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Jim McAleney and Asserting Bear head to the winner's circle after the Coronation Futurity.
The $250,000 Coronation Futurity at Woodbine is the premier race for Canadian-bred juveniles, having a strong influence on Sovereign Award voting for champion 2-year-old male as well as determining the early favorites for next year's Queen's Plate. However the last horse to win the Coronation Futurity and then the Plate was Norcliffe in 1975-76. Despite rain and high winds forecast all day, the race was run under dry conditions with a dark overcast sky, a light breeze, and temperatures in the mid-50's, unusually warm for mid-November in Toronto.
Asserting Bear leads down the stretch with Majestic Sunset on the rail and Man O'Bear on the outside.
Jockey Jesse Campbell sent 10-1 Heart to Heart to a 2 length lead first time past the stands and he set fractions of 24.41, 49.03, and 1:13.61 while stalked by 9-1 fourth choice Asserting Bear, in turn 1 1/2 lengths ahead of 23-1 Majestic Sunset. Entering the stretch, Heart to heart tired allowing Asserting Bear to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:38.17. Kept to task by jockey Jim McAleney, Asserting Bear held off Majestic Sunset by a length for the win in 1:50.96. It was just 1/2 a length back to late-running Man O'Bear third. Favorite Ami's Holiday finished 5th but was disqualified to last for interference when he angled out into Matador at the 1/4 pole.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Asserting Bear McAleney 19.90 7.70 18.40 1 Majestic Sunset Da Silva 19.20 19.00 2 Man O'Bear Wilson 6.50 Winning Time: 1:50.96 $2 Exacta 5-1 254.20 $2 Trifecta 5-1-2 1,090.30 $1 Superfecta 5-1-2-4 2,563.25
Left: Asserting Bear in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Jim McAleney said, "He was right on his game. He worked really well coming into this race. He's made leaps and bounds of improvement from the first time I rode him until now and that's the handling of the horse. He ran a great race (in the Cup and Saucer). Soft turf tends to favor speed so the two horses that ran one-two (Matador by a nose over Cool Faith) had favor to their side. He closed really hard late. He sure handled it well today and from two to three (years-old), you only have to go another 1/8 mile, so it would be surprising if he couldn't get (the Queen's Plate distance)."
Right: Asserting Bear in the post parade. Trainer Reade Baker said, "He's got distance on both sides of his pedigree. Asserting Bear is a half-brother to a horse (Inish Glora) that made $977,000 going long." He will go next in the Kingarvie Stakes on December 7 for his final start this year.
Left: Second place finisher Majestic Sunset heads into the paddock. Notice he has one blue eye on this side while the other is the normal brown (click the small photo for a better view). The 23-1 shot stalked the pace in third under jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva, put in a stretch bid but was outfinished. The Mark Casse trainee improved his record to 0 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 4 starts, earning $69,118 for owner John Oxley.
Right: Third place finisher Man O'Bear returns after the race. Trainer Reade Baker, who also trains the winner, said, "Man o' Bear got backed away at the start and I still think Man o' Bear might be able to beat (Asserting Bear)."
Fifth place finisher (disqualified to last) and beaten favorite Ami's Holiday in the post parade. The 3-5 favorite raced 6th early under jockey Luis Contreras, angled out into Matador at the top of the stretch and finished 5th beaten 4 lengths at the line, but was disqualified to last for the interference. The Josie Carroll trainee has a record of 2 wins, 0 seconds, and 0 thirds in 3 starts, earning $161,233 for owner Ivan Dalos.
Coachella Valley wins the Jammed Lovely Stakes.
Trainer Reade Baker, who swept both stakes at Woodbine this weekend, said, "We thought she was alright in the spring and then she seemed to tail off. I don't know if it's as simple as putting blinkers on, but when we put the blinkers on it's certainly night and day." Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson added, "I thought there would be a little bit of pace in there, and that's the way the race unfolded. She made up some ground and put her and myself in a nice position through the turn. I just had to squeeze through a tight hole to get up there, but she's pretty game."
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