Afleet Katherine fits the bill in Bison City

September 10, 2020

Afleet Katherine is coming off a solid second-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks presented by Budweiser, and the respective 1-3 finishers there, Curlin’s Voyage and Merveilleux, are contenders for Saturday’s Queen’s Plate.  

But the connections of the lightly-raced Afleet Katherine, who could have been supplemented to the Plate at a cost of $25,000, have chosen a more conservative path and the Terra Racing Stable homebred looms an odds-on choice for Saturday’s $250,000 Bison City.   

The Bison City, a 1 1/16-mile fixture which follows the Woodbine Oaks as the second leg of the Triple Tiara for Canadian-bred three-year-old fillies, attracted a field of eight and will go as the eighth of 13 races on the program.  

“We discussed it (running in the Queen’s Plate) a little bit, obviously,” said trainer Kevin Attard, who conditions Afleet Katherine for Terra triumvirate of Dom Romeo; his son, Frank; and his grandson, Mike Romeo. “From the beginning, it kind of seemed the road was going to be the Bison City.  

“Frank Romeo thought she had done a lot to this point, and was obviously concerned about her long-term future, and didn’t want to do too much too soon with her. You have to respect that a lot, I think.”  

Afleet Katherine was highly regarded at two but did not make it to the races and, after wintering in Florida, finally debuted with a victory at almost 30-1 in a seven-furlong maiden turf race here July 5.  

With an eye toward the Woodbine Oaks, Afleet Katherine swung back over the same distance and surface three weeks later and knocked out her first allowance condition while defeating older rivals.  

Despite making her Tapeta debut and travelling around two turns for the first time, Afleet Katherine was a surprising 4.40-1 third choice in the Woodbine Oaks and ran a remarkable race while beaten less than two lengths with stablemate Merveilleux a half-length in arrears.  

“I thought she ran brilliant,” said Attard. “She was really the only horse that kind of survived that hectic early pace. She was trying right to the end, lacking a lot of seasoning, obviously, compared to everybody else in the field.”  

Justin Stein, her career pilot to date, retains the mount. He is currently tied atop the jockey standings with 74 wins this season (next to Rafael Hernandez).  

The Afleet Alex-Include Katherine filly is a half-sibling to Terra Racing’s Canadian Stakes starter Amalfi Coast (by Tapizar).  

The only stakes winners in the field are Gun Society and Infinite Patience.  

Gun Society, who closed out her first campaign with back-to-back wins including the South Ocean for Ontario-sired fillies at the 1 1/16-mile distance, appears to have rounded back into form for her fourth start of this season.  

Trained, owned and bred by the venerable Roger Attfield, the daughter of Society’s Chairman trailed while making her sophomore bow here in the seven-furlong Fury and has faced older rivals on the turf in  two subsequent 1 1/16-mile starts, including a last-out second in the restricted Eternal Search.  

“She had a setback, and she wasn’t really ready for the Fury, but I ran her anyway for the fitness edge, sort of thing,” said Attfield. “She wasn’t doing well at all there, or for the next race actually. She’s just started to come around. Her last race was quite creditable, I thought. So, we’ll give her a shot.”  

Gun Society raced with blinkers for the first time in the Eternal Search and was beaten 1 ¼ lengths by the four-year-old Court Return.  

“I think the blinkers made her more focused,” said Attfield. “I think she surprised the jock as much as myself. She took off early; she probably went too soon, really. We were experimenting a little, but it was good.”  

Kazushi Kimura retains the mount on Gun Society.  

Infinite Patience, the British Columbia-bred who was the pride of Hastings Racecourse last year while winning four stakes and five provincial year-end awards including Horse of the Year, will be looking to rebound from a faltering seventh-place finish in the Woodbine Oaks.  

That was her second start locally, following a solid third-place finish behind Curlin’s Voyage and Justleavitalone in the Fury, and her first for locally-based trainer Lorne Richards.  

“We were disappointed,” said Richards, who is conditioning Infinite Patience for Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and co-owner/breeder Bill DeCoursey.  

“She was real good going into the Oaks, but she just wouldn’t settle. We’ve tried a few different things and hopefully we can get her to relax a little bit more this time.  

“She’s a nice little filly, for sure.”  

Patrick Husbands, aboard when the Sungold filly breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 here September 1, has the mount for the Bison City.  

Also returning from the Woodbine Oaks will be Mizzen Beau and Justleaveitalone, the respective fourth and fifth-place finishers.  

Justleaveitalone had followed up her surprising performance in the Fury with her maiden win at 1 1/8 miles.  

Mizzen Beau, fifth when making her local bow in the Fury, will be looking to give trainer Norm Casse his first local win.  

The Bison City also lured two invaders in Truth Hurts, who has been training at Belmont with Chad Summers, and Pseudonym, recently shipped to Saratoga after beginning her career at Gulfstream this spring for Saffie Joseph Jr. Both fillies will be racing on a synthetic surface for the first time.  

Ballrooms of Mars, second behind Justleaveitalone in the August 2 maiden race, rounds out the field in which all starters carry 121 pounds.  

The $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Tiara, is scheduled for 1 ¼ miles on the E.P Taylor turf course here October 25.  

$250,000 Bison City Stakes  

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer – Morning Line  

1 – Ballrooms of Mars – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Catherine Day Phillips – 20-1  

2 – Afleet Katherine – Justin Stein – Kevin Attard – 4-5  

3 – Truth Hurts – Rafael Hernandez – Chad Summers – 6-1  

4 – Mizzen Beau – Steven Bahen – Norm Casse – 4-1  

5 – Pseudonym – Luis Contreras – Saffie Joseph Jr. – 8-1  

6 – Justleaveitalone – Sahin Civaci – Bob Hess Jr. – 20-1  

7 – Infinite Patience – Patrick Husbands – Lorne Richards – 12-1  

8 – Gun Society – Kazushi Kimura – Roger Attfield – 10-1 

Photo Credit: Michael Burns

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