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TORONTO, ON – Turf stakes action kicked off at Woodbine Racetrack on Sunday with Ivan Dalos’ popular homebred Avie’s Flatter back to his winning ways in the $175,000 Connaught Cup (G2) for trainer Josie Carroll.
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With Luis Contreras aboard, Avie’s Flatter settled in the pocket spot behind defending champion and early pacesetter Silent Poet, who was joined on the lead by the streaking Irish-bred Chuck Willis through a :23.46 opening 1/4 over the ‘good’ course.
As Chuck Willis forged ahead on the way to the 1/2-mile mark in :46.18, Contreras had Avie’s Flatter ready to roll and went three-wide off the turn to take command.
The 5-year-old son of Flatter rallied down the E.P. Taylor stretch with a 2-length lead before Olympic Runner cut into that margin with a late bid and missed by just a neck at the end of the 7-furlong sprint.
Avie’s Flatter stopped the clock in 1:20.99 and returned $5.60 to win as the 9/5 favourite. Olympic Runner settled for second while fellow Mark Casse trainee Proven Strategies finished 2 1/4 lengths back in third over Gray’s Fable and Silent Poet.
Chuck Willis, Tap It to Win, and Eskiminzin completed the order of finish. Holiday Stone was scratched.
“I got a great trip. He broke really sharp and I just wanted to sit behind the speed, and he was just dragging me the whole way,” said Contreras, who also partnered with Avie’s Flatter for a 5 1/4-length Tapeta triumph in his season’s debut last month. “A win is a win and he runs good whatever the surface is.”
“That’s what’s really nice about him – we do have those options,” said Carroll in reference to her trainee’s proven talent on both surfaces. “I think we’ll just see how things develop and try and place him in the best spots we can.”
Named Canada’s Champion 2-Year-Old Colt in 2018, Avie’s Flatter was top 3 in all 3 legs of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown the following year, including runner-up finishes in The Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales’ Stakes. Earlier that season, he won his first graded stakes, taking the Transylvania (G3) at Keeneland. Last year, he ran second in the Eclipse Stakes (G2) in 1 of his 3 starts.
“This is a really special horse and it’s very exciting for us because he’s finally come back to himself,” said the Hall of Fame horsewoman. “He had a bit of an off year last year and he’s just a monster this year. He’s so happy. We came into this race very confident but respectful of the kind of horses that were in here.”
Avie’s Flatter has now compiled a career record reading 6-3-2 from 15 starts and is approaching the million-dollar mark in Canadian earnings.
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