TORONTO, November 25, 2023 – Babbo took the early lead and never looked back in winning the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, on Saturday at Woodbine.
The 1 1/8-mile event for 2-year-olds foaled in Canada is a significant race on the road to the 165th running of The King’s Plate (August 17, 2024), the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
Babbo, trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer Sid Attard for owner Lou Tucci, will certainly be one to keep an eye on going forward.
Off at 5-1 in the field of 10, Babbo bumped with a rival at the start but crossed over quickly from post eight and struck front with Eswan Flores at the controls.
The bay held a one-length advantage over mutuel choice Piper’s Factor through an opening quarter in :24.63, with Vitality positioned third, followed by No More Options.
Babbo extended his lead to three lengths over that same rival through a half in :48.77 and was still running along comfortably through three-quarters reached in 1:13.78.
The son of Kantharos-Calling Rhy Rhy appeared to have plenty in the tank coming off the turn for home and proceeded to dash away from his pursuers in early stretch. Ahead by two at Robert Geller’s stretch call, Babbo crossed the wire 2 ½ lengths clear of Piper’s Factor. No More Options, who won the Frost King Stakes last time out, was third, followed by Naptown.
The final time was 1:52.06.
“I was worried, he has shown a lot of speed in the past,” said Flores. "I didn’t want to go too quick, but he was able to relax and was very professional throughout the whole race.”
It was the third straight win for Babbo, who was making his first stakes appearance in his sixth start. With the victory, the colt is now 3-2-0. He debuted this June at Woodbine and finished fourth in a five-furlong sprint over the Tapeta.
“He ran the seven-eighths easy,” said Tucci, of Babbo’s four-length win on November 4. “He reminded me of Midnight Aria (Tucci’s 2013 Queen’s Plate winner), he liked to take the lead and not give it up.”
Attard, in search of his first King’s Plate triumph, won the 2007 Coronation Futurity with Kesagami and the 2011 edition with Maritimer.
Bred by Robert Harvey, Babbo was a $95,000 (U.S.) purchase at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.
“We do miss Bob Harvey and if he’s up there, I’m sure he put a nice bet on him today,” said Tucci.
Babbo paid $12.20 for the win.
In other Saturday Woodbine stakes action, Inudation broke her maiden in the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, a Tapeta race for Canadian-foaled 2-year-old fillies, and a key event on the path to the 69th running of the Woodbine Oaks, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Tiara series.
It was an early throwdown between Sounds Practical and 4-5 choice Olivia Rose, who matched strides in the run into the first turn, with the former emerging on top and then clicking off an opening split in 24:37. Inudation, with Leo Salles aboard, sat eighth of nine through the first quarter.
Sounds Practical and Olivia Rose continued their spirited upfront battle through a half in :48.10, while Inudation started to make headway, moving into sixth spot.
As the field navigated the turn for home, the pacesetters were soon pressured by a host of foes, including a hard-charging War Painter, who brushed to the front in early stretch and looked to be well on her way to victory.
Inudation, however, was full of run along the rail and began to noticeably cut into the advantage of her stablemate, gaining with every stride before powering by with less than 100 yards to go. War Painter dug down deep and fought back gamely but was a head back at the wire. More Money Hunny, who got off to a sluggish start, rallied to finish third. Bravo Kate was elevated to fourth after Hurricane Clair was disqualified and placed seventh.
The final time for the 77th running of the Princess Elizabeth was 1:45.33.
“I’m lucky, everything worked out good,” said Salles. “The first turn, I had a good trip. I could save a lot of ground and gain positions. In the turn, everyone was making moves I think a little early and I just started taking gaps and gaps. Last time I finished second with her, I really liked this filly, and she had the best preparation. I came in very confident to this race.”
Trainer Kevin Attard, who finished one-two, was impressed with how his young pupil rose to the occasion in her first stakes engagement.
“She was obviously a maiden coming in here today, but she’s a filly that has shown talent from the get-go," said Attard. "We were always high on her and gradually stretched her out. I thought her two-turn race last time was impressive enough to warrant a chance here today. Eighth of a mile to go, I thought War Painter was free, but this filly just dug in and she was flying up the inside.”
Owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, and bred by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc., Inudation, now 1-2-0 from four starts, was a $67,000 (U.S.) purchase at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.
The daughter of Collected-Tidal Surge paid $26.60 for the victory.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms