‘Very Honest’ Special Forces Heads Sunday’s Autumn Stakes At Woodbine

Multiple graded stakes placed Special Forces takes on seven rivals in Sunday’s Grade 2 $175,000 Autumn Stakes, one of two added-money offerings ($100,000 Glorious Song Stakes) on Woodbine’s 10-race card.

Trained by Kevin Attard, four-year-old Special Forces will look to go one better after consecutive runner-up stakes efforts.

The son of Candy Ride arrives at the 1 1/16-mile main track Autumn off a nose loss in the Grade 3 Durham Cup on September 28 at the Toronto oval.

One race earlier, on September 9, the Kentucky-bred finished second to Mr Ritz, who will also contest the Autumn, in the Presque Isle Downs Mile – run at 1 1/16-miles. Mr Ritz, a homebred for Earle Mack, set a track record in the $200,000 event, crossing the wire in 1:41.91.

Attard, who co-owns with Soli Mehta, anticipates another strong showing from Special Forces on Saturday.

“He’s a very honest horse and very consistent. In some races, he’s suffered from a lack of pace and he’s had to come from so far back. That’s meant he’s had to go wide a lot of the times, which has hurt him a bit. He’s been running against top competition, too. Mr Ritz has gotten the better of him a couple times this year, so we’re hoping to turn the tables on him and others this time.”

Special Forces, who went winless in his first five career races – all run in the U.S. – came to Woodbine last July, and finished sixth in his Canadian debut.

Since that effort, the chestnut has four wins, four seconds, and a third from 10 starts. This season, Special Forces is 1-3-1 from five starts.

Bred by Machmer Hall, Carrie Brogden and Craig Brogden, the gelding will be making his first Grade 2 appearance. He was second in the Grade 3 Dominion Day on June 30, third in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup in August, and second in the aforementioned Grade 3 Durham Cup.

“He’s a good-feeling horse,” said Attard, who has 48 wins on the season, and 457 victories overall. “He does what you ask of him, and he’s certainly done that for us. It’s always nice when they lay it all out there every time. He had a good work (five furlongs, breezing, in 1:00.20 on the Tapeta) last week. I was really happy with him. He looks great, he’s training well, he’s in the feed tub, and he likes the cooler weather. We’re optimistic.”

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