TORONTO— Fev Rover turned back a stiff challenge from Crystal Cliffs to prevail by the shortest of noses under a determined ride by Patrick Husbands in a thrilling renewal of Sunday’s Grade 2 Canadian Stakes here at Woodbine.
The Canadian, an about 1 1/8-mile race over the E.P. Taylor turf course, offered a purse of $200,400 and attracted a field of eight fillies and mares.
Trainer Mark Casse, who saw Fev Rover join his string here early this summer and watched her finish second in the July 24 Dance Smartly, said his initial reaction was that his charge had prevailed despite the too-close-to-call finish.
“Yeah, Raffy (Rafael Hernandez, aboard Crystal Cliffs), did his arm thing like he won and I said to my daughter, Camille ‘I think we won because they ran to the to the mirror, and I thought our filly had her head down because she got a gutsy run by her coming back, and great ride always by Patrick’”.
Fev Rover, sent away as the 9-2 third choice, moved up inside to stalk the pace of front-running outsider Angelou through an opening quarter in :24.50.
Angelou had opened up by two lengths as a half-mile of :49.28 was posted but Fev Rover had switched to the outside to engage the leader and was a head in front with the six furlongs going in 1:12.71
Fev Rover’s task was just beginning, however, as Crystal Cliffs and Flirting Bridge were rallying in unison with a quarter-mile to run. Crystal Cliffs, going the better of the two, actually had poked a head in front with a furlong remaining but Fev Rover battled back for the very game tally.
The final time over firm going was 1.47.33 as Casse completed a sweep of the day’s graded stakes events after sending out Filo Di Arianna to capture the Grade 2 King Edward one race earlier.
Flirting Bridge, a strong second choice at 2-1, finished well to be third, ¾ lengths of a hard-luck of the runner-up1 ½ lengths behind the winner.
Bellagamba, who trailed much of the way, was along for fourth money, four lengths behind the show finisher, with Barkin, Munnyfor Ro, Keyflower and Angelou completing the order of finish.
Fev Rover, an Irish-bred 4-year-old Grade 2 winner in France, was making her second North American appearance for owners Team Valor International and Gary Barber.
The Canadian is the second leg of the Ladies of the Lawn series, which began with the Dance Smartly and winds up with the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes here October 8. A $50,000 bonus is on tap for the owner of the top points-getter.
Fev Rover picked up seven points and leads the series with 17 points. Wawanake earned 10 points for her win in the Dance Smartly and did not enter the Canadian.
Woodbine Press Release
Photo: Fev Rover and jockey Patrick Husbands win The Canadian Stakes (Michael Burns)