Harlequin Ranches’ homebred Llanarmon, ridden by a patient Emma-Jayne Wilson, wore down the leaders in deep stretch to post a 7-1 surprise in the featured $150,000 Carotene Stakes, on the holiday Thanksgiving Monday at Woodbine.
Well back on the inside for most of the mile and one-eighth turf stake, as Zazinga, stalked by favoured Final Redemption, cut out fractions of :24.38, :47.67 and 1:11.68, Llanarmon was swung five-wide by Wilson turning for home and came running, hauling down the favourite by the sixteenth pole and going on to win by two and one-quarter lengths in 1:49.21 over the firm going.
Finn’s Jewel wound up third, another three-quarters of a length behind, while Zazinga faded to fourth.
For Ontario-bred three-year-old fillies, the Carotene drew eight hopefuls, headed by import Final Redemption, trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Patrick Husbands.
But it was only appropriate that the winner of the Carotene was trained by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield, who also conditioned the race’s namesake during her illustrious career in the 1980’s, when she earned over $1.2 million.
“She’s gotten into a bit of a habit of taking more time to get herself into gear,” explained Wilson. “But last time she came with such a vicious run (when finishing third), I was pretty confident to just let her be happy and comfortable and she was going to run them down. I think she’s effective on both (turf and poly). She’s had more success on the grass, though.”
Laughed Attfield, “I was honoured when they asked me if I would do the (trophy) presentation. But I said, ‘What if I win? They said, ‘We’ll find somebody’. I haven’t been over here (to the winner’s circle) much this year. It’s been kind of a quiet year for me. But I thought, well, at least I’ll be over there. One of them (appearances) will pay, one won’t.”
“In her last race, we saddled her outside and she just lost it. But we schooled her since then. And once she’s inside, she’s fine. She saddled like a puppy dog today. I loved her going into this race. I thought her last race just showed her off to me. She was so far out of it that day and came with a big run to be third. She’s obviously getting into the habit of taking herself off the pace. But she was far too far off the other day (when third in the La Lorgnette on Polytrack). So I said to Emma, ‘If you can keep her a little closer, she’ll probably win this race today.’ I was very high on her.”
It was just the second win in seven starts this year for the well-bred bay daughter of Sky Mesa-Gold Strike. But she’d also run well to be third in the Woodbine Oaks on Polytrack in June, a classic race her mother won in 2005. Last year, Llanarmon broke her maiden in the grassy Natalma Stakes at 9-1.
Llarnarmon earned $90,000 for the victory to push her career bankroll to over $350,000. She paid $16, $5 and $3.20, combining with Final Redemption ($2.80, $2.40) for a $52.20 (4-7) exactor. A 4-7-2 (Finn’s Jewel, $3) triactor returned $192.70 while a $1 Superfecta [4-7-2-6 (Zazinga)] was worth $272.25.