Thursday, July 17, 2008
Colin Stakes latest challenge for talented Southern Exchange
TORONTO, July 16 - Southern Exchange attempts his second stakes score in a row in Saturday's $150,000 Colin Stakes at Woodbine.
The gray son of Exchange Rate was an impressive 4 3/4-length winner of the June 15 Victoria Stakes.
Unlike most two-year-olds that draw off to win by a strong margin, Southern Exchange has won both of his career starts from off the pace, both under jockey Jono Jones.
De Gannes said the Florida-bred colt has moved forward since the five-furlong dash.
"Over the last month, he's continued to develop like you would like to see a two-year-old develop. He's put on weight. He's bigger, stronger and is more confident," he said.
Southern Exchange has worked three times since the Victoria. On July 12, the Bill and Vicki Poston charge blazed five furlongs in :59-flat, breezing.
"The degree of difficulty in each of the works has increased. I've asked him to do a little more. Last Saturday, he fulfilled everything I asked him to do. He worked as brilliantly as you would want a two-year-old to work."
De Gannes has had the pleasure of working with many precocious young horses, having worked as an assistant to Mark Casse.
"I was saying to my assistant, Stanley Bethley, who was also with me during the glorious (Casse) days of horses like Added Edge, Exciting Story, Jealous Forum and Maple Syrple. 'This horse does things that those horses didn't do,'" recalled De Gannes. "That's the exciting part of him."
De Gannes believes Southern Exchange is talented enough to test tougher horses in the United States, but is cautious about offering the young colt an out-of-town assignment at this stage.
"I don't think there's a trainer alive that wouldn't like to go to a place like Del Mar or Saratoga with a fancy two-year-old. Whether that's in the cards for this horse, I don't know. We'll see what happens when that time comes. There's a certain measure of comfort when you know you just have to lead them out of their own stall and walk them over to the races."
Southern Exchange is the first Canadian-based horse for owners Bill and Vicki Poston. He said the Postons, for whom he trains four horses, have enjoyed their venture into Ontario racing.
"Mr. and Mrs. Poston are two of the most genuine people you'll meet in your life," said De Gannes. "They were introduced to me by their bloodstock adviser Buzz Chace, who is probably one of the most celebrated bloodstock agents anywhere.
"When (Mr. Poston) came up here for the Victoria Stakes, he told me he was 61 and it was his first time leaving the United States. They went to Niagara Falls. They stayed downtown. They did a lot of sightseeing and ate in some nice restaurants."
De Gannes said the Georgia couple was impressed with how Woodbine welcomed them with open arms.
"Mr. Poston was thrilled at the hospitality shown to him by the people at Woodbine Entertainment. He was absolutely by the congeniality of all the people that he dealt with on the day of the race."
A victory Saturday would make Southern Exchange the first horse since Vorticity (1999) to complete a Victoria-Colin stakes double.
The Colin is slated for race six on Saturday's 10-race program.
THE COLIN STAKES
POST - HORSE - JOCKEY - TRAINER
1 - Southern Exchange - Jono Jones - Greg De Gannes
2 - Star of David - Patrick Husbands - Steve Asmussen
3 - Mean Green - Todd Kabel - Sid Attard
4 - Bear's Rocket - Jerry Baird - Reade Baker
5 - Tin Pan Alley Cat - Justin Stein - Ashlee Brnjas
6 - Dryden - Jim McAleney - Steve Asmussen
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