Pattison Canadian Invitational (Grade 1)- $800.000 Purse
WO- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
October 15, 2017
The Pattison is one of those great races that take place up north every year, and we get a chance to make some more history in this race on Sunday. Unfortunately, some of the aura of the race is lost as the purse is cut by 20%, dropping the value to $800.000. Of course, that’s still plenty of money, and it has drawn a full field of fourteen to starting gate, with some also eligibles on top of it. It is a disappointing purse reduction, though, for a race that had a $2,000.000 purse for a few years. Those years were around the time that the great Bronze Sabre was at his best, and he won this race three consecutive times, from 2010 to 2012, and was second in the 2009 race. Going back further, Siberian Rhythm won two in a row in 2007 and 2008, so we’ll see if 2016 winner, Exactly As Planned, can join them. It is a quality field, just like we would expect, so here they are!
#1- Techfluence (The Sidley Stud, ridden by D Moran)- This horse is simply doing everything right at the current time. He has won three in a row, and I had the privilege of closely watching him in the last race, the Northern Dancer, held at this very race track. Not only did he win, he made it look very easy in the process. It was a dominant effort, better then the race line actually looks in the past performances. He will face many of the same rivals here again, so why shouldn’t things be any different then they were three weeks ago? A work down at BEL about a week ago showed that he has not suddenly lost speed, so everything points in his direction. On top of all this, he even gets to start on the rail. He is the one to beat in this field, but he still has to take care of business on the track.
#2- Crafty Shenanigans (Mb Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- The trainer has high hopes for this one, and he will be hoping that the Northern Dancer was a learning experience for his autogen gelding. After winning the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at AP, Crafty Shenanigans was flat last month. He spent most of the race hanging out in the back, which was a little different for him then prior races, and never made a move. I would be expecting to see him more involved, at least mid-pack, early in this one.
#3- Range Of The Sun (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by S Elliott)- It will be the turf debut for this gelding, after running in some big name dirt races, such as the Travers and the PA Derby, both Grade 1’s. A few days ago, he posted a blistering quick work on the grass at KEE, so he is definitely ready to go. Sometimes we see that a horse needs a race on a new surface, and other times, it does not seem to bother them at all. There is a lot of promise with this one if he doesn’t need the first race on grass.
#4- Level Charge (Wolfs Den, ridden by J Rosario)- On that topic of needing the turf race, Level Charge may be a good example of precisely that. While his last start, the WO Mile, was not technically his turf debut, it was still not a surface he had been on much. Like Range Of The Sun, Level Charge ran in some big name races on the main track, such as the BEL itself and the Haskell. He was not a factor in the WO Mile, but was gaining ground late, and certainly will enjoy the extra distance he runs today.
#5- Max Million (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by E Maldonado)- The Northern Dancer was a two horse race. There was the winner, Techfluence, and then Max Million, who stayed within reach enough to keep Techfluence from completely coasting to the wire. After Max Million, you could have put on a pot of coffee and caught the third place horse finishing, it seemed like. I felt that Max Million ran his heart out in that race, and for him to be even better then that, may be tough. However, if Techfluence can’t quite duplicate his effort, then look for Max Million to be one to capitalize.
#6- Striped Maple (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- Sometimes, making your turf debut is not difficult at all, and Striped Maple was truly up to the task when he did so out at DMR last month, in winning the Grade 2 DMR Derby. It was not necessarily a star studded field, and that made it a little easier for the gelding to make the adjustment to the grass. He likes to get out on the lead, and it might be something that we see again, especially with Techfluence in the field. The distance is new to him, and I am not certain about him getting it, at least with his running style preference.
#7- Exactly As Planned (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by R J Albarado)- The Levi Strauss gelding looks to win this race for the consecutive year, but he might not be the best horse that the trainer brings to the race. One thing I have noticed though is that the reigning champion of the race also seems to run well when they try to repeat, so I expect that Exactly As Planned will run a lot better then he did in the Northern Dancer last month. After winning this race, he followed it up nicely with a third place run in the BC Turf.
#8- Spotted Cat (Chili King Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- On KYD day, Spotted Cat was victorious in the Woodford Turf Classic. Since then, though, the results have been almost brutal. Coming from behind or running on the lead did not matter for prior trainer Blushing Meadows, with a pair of 8th place horses, and soon he would be put on the market. Chili King picked him up in private sales for $200.000 (Well Done, Blushing Meadows), and in their first race together, it was another poor run, this in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer. Still, we see him running against this competition, and perhaps something is about to change.
#9- Bring The Pain (Mb Stables, ridden J R Velazquez)- Seems like only yesterday that I recapped the Hirsch Turf Classic. Well, here we are two weeks later, and Bring The Pain looks to follow up his second place run there, where he came back from 14 lengths down, to be just a length out at the wire. It will be interesting to see how he fares here, if there is less of a quick pace in the early moments. I’m not confident with a horse coming from way back to beat Techfluence if that one is on his game.
#10- T S Crystal (Triple K, ridden by P Husbands)- Comes into the race off a distant fourth place run in the race that we have spent a lot of time talking about, the Northern Dancer. Is he capable of making up the six lengths that he didn’t have last month to Techfluence? I am not completely certain of that, but what I do like is the level of experience that he has with running twelve furlongs, and has run some big races before. He is the type of horse that can be there is the favorite doesn’t run his best.
#11- Valar Morghulis (Gdp Inc, ridden by G Boulanger)- The five year will make the 33rd start of his career after picking up his first win of 2017 in his last effort. Up to that point, Valar Morghulis had a rather quiet year with moderate success. Three weeks ago, he finally put it all together for a win in the $125.000 Cole Stakes for NY-breds. This will be his third start in six weeks, and I would like to have seen more consistency from him.
#12- Valiant Charge (Threshold, ridden by J L Ortiz)- He ran third last month at the Grade 1 Northern Dancer, but don’t mistake that for a competitive run. As mentioned many times already in the preview, the Northern Dancer was a two horse race. However, Valiant Charge did do what his name says in the stretch to pick up a third place check for the trainer. That effort did defeat several that he sees here again, so that should make him a contender here to get a check again. He’s still looking for his first win of the year.
#13- Major Weiner (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- After an impressive run last month at the $200.000 Super Derby at LAD in just his second turf start, and first in nearly a year, Major Weiner returns to the grass to try and build on that in this race. Unfortunately, the post draw did not do him any favors, especially considering the horse to beat in Techfluence in starting on the rail. This is a longer race then the Super Derby, but I am optimistic that he is going to like the extra room to run in the stretch. It’s a bit unfortunate that he has to start way out here, because he’d be an intriguing wild card if he had a better post. He still has a chance, though.
#14- Spring Stormtrooper (Stald Gullis, ridden by R Bejarano)- After running in the BC Juvenile Turf last year, there was plenty of optimism for this Laffin Stormtrooper gelding for 2017, but he has only been able to pick up one win this year. That came in the Grade 3 Thunder Road at SA in April. He’s remained competitive despite the lack of wins and has two triple digit SRF’s in his last three races. I would have preferred to have seen a better performance in the Henry Championships two weeks ago, though. Yes, I said his last race was two weeks ago! He was very well rested for that one, so I am not too worried about that, but this post is another story.