Glenville Gardens, with Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard, made his turf debut a winning one, taking the co-featured $102,800 Labeeb Stakes Sunday at Woodbine.
After stalking pacesetter Star Contender through fractions of :23.11 and :46.20, Glenville Gardens moved to challenge, got to the front in early stretch and despite drifting, still prevailed by a comfortable two and one-half lengths over Money Talker, with Ami’s Holiday just a half-length further back in third. The final time over a ‘yielding’ E.P. Taylor Turf Course was 1:36.44.
The Labeeb, named for the winner of the 1998 Woodbine Mile, was reduced to five starters after the scratches of the Roger Attfield-trained pair of Tower of Texas and Are You Kidding Me, the morning line favourites, as well as Peyton, due to the turf condition.
However, it still remained a well-matched group of three-year-olds and upward, as evidenced by the toteboard, with Money Talker and Ami’s Holiday the co-choices at 2-1.
Claimed for $40,000 out of a winning race in September by trainer Sid Attard for Janice Attard, the lightly-raced Glenville Gardens has now won two-in-a-row for his new connections. It was also his second stakes win after taking the Display last year as a two-year-old when trained by Josie Carroll for owner-breeder Eugene Melnyk.
“Sid said, just let him run his race,” explained Wilson. “On paper it didn’t look like the pace was going to be too quick. I just let him be happy where he wanted to be.
Just stayed head and head with (jockey Gary) Boulanger (riding Star Contender) as long as I could.
“He was looking up at the grandstand pretty good, but sometimes you’ve just got to let them run. I knew I was clear. From the first step out the doors, I could tell my horse was handling it (the turf) quite nicely. I was pretty happy with that.”
It was the third Labeeb win for trainer Attard, after winning with Just Rushing in both 2006 and 2008.
Glenville Gardens, a Kentucky-bred gelded son of Street Cry and the only three-year-old in the race, earned $60,000 for the win, his fourth victory in only eight career starts, and, as the longest shot on the board at 6-1, paid $14.70, $6.50 and $3.10, combining with Money Talker ($3.90, $2.40) for a $67.10 (6-7) exactor. A 6-7-2 (Ami’s Holiday, $2.20) triactor was worth $193.50.