Woodbine Oaks Could be Family Affair
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
Trainer Tino Attard won the Woodbine Oaks in 1998 and 1999, while his brother Sid Attard also won it in 2002. Now Tino’s son Kevin Attard will attempt to join the family as he has three runners in the 10-horse field for the 2020 Woodbine Oaks.
The $500,000 race is one of five stakes races on a major program at Woodbine Racetrack outside Toronto on Saturday. While the 1 1/8-mile Oaks is the highlight, the day also includes three graded stakes events on the grass and the $150,000 Plate Trial, a stepping stone to the 2020 Queen’s Plate.
Merveilleux is the most likely of Attard’s runners to cross the wire first. She will put blinkers on for this. The daughter of Paynter, a $150,000 purchase as a juvenile last year, broke her maiden and was twice stakes placed in 2019, then kicked off 2020 in fine fashion with a strong win against older horses June 21. She ran fourth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Grade 3 Selene July 25, but none of those runners are back for this. Rafael Hernandez will ride the bay filly.
The other two hailing from his barn are 20-1 Bayou Belle and 15-1 Afleet Katherine. They will face tough competition in a wide-open race that includes the likes of Curlin’s Voyage, Lasting Union, and Infinite Patience.
Curlin’s Voyage is coming off a win in the Fury Stakes here July 5 over seven furlongs. The Josie Carroll-trainee by Curlin has won half of her eight starts, with seven top three efforts. She was a stakes winner as a juvenile as well, and won the Grade 3 Mazarine via disqualification last October. Patrick Husbands will ride the filly, who was the 2019 Sovereign Award Champion Two Year Old Filly.
Lasting Union is coming off two straight wins, including a 12-length romp in allowance company at Delaware Park last out. Michael Matz trains the daughter of Union Rags, who cost $190,000 as a yearling. She has improved with the stretch out and shippers from Maryland have been doing well on the track here for the last year.
Infinite Patience is a daughter of Sungold who has won five of her six career starts. She was unbeaten at Hastings Park on the West Coast and was the runner-up in Sovereign Award voting. Emma Jayne-Wilson will be up for new trainer Lorne Richards, who takes over from Barbara Heads. In her 2020 debut – also her Woodbine debut – Infinite Patience finished third, beaten just a length, behind Curlin’s Voyage and Justleaveitalone in the Fury Stakes. She was coming in off an eight-month layoff and could be dangerous at a price with a start under her belt.
Pilot Episode, November Fog, Mizzen Beau, and Justleaveitalone round out the field. Watch and wager on the whole card with TVG or on TVG.com.
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