Unfortunately, the chestnut colt hurt himself in the stall earlier in the day, forcing Attfield to scratch the star pupil from his turf debut.
Attfield was left to saddle Ralph Johnson's Sand Cove in the one mile turf stake. The son of Bold Executive, ridden by Slade Callaghan, proved a game winner over Delaforce, registering a half-length triumph on a firm E.P. Taylor Turf Course, getting the distance in a stakes record 1:33.76. The first two finishers were also making their turf debuts.
Rockglen, Cappal Mor and Piper in the Glen set the early fractions of :23.49 and :45.82, while Sand Cove was a tucked-in fourth. Rockglen still held sway in early stretch after six furlongs in 1:09.72, but Sand Cove then split horses, coming outside of Cappal Mor on the rail, while Delaforce was charging on the outside. The top two then battled to the wire, as Cappal Mor wound up third, five and one-quarter lengths further back.
"I was hoping that there would be a speed duel and there was," said Callaghan. "I was just quite content to let them go and sit in behind. When I asked on this horse, just before the quarter-pole, he exploded. Roger did a fantastic job. He (Delaforce) came to my horse's neck and when my horse saw him, he really dug in. He gave me a little extra."
"I really wasn't sure (whether Sand Cove would like turf)," added Attfield. "He had a work over it (turf) and he worked very well. He is a very genuine horse. He shows up. He's been doing so very, very well. I wasn't really sure if I was going to run him against Not Bourbon, to be honest. It was only a couple of hours ago that they told me that the horse had hurt himself in the stall. I said, 'Well, it's a good I hadn't taken him out (scratched).'"
Elaborating further on Charles Fipke's homebred Not Bourbon, Attfield said, "He was fine up until a few hours ago. I was looking at yearlings and they called me and told me I should come over to the barn. I went back and he has a hematoma on the side of his leg. I couldn't bring him over like that. He's too nice of a horse to do something silly like that. It's very upsetting for Mr. Fipke. This was an ideal spot to know where I was going to go from here. Now I don't know. The horse will be fine tomorrow morning, for sure."
Sand Cove earned $75,000 for the victory, pushing his career bankroll to $245,949. The winner paid $12, $4.80 and $4.70, combining with Delaforce ($5.20, $3.40) for a $58.40 (3-5) exactor. A 3-5-2 (Cappal Mor, $4.70 to show) triactor was worth $272.80.
Marlang does Canada proud in Saranac Stakes
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NEW YORK, August 31 - Gus Schickedanz's Marlang led from gate to wire in taking Sunday's Grade 3, $111,100 Saranac Stakes, at Saratoga.
The bay son of Langfuhr, sent off as the 5-2 second choice, completed the 1 3/16 race over a "firm" turf course in 1:53.10, besting Vacation by 1 ¾ lengths.
Conditioner Debbie England, who launched her career in 1979, became the second Woodbine-based female trainer to saddle a Saranac winner, following in the footsteps of Catherine Day Phillips, who won the race with Jambalaya in 2005.
A third Ontario-bred, Shoal Water, trained by Mark Frostad, won the Saranac in 2003, for Sam-Son Farm.
"I was a little concerned because he never shipped before and he heard the races over at the stakes barn," said England. "I was worried about him settling down. He has gotten better at everything."
It was the third turf stakes score for Marlang, who won the Charlie Barley Stakes on June 21 and the Breeders' Stakes, third jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown Series, on August 3.
"I thought I would make the lead very easily," said jockey Richard Dos Ramos. "He doesn't have to be on the lead. I turned to the head of the lane and he just accelerated underneath me. I figured it would take a pretty good horse to catch him."
Marlang now has four wins and one third from eight races.