the gumption shown by the now three-time winner from six starts.
“Everything worked good today,” said Hernandez. “He had a good break, he relaxed and we got a clear trip. He’s doing what he’s been doing the last three times – just let him run in the stretch.”
Attfield was pleased to see Final Copy finally put it all together after some head-scratching times over the past two seasons.
“I think that made the difference,” said the veteran trainer, of the decision to geld the horse after a seventh-place effort in March at Tampa Bay Downs. “I’ve been getting very frustrated with this horse. He’s a good-looking horse, great walk to him, great pedigree – just giving me nothing, nothing, nothing. It turned him right around for sure. I was really pleased with his race today because it’s the first time he’s been that far off the pace and come running. It’s a good step in the right direction, I think.”
Robert Krembil, of Chiefswood, had high praise for everyone involved in the victory.
“I have to credit Roger for the patience,” he said. “He (Final Copy) is bred for this and he should win, but it took him awhile to figure it out. I think gelding helped. I thought Rafael gave him a great ride today.”
Final Copy paid $6.20, $3 and $2.60, combining with Conquest Lemonraid ($2.60, $2.10) for a $14.50 (1-3) exactor. A 1-3-4 triactor (King and His Court, $2.40 to show) was worth $33.90. A $1 Superfecta of 1-3-4-2 (Watch Me Strut) returned $36.15.