Seemingly beaten inside the final furlong, Cudney Stables' homebred Lafontaine, a son of Artie Schiller, got up in the final strides of the $125,000 Toronto Cup Sunday at Woodbine to give the 3-year-old his first stakes victory.
Lafontaine joins an impressive list of Artie Schiller's stakes horses that includes Plate Trial S. winner We Miss Artie, as well as graded stakes horses Blingo and My Conquestadory.
Trained by Liz Charalambous, the Kentucky-bred is named for Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, the first Canadian to become Prime Minister of the United Province of Canada.
Breaking from the rail in a driving rain on the E.P Taylor turf course, Lafontaine's jockey Steve Bahen had to check several times off the heels of pacesetter Heart to Heart during the first six furlongs. Bahen finally found some clear running just outside the furlong pole, coming off the fence and eventually forging past Heart to Heart to prevail in very courageous fashion.
Lafontaine covered 1 1/8-miles in 1:48.86 over good going.
“I’m very proud of this horse,” said trainer Elizabeth Charalambous. “He’s really figured it out now and knows why he’s here and what we’re asking of him. The talent was always there, he just had to figure it out.
“Steve rode him perfectly. I asked him to sit off the speed, which he did and I was just a little concerned that he might get stuck on the rail but things opened up for him and he exploded.”
Lafontaine banked $75,000 in victory, upping his lifetime take to $102,455 and improving his record to two wins from five starts.
For more on the naming and breeding of Lafontaine, please see the Toronto Cup Preview
, courtesy of Woodbine.