Norseman Racing Stable’s Peace Sign will look to build off an impressive first start when she takes on seven rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Passing Mood Stakes, at Woodbine.
A three-year-old daughter of Signature Red, Peace Sign was plenty sharp in her career bow on July 20 at Woodbine.
Under leading rider Rafael Hernandez, the Jamie Attard trainee was two lengths in front at the stretch call of the six-furlong race contested over an E.P. Taylor Turf Course, going on to notch a half-length score in a time of 1:09.60.
“I expected to her run a good race, but we didn’t expect her to run that well,” said Attard. “She was training really well and we took our time with her. I think she had 10 works before that race. She was showing a lot early, but we just wanted to make sure that first time out she was ready to go. Thankfully, she ran a big one.
“I really like how she handled herself in that race. For a three-year-old first-time starter – she’s got some class around the barn – she was so professional, calm, and collected. When they’re acting like that as a first-time starter in the paddock, and you like them a little bit, you get even more excited because you know they’re keeping their energy for the race. It makes you think forward.”
The bay, who returned $13.70 for the win, prompted her connections to give the seven-furlong (turf) Passing Mood a shot.
It’s a race that Attard, admittedly, had on his radar for a while.
“I’ll be perfectly honest, the way she was training going into that race – I know it’s easy to say now – before she did, I thought to myself that if she wins that first one, I kind of had this race (Passing Mood) in my mind.”
As for the horse’s name, it’s a gesture used by owner Howard Walton (his nom de course is Norseman Racing Stable), who also bred Peace Sign.
“Whenever ‘Howy’ wins a race, he always flashes the peace sign, so that’s how she got her name. Around the barn, I joke around with her groom, James. We came up with the nickname ‘Hippie.’ So that’s what we call her. She’s an absolute sweetheart, just so much fun to have around.”
A win this Saturday would be especially meaningful for Attard, who used to groom Walton’s horses. He was also the assistant trainer to his Hall of Fame father, Sid Attard, when the latter campaigned Peace Sign’s multiple graded stakes winning sire, Signature Red, for Walton.
The Kentucky-bred son of Bernstein posted a 6-6-7 record from 27 starts, including back-to-back Grade 2 Highlander Stakes wins in 2010 and 2011.
“I’ve known ‘Howy’ for a long time and he’s given me a lot of support, and the opportunity to train some great horses. To be able to pay him back with a win in the Passing Mood would be incredible.”
Last year, Stronach Stables’ Zestina, trained by Sid Attard, won the Passing Mood as the 6-5 favourite, paying $4.40 for the win. Attard and Norseman took the 2016 running with Generous Touch.
Hall of Famer trainer Robert Tiller has won five editions of the race. Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva has seven Passing Mood crowns, including four straight scores from 2014-2017.
The Passing Mood is scheduled as race eight of 11 on Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. program.
$100,000 PASSING MOOD STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Sav – Justin Stein – Ricky Griffith
2 – Silent Mistake – Sunny Singh – Norm McKnight
3 – Peace Sign – Rafael Hernandez – Jamie Attard
4 – Speedy Soul – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
5 – Miss Ariel – Jesse Campbell – Tony Gattellaro
6 – Broadway Bonnie – Kazushi Kimura – Norm McKnight
7 – Ciuri – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Robert Tiller
8 – Golden Vision – Luis Contreras – Kevin Attard