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Trainer Roger Attfield leads Are You Kidding Me with Rafael Hernandez aboard to the winner's circle after the Dominion Day Stakes.
The feature race on the day before Canada Day at Woodbine as part of the country's 152nd birthday festivities, is the $125,000 Dominion Day Stakes (G3), featuring the top older horses on the grounds going the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles on the Tapeta, and this year is the closing day of the now three-day Queen's Plate Festival. Unlike Plate Saturday, Sunday the sky was clear with a temperature of 26 C (79 F) with the Tapeta rated fast (standard) and the turf rated good-to-firm (GoingStick reading 10.5). After Eclipse Stakes (G2) winner Souper Tapit scratched, just 5 went to post with Special Forces sent off as the 6-5 favorite off a 3 race win streak in allowance company and making his stakes debut here. In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice and 9-year-old Are You Kidding Me, 3rd in this race the last 2 runnings and coming off a 2nd place finish in an allowance, and 3-1 third choice Pumpkin Rumble, unraced since winning the Valedictory Stakes (G3) in December.
Are You Kidding Me leads rallies on the outside
Jockey Steven Bahen sent 6-1 Final Copy to the lead first time by through fractions of 25.45 and 50.85 while pressed by 9-1 Aheadbyacentury and stalked by Pumpkin Rumble. At the 1/2 mile pole Pumpkin Rumble moved up to take over the lead through 3/4 in 1:14.50 and 1 mile in 1:38.55. Pumpkin Rumble continued to lead to midstretch through 9f in 1:51.39, but Are You Kidding Me, 4th early under Rafael Hernandez, came out 3 wide for room and outfinished deep closing favorite Special Forces to win by 1/2 a length in 2:04.28. It was another 3/4 length back to Pumpkin Rumble third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 6 Are You Kidding Me Hernandez 7.40 3.00 2.40 4 Special Forces Garcia 2.50 2.20 5 Pumpkin Rumble Da Silva 2.40 Winning Time: 2:04.28 $1 Exacta 6-4 7.90 $1 Trifecta 6-4-5 16.15 $1 Superfecta 6-4-5-3 31.95
Left: Are You Kidding Me in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Roger Attfield said, "He's getting older and he's had quite a bit of time off this winter, and sometimes those older horses, when they get that much time off, they get a little bit rusty, it takes them a little bit longer. It seemed like he just lost a step or two to be quite honest with you, but he went into this race really well."
Right: Are You Kidding Me gets hosed off after the race. This is Roger Attfield's 5th Dominion Day win, the most by any trainer.
Left: Are You Kidding Me in the paddock. Winning jockey Rafael Hernandez said, "He showed what he could do. He's always got something left in the tank. He's an old, classy dude. He knows what he's doing, he knows how to win races and he showed up today. The other years he's been doing the same thing. It was quite the fight, but he always doesn't give up, he always gives you the most he has in the tank and he showed up today in the stretch and he still has more."
Right: Are You Kidding Me shortly after the start.
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Special Forces in the paddock before the race. He improved his record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 0 thirds in 13 starts, earning $148,638 for owner-trainer Kevin Attard and co-owner Soli Mehta.
Right: Third place finisher Pumpkin Rumble returns after the race. The Kevin Attard trainee improved his record to 9 wins, 8 seconds, and 9 thirds in 43 starts, earning $560,955 for owners Al and Bill Ulwelling.
Speedy Soul wins the Bison City Stakes
Jockey Gary Boulanger sent Bold Script to the lead first time by and she set fractions of 24.90 and 49.47 while pressed by Intanga Rose and stalked by Speedy Soul. On the far turn, Intanga Rose took over through 3/4 in 1:13.23 and continued to lead to the 1/8 pole. Speedy Soul, wide throughout under Patrick Husbands, unleashed her rally inside the 1/8 pole to win going away by 3 1/4 lengths over Bold Script in 1:44.51. It was another 3/4 length back to Intanga Rose third.
Left: Speedy Soul in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mark Casse said, "She's getting a little better each time. As Patrick said, he actually wanted the blinkers on at the beginning, then once we stretched her out, we thought she was maybe a little too eager, but she ran extremely well today. We're proud of her." Casse has won 3 straight editions of the Bison City and 5 total.
Right: Right: Speedy Soul gets heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Patrick Husbands said, "She wants to run all day. Last time when I rode her, the first quarter, I couldn't get her to relax. I begged Mark and Joey (Gualtieri, owner), 'Can you please take the blinkers off?' Today, from the time she left the gate, she was relaxed."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Bold Script in the post parade. The Stuart Simon trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 9 starts, earning $332,092 for owner-breeder Chiefswood Stable.
Right: Third place finisher Intanga Rose in the paddock before the race. The Sid Attard trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 6 starts, earning $113,915 for owner-breeder Stronach Stables.
The fillies break from the gate for the Bison City Stakes.
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