Second Step Could Finish First in Canadian International


Last month's Northern Dancer winner Interpol faces a strong field of local and European contenders in Sunday's Canadian International. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

The 78th running of the Grade 1, $1-million Pattison Canadian International Stakes on Sunday at Woodbine showcases a field of 11 including three from Europe. Four are Grade 1 or Group 1 stakes winners at this 1 ½-mile trip, with four others having Grade 2 wins adding to the depth of talent.

Second Step (IRE) may have a slight edge as he not only won the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket in England this past May but also won the Group 1 Preis Von Berlin stakes in Germany in August. Interpol and Habibi (NZ) enter the Canadian International after finishing first and second, respectively, in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine last month, with last year's Northern Dancer winner Sheikhzayedroad (GB) returning to North America for the first time since then.

After that group there are a number of horses who have won many stakes but have been winless for a while, such as Kaigun (last win 11 months ago), Power Ped (last win in January) and Up With the Birds (last win July 2014). Reporting Star won the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes at the much shorter distance of seven furlongs on turf in August and is hoping to carry that form to this longer distance. Cannock Chase comes over from England off a win in a non-graded stakes but his biggest win came in a Group 3 race so he may need to improve to be competitive. Danish Dynaformer is a multiple stakes winner but both his stakes wins came in restricted stakes. Triple Threat (FR), winner of the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes in June, rounds out the field. 

Second Step comes over from Europe, a Group 1 winner at this distance on turf one race before last. His last race in the Irish St. Leger was a much better effort than it may have appeared when he finished fourth. In that race, the winner won by 11 lengths but Second Step was only a half-length and neck from the runner-up. That's like nearly winning the only race he and his jockey had a chance to win as there was no way to catch the runaway winner. With one of his winning jockeys coming in from Europe to ride for world-class trainer Luca Cumani, Second Step looks to have an edge and could be the one to beat in this year's Pattison Canadian International.

Habibi and Interpol appear to be the best of the North American contingent, having just finished second and first, respectively, in the Northern Dancer Stakes here on the Woodbine turf at this 12 furlong trip. They each earned 111 Equibase Speed Figures with those efforts and they have 12 career wins and over $1 million in earnings between them. As such, both can be counted on for big efforts in this race.

The rest of the Pattison Canadian International field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Danish Dynaformer (110), Kaigun (106), Power Ped (115), Reporting Star (113), Sheikhzayedroad (114), Triple Threat (102) and Up With the Birds (107). Cannock Chase has been racing in Europe and has no figure.

My selections:
Second Step

$1-million Canadian International Stakes
Sunday, Woodbine Racetrack, Race 9, 5:42 p.m. ET
1 1/2 miles, turf, 3-year-olds and older








Power Ped

Florent Geroux

Neil Drysdale

Stepaside Farms



Cannock Chase

Ryan Moore

Sir Michael Stoute

Rabbah Bloodstock, Lessee



Sheikhzayedroad (GB)

Martin Lane

David Simcock

Rabbah Bloodstock, Lessee



Second Step (IRE)

Andrea Atzeni

Luca Cumani

Merry Fox Stud Ltd.



Up With the Birds

John Velazquez

Graham Motion

Sam-Son Farm



Danish Dynaformer

Eurico Rosa Da Silva

Roger Attfield

Charles Fipke



Triple Threat (FR)

Joel Rosario

Bill Mott

Team Valor and Gary Barber



Reporting Star

Luis Contreras

Pat Parente

Copper Water Thoroughbred Co.




Emma-Jayne Wilson

Sid Attard

JMJ Racing Stables




Patrick Husbands

Mark Casse

G. Barber, Quintessential Racing Florida and Horse'n Around Racing Stable



Habibi (NZ)

Robby Albarado

Mark Frostad

Augustin Stable


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