Payson Winner Of The Week
WinStar Farm LLC and Gary Barber's Tourist ran his turf record to a perfect 3-for-3 in the $100,000 Sir Cat S. Friday at Saratoga, the first stakes win for the 3-year-old Tiznow colt.
Breaking from the center in the field of seven, Tourist was on a measured hold from Joel Rosario going into the first of two turns, just to the outside of Storming Inti. The dark bay colt opened up his margin to a length and half down the backstretch, getting a half-mile in :47.24.
Powering clear by three lengths in mid-stretch, Tourist coasted home in the final furlong to win by 1 3/4-lengths in a very fast 1:33.54, just missing the track record of 1:33.42 and getting a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 102.
"It didn't surprise me (that he improved when switched to the turf)," said trainer Bill Mott of the winner. "The problem was, he ran just well enough on the dirt that we kind of kept trying him. We all want a Derby horse, right? We tried him one or two extra times on the dirt than, maybe, was to his benefit, but it's all coming together now."
As for Tourist's next start, Mott said, "There are a few 3-year-old races left for the year. I guess what we have got to decide is if he'll stretch out beyond a mile. We have to figure out what direction we want to go now."
Early in life, Roger Attfield was the sort of kid who would look wistfully out the school window and think of animals, horses or farming. Especially horses.
Obviously, he has a way with them. It's as if he speaks their language, knows how to coax the best out of them. And now the 72-year-old thoroughbred trainer, who is based at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, has received the ultimate reward: He will be inducted into the U. S. National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The ceremony will take place Aug. 10 at Saratoga, the mecca of all top horsemen in the United States. And now he belongs there. After winning just about every major race in Canada multiple times, last November he won his first Breeders' Cup race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., with 27-to-1 shot Perfect Shirl.
"I was so happy for him," said Richard Dos Ramos, a Woodbine jockey who has ridden many long-shot winners for Attfield over the years. "He's well deserved of it. He always wanted to get a Breeders' Cup and that was fantastic to see. The filly probably ran the best race of her life at the right time. He makes them peak at the right time.
"When you're coming up to big races like the Queen's Plate, or any type of big race like that, his horses are always usually right there and they seem to step up."
Attfield was born in Newbury, England, where he worked as a show-jumping rider and an amateur steeplechase jockey. He was the son of a coal merchant who didn't have the means to outfit him with ponies to ride, so Attfield got his fix by riding horses for other people.