Friday, December 07, 2012

Original Script adds some bite to Ontario Lassie Stakes

TORONTO, December 6 – She might have bitten the hand that feeds her, literally, but when it comes to unbeaten Original Script, who headlines Sunday’s $150,000 Ontario Lassie Stakes, trainer Paul Attard is only too happy to forgive and forget.

“I still have a little bit of a scar,” laughed Attard, of the mark on his hand courtesy of a chomp from two-year-old Original Script, a grey daughter of Malibu Moon. “She can be feisty in her stall and she bosses her groom around pretty good some days. On the track, though, she’s just all business.”

In two starts, both at 1 1/16 miles on the Woodbine Polytrack and both equally impressive, the Chiefswood Stable’s homebred has twice lived up to her favouritism and to Attard’s expectations.

“She always gave us the impression she was a good filly,” offered Attard, of the Ontario-bred, who won by eight lengths on October 13 and 3 ¼ lengths on November 3. “When she came up from Ocala, Rob Landry (former jockey and current racing manager for Chiefswood) said, ‘You’ve got a nice one on your hands.’ I have a lot of respect for Rob and to hear him say that – it meant a lot.”

So, too, did the words of jockey Jesse Campbell, aboard for both victories.

“After the second race, Jesse said to me, ‘Keep a close eye on this one. You might want to sleep in the same stall with her.’ It’s one thing for you to feel a certain way about a horse, but when you hear those kind of things from others, it really gives you reason to be optimistic.”

Actually, Attard prefers ‘cautiously optimistic’ when it comes to his budding star.

“When you see the way she goes about her business, it does get your heart pumping,” said the lifetime winner of 166 races. “But you also have to be level-headed. You make plans in a cautious way, but you realize things can change in a moment. The tough part is that you don’t want to get too excited, but you can’t always help it.”

Morning works, prior to her first start, are a perfect example of that for Attard.

“When she came up from Ocala, we were working her at the Chiefswood Training Centre,” recalled Attard. “She is just so focused when she is on the track, working or in a race. When she’s on the track, it looks like she floats out there.”

On Sunday, Attard will be hopeful of another trip to the winner’s circle and perhaps most importantly, another indication that even better days are ahead for Original Script.

As for the advice he received from Campbell, Attard won’t be bunking in his filly’s stall any time soon. But he will be keeping close tabs on the Chiefswood silk-bearer, who will join him in Florida over the winter months.

“The stall, that’s her territory,” noted Attard. “But that’s fine with me. You don’t get horses like her in your barn every day. We’ll just do what it takes to make the best decisions for her. Hopefully, it all works out.”

The 34th edition of the Ontario Lassie is carded as race eight.

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