Monday, November 10, 2008

Marchfield takes Autumn despite traffic trouble

TORONTO, November 9 - Melnyk Racing Stables homebred Marchfied weaved his way to victory in an exciting renewal of the $165,250 Autumn Stakes, Sunday at Woodbine.

The Grade 2 event was the first graded stakes victory of the bay colt's career. The Mark Casse trainee's last added-money triumph came in last season's Breeders' Stakes.

The four-year-old colt finished a half-length in front of Stunning Stag, who had circled to the lead approaching the eighth-pole. Ice Bear, who led for most of the race, was a game third in the 1 1/16-mile event.

Marchfield, who trailed the field early, was under the wire in 1:43.28.

On the second turn, the son of A.P. Indy was guided to the inside by Patrick Husbands, who also won the Jammed Lovely earlier on the card. The shorter route produced all sorts of stretch drama for Marchfield, who wasn't able to find clear running room until deep stretch.

"I was stalking (Stunning Stag) the whole way. He had a perfect trip. At the quarter pole, Jono (Jones, aboard Stunning Stag) went four-wide. I didn't want to go six-wide, so I took the shortcut. I got stopped at the eighth pole, inside of (Ice Bear). I checked him off heels and then I got him back to the outside. He was much the best."

Husbands said Casse told him before the race that Marchfield was a 'different' horse than the one that had finished second in the Durham Cup on Oct. 11.

"He's been really sharp. I had a tough time getting the saddle on him. He wanted to kick me," said Casse. "He's a really talented horse when he puts his mind to it."

Casse said Marchfield, who was also second in this year's Singspiel Stakes, would be going to Santa Anita for the winter.

The Ontario-bred is now 5-for-16 with close to $700,000 in earnings.

Marchfield returned $11.40, $5.50, $3.80, combining with Stunning Stag ($10.20, $7.40) for a $134.70 exactor. Ice Bear ($4.10) rounded out a triactor worth $665.60. Fourth-place finisher Artie Hot completed a $1 superfecta worth $1,562.25.

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