He is known simply as STEPHEN and he will be a name that will be mentioned a lot now as Canadian-bred 2-year-olds head to the Queen’s Plate of 2021, presumably in June.
Al and Bill Ulwelling’s bay colt won the prestigious CORONATION FUTURITY worth $250,000 on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon at Woodbine and immediately went to the top of the very early list of Plate contenders for next year. Trained by Kevin Attard, who won 2 races for the Ulwellings of Minnesota on the day, Stephen was one of 5 winners ridden by Justin Stein on Sunday.
Stephen (Consitution – Naughty Holiday by Harlan’s Holiday) won his maiden in the 117th edition Coronation Futurity on Sunday by 1 1/4 lengths over Sam-Son Farms’ Tio Magico trained by Gail Cox in 1:52.46 for 1 1/8 miles. He was bred by Dave Clancy’s Track West Racing who also owns and bred the third-place finisher Giant Waters (Giant Gizmo).
Tio Magico (Uncle Mo) lead the field of eight rookies through fractions of :24.87, :49.20 and 1:13.15, with the favoured Cup and Saucer Stakes winner Master Spy pressing the pace.
Meanwhile, Stephen, who followed second-to-last early on after an awkward start, was hustled into fifth-place on the final turn and tipped off the rail to run down Tio Magico in the stretch.
“He broke a little bit funny,” noted Stein, chalking the start up to the blustery weather conditions or the colt’s inexperience, “but we recovered quick and I was happy with the trip we were getting and he just ran a good race.
“I had to make sure that he knew what was going on. I had to make him run a little more. He put his mind to the task when he got some daylight and took aim at the horse in front of him, he ran by him professionally.”
Giant Waters finished 2-1/2 lengths behind Tio Magico in third, with Master Spy, British Royalty, One Flint, Threefiftyseven and Flex completing the order of finish.
Stephen returned $6.30 to win as the 2-1 second choice in this third career start.
Attard said his trainee had always shown signs of talent and took a shot in the $250,000 restricted Simcoe Stakes for his August 30 debut over 6-1/2 furlongs on the main track. Although running eighth there, he gained valuable racing experience.
The bay colt entered the Coronation Futurity off a strong second-place effort, finishing just a half-length behind the Sam-Son Farm homebred Tio Magico in a 1-1/16-mile maiden special weight on October 4.
“Obviously, in the second race, I thought he ran great,” said Attard. “He showed a tremendous turn of foot, was coming to the winner and just ran out of real estate. He’s trained well in the interim and he was coming into this race in great shape, so we were pretty high on our chances.”
STEPHEN, named for the Ulwelling’s neighbour, Al’s cousin Stephen Snow, a “great, humble person”, was foaled at Sue Foreman’s farm in Orangeville. The colt is the third foal for Naughty Holiday who was a stakes winner of 3 races and won the OBS Championship in Ocala during her racing career. The mare was bought in foal to Constitution for $45,000.
Stephen was bought back for $25,000 as a weanling at the CTHS Woodbine Mixed Sale in November 2018 and then sold by Forema at the Keeneland September sale last fall for $75,000.
The Ulwellings bought the colt this spring for $170,000 at the Ocala April sale through agent Clay Sherer.
While 2020 has been a rough year for the Ulwellings, who have not been able to come north and watch their horses race, and they have put much money into the Ontario racing and breeding industry. Things have begin to roll for them, however, as MERVEILLEUX won the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes recently and a homebred 2-year-old HADASSAH, bred in Ontario and a son of Air Force Blue – Lady Haddassah, was a sharp debut winner of an off-the-turf maiden allowance at 1 mile and 70 yards in in 1:42.50.
More from Sunday:
Frank DiGiulio Jr. and trainer Robert Tiller won three races last week including 2 on Sunday with the amazing 8-year-old GUITAR GEORGE and sharp 3-year-old LAST AMERICAN EXIT.
Another 8-year-old, stakes winner WHERE’S THE WIDGET, won his 16th career race in his 51st start in race 9 for $10,000 claiming for Oh Em Gee Stable and Ross Knight and trainer Harold Ladoceur. The Widget, by Giant Gizmo, was claimed for $5,000 from his latest, his 2nd straight win, and he had been claimed last fall for $7,500. The old warrior has won over $600,000 US.
Four races after winning his maiden by 6 lengths in June and racing against winners since then, ALL INCLUSIVE was back in a maiden race Sunday for $25,000 claiming and won in 1:09.90. The Ontario-bred had lost the purse money and the win recently as one of a many horses who had positive tests for capsaicin which somehow found its way into a rash of horses throughout Ontario in minute amounts. It is an ingredient of hot pepper and while there has been no definitive source found for the positives, the AGCO elected to recently disqualify all the horses and take the purse money.