Awesome Treat Looks To Taste Stakes Success in G2 Bessarabian

November 9, 2023

Awesome Treat wins an allowance optional claimer Dec. 4, 2022, at Woodbine (Michael Burns)

G3 Maple Leaf Attracts Field of 13

By Chris Lomon – Woodbine Communications

TORONTO— Awesome Treat, a 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Patriot-Tiz a Treat, looks for her first stakes success in Saturday’s $175,000 Bessarabian Stakes (G2), at Woodbine.

The seven-furlong main track feature for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward, has drawn 14 starters, including Awesome Treat.

Trained by Steve Attard, the dark bay mare, fourth in last year’s Bessarabian, heads into Saturday’s affair off a pleasing runner-up finish in the Ontario Fashion (G3) on October 14. Dismissed at 38-1, Awesome Treat rallied stoutly down the lane to miss top prize by a half-length in the six-furlong test.

“She is awesome, she really is,” praised Attard. “She is a very nice mare. She never seems to surprise me. Just how she is and how she trains, you know what you are going to get from her. I wasn’t surprised at all with that effort last time. That’s her, a hard-trying mare, who always shows up. Six furlongs might be a bit short for her, but Emma [jockey, Wilson] gave her an incredible ride and they came flying in the stretch.”

Bred in Kentucky by Kumud Sikand, who co-owns with Rakesh Sikand, Awesome Treat finished eleventh in her debut at Churchill Downs on November 28, 2020. She contested her next three races at Woodbine, and posted a fourth, third and ninth, before two starts at Fair Grounds, both fourth-place efforts.

A return to Toronto resulted in a maiden-breaking score on October 29, 2022, a fourth in the Bessarabian and another win on December 4.

Awesome Treat’s next four starts came at Turfway Park, including a second in the Wishing Well Stakes this January and a fourth in the Frog Stakes in March.

“I have had her off and on since she was three,” noted Attard. “She has never run a bad race for us. This is my third year with her. She will race here and then she goes back to compete in the U.S. at some point of the season. We always love having her here.”

The Kentucky-bred heads into the Bessarabian with a 2-4-1 mark from 16 starts, along with $161,845 (U.S.) in purse earnings.

“Just the way she tries all the time is amazing,” praised Attard, who will have Jose Campos in the irons Saturday. “She can be a bit tough in the stall, but we love having her.”

Gunner Bennett, who handles groom duties for Awesome Treat, echoed that sentiment.

“For me, she’s a horse that doesn’t want to be pet,” said Bennett. “She doesn’t want to be messed with, but if you spoil her with carrots and love, she shows a soft side and it’s incredibly rewarding. There’s no better feeling than coming into the barn in the morning and seeing her throw her head out of her stall as soon as she hears me come in.

Other starters include multiple graded stakes winner Our Flash Drive, along with graded stakes winners Loyalty, Midnight Stroll, Miss Dracarys, Ready To Venture (GB), Spun Glass and multiple graded stakes winner Artie’s Princess.

Trainer Roger Attfield and Kinghaven Farms teamed to win the first two editions of the Bessarabian, in 1985 with Summer Mood and one year later with Playlist.  

The race is named after Canada’s champion older female of 1986, a multiple stakes winning daughter of Vice Regent trained by Michael Doyle and owned by Eaton Hall Farm. She finished her racing career with an 18-5-4 mark from 37 starts.  

Also on Saturday, 13 fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward, will travel 1 ¼ miles on the Tapeta in the $150,000 Maple Leaf Stakes (G3).  

The field includes multiple graded stakes winner Il Malocchio, who won last year’s edition, graded stakes winners Mille Girl and Solo Album, multiple graded stakes placed Angelou and multiple stakes placed Ever Smart.

Conn Smythe, principal owner of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs from 1927 to 1961 and builder of Maple Leaf Gardens, leads all owners with seven Maple Leaf crowns. The race was inaugurated in 1892.

The Bessarabian is carded as race nine on Saturday’s 11-race program. The Maple Leaf goes as race seven. First post is 1:05 p.m. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action through, bet365 and the Dark Horse Bets app. 

Field for the Bessarabian (G2)

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer 

1 – Spun Glass – Luis Contreras – Michael Trombetta

2 – Our Flash Drive – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

3 – Ready To Venture (GB) – Rafael Hernandez – Michael Stidham

4 – Baby No Worries – Willie Martinez – Tim Girten

5 – Dolce Sopresa – Ryan Munger – Josie Carroll

6 – Time for an Angel – Leo Salles – Michael Stidham

7 – Loyalty – Kazushi Kimiura – Josie Carroll

8 – Owen’s Tour Guide – Sofia Vives – William Armata

9 – Miss Dracarys – Sahin Civaci – Neil Drysdale

10 – Artie’s Princess (S) – Juan Crawford – Saffie Joseph, Jr.

11 – Collecting Flatter – Daisuke Fukumoto – Josie Carroll

12 – Awesome Treat – Jose Campos – Steve Attard

13 – Midnight Stroll – Trevor McCarthy – John Terranova

14 – Love to Shop – Justin Stein – Kevin Attard

Field for the Maple Leaf (G3)

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer 

1 – Indy Champagne – Justin Stein – Layne Giliforte

2 – Inventing – Leo Salles – Kevin Attard

3 – Talbeyah (IRE) (S) – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse

4 – Il Malocchio – Kazushi Kimura – Martin Drexler

5 – State of Mind – Sofia Vives – Josie Carroll

6 – Ready Lady – Jose Campos – Roger Attfield

7 – Ever Smart (S) – Trevor McCarthy – Neil Drysdale

8 – Angelou – Luis Contreras – Kevin Attard

9 – Ephrata (GB) – Daisuke Fukumoto – Josie Carroll

10 – Solo Album – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

11 – Millie Girl – Rafael Hernandez – Catherine Day Phillips

12 – Batyah – Eswan Flores – Josie Carroll

13 – Lady Brew – Ryan Munger – Steven Chircop

@PastTheWire Thank you for that article. I was 11yrs old watching race on TV & remember it like yesterday.Great article #GreatHorse #Ruffian

Ed Cofiño (@ItsmeEddieC) View testimonials