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Jockey Patrick Husbands celebrates his victory aboard Numerous Times in the 2001 Atto Mile.
2001 Atto Mile

Dateline: 9/09/01
By: Terence Dulay

On Sunday September 9th at Woodbine, turf specialists from across North America competed in the 5th running of the Grade 1 Atto Mile. In its short history the race has become a major prep for the Breeders' Cup Mile, and the result of this year's running quickly threw a new contender into the ring for the big prize at Belmont in October.

The favorite in the contentious field of fourteen was Affirmed Success, coming off consecutive wins in the Jaipur and Poker handicaps at Belmont Park. Also in the field were Elliott Walden trainee Brahms who was third last time out in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, and Irish Prize from Neil Drysdale's barn, coming off a three race winning streak in graded stakes company. A number of local horses were entered hoping to beat the powerful invaders, including 2000 Canadian Horse of the Year Quiet Resolve, 1999 Kentucky Derby hopeful Kimberlite Pipe (now based at Woodbine), and Numerous Times, who was coming into the race undefeated in five career starts.

Numerous Times in the walking ring before the race.
When the gate opened, as expected the local speedster Wake At Noon was sent right to the front, setting initial fractions of 23.15 and 45.72 over the very firm turf course before dropping back on the turn to an eventual 13th place finish. Affirmed Success stalked him down the backstretch under Jerry Bailey to his outside, and got the lead by default at the top of the stretch, and setting the 3/4 mile fraction in 1:09.49. Jockey Patrick Husbands kept Numerous Times just off the lead between horses and made his move midway around the turn. Angling out with 3 furlongs to go, he went five wide through the stretch with Quiet Resolve just behind him. The trio of Numerous Times, Affirmed Success, and Quiet Resolve battled in deep stretch, finishing just noses apart with the late running Irish Prize just 3/4 lengths back of them after being as far back as last place early on. The photo finish determined that Numerous Times was the winner, with Affirmed Success second and Quiet Resolve third. Quiet Resolve's jockey Todd Kabel lodged a claim of foul against jockey Patrick Husbands, but the Stewards ruled there was no interference and the result stood. The final time was a course record 1:32.79, eclipsing the stakes mark of 1:33.00 set by Labeeb in 1998 and the previous course record of 1:32.80 set by Lost Soldier in 1996.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place   Show
 6   Numerous Times     Husbands        15.40    5.90   5.20
 9   Affirmed Success   Bailey                   4.50   3.20
 2   Quiet Resolve      Kabel                           7.00

Winning Time:  1:32.79

$2 Exactor 6-9               98.90
$2 Triactor 6-9-2           657.80
$1 Superfecta 6-9-2-14    1,820.75
Results Chart from Equibase

Entries and background info

Coming down the stretch less than a sixteenth from the finish with Affirmed Success on the rail, Numerous Times between horses, and Quiet Resolve on the outside.

Just before the finish, still anybody's race.

Just after the finish, noses apart. Although from these photos it looks like Affirmed Success on the inside was the winner, Numerous Times had his nose in front on the wire where it counts.

The connections celebrate after Numerous Times withstood the claim of foul by Todd Kabel on Quiet Resolve. Trainer Sid Attard, enjoying his biggest stakes win in his 23 year career, said: "He's a very nice horse. He does everything right. I knew this was going to be a tough race. Patrick said you don't know how good this horse is, I haven't asked him to run yet. I said 'I guess we'll have to ask him today.' This is once in a lifetime. It may never happen again."

In the winner's circle. Co-owner Bob Harvey said: "It's a very proud moment in my life. I've been in this game for 23 years now and this has got to be the biggest highlight." He mentioned that one of the other trainers in the race made an offer in the vicinity of $700,000 for his horse but he and his partners decided not to sell, and confirmed that they are aiming for the Breeders' Cup Mile after the win.

Jockey Patrick Husbands with the Atto Mile trophy. He said: "This is a popular horse and it really takes a good horse to beat him. I was more confident than the owners and the trainer. He's a class horse. He's probably one of the best horses I've ever ridden." His mother Audrey passed away last week after battling cancer, and he will return to his native Barbados on Monday for the funeral on Tuesday morning.

Affirmed Success in the walking ring before the race. Jockey Jerry Bailey said: "He ran great, just got beat. I didn't know who won it and had no idea what the inquiry was all about. He ran a tremendous race, sat off the pacesetter, which I thought he would do. He gave me a good kick when we were in the middle of the stretch. It was just a blanket finish and we didn't get the nod."

Quiet Resolve in the post parade. His jockey Todd Kabel said: "I had to check my horse going into the turn. The rider on Kimberlite Pipe sent his horse up in there and sent me over heels. I definitely didn't benefit from that. Turning for home, Patrick [Husbands] backed me out. We made contact and that's why I claimed foul. My horse ran a game race."

Irish Prize took off early in the post parade. His jockey Gary Stevens said: "He ran a great race. No excuses. We were giving a lot of weight away (124 pounds versus 117 for Numerous Times). It was a hell of a race by him, I'm happy. I thought he had a big shot turning for home but the weight told its tale the last sixteenth."

Shane Sellers rode longshot City West to a 10th place finish, in what may well be the final race of his career, having announced his retirement after winning the Spectacular Bid Stakes on Saturday at Arlington Park. He said before the Atto Mile, "It's got to the point where it hurts when I walk. I've been thinking about the last three to four days wondering how I was going to get out of this, not wanting to leave and not wanting to walk away, but I just can't ride three or four a day. I'm going to go back home and talk to my doctors and weigh out my options, see what my future is. Right now, day in and day out, I just can't take the pain."

On the undercard were two Grade 2 races on the turf, and Stronach Stables swept both of them. In the 1 1/8 mile Canadian Handicap for older fillies and mares, 12-1 longshot Diadella came from off the pace to win by a length over favorite Nymphenburg, shattering the course record in a final time of 1:43.76. The old record was 1:45.00 set in 1996. Results Chart from Equibase

Diadella's jockey David Clark said, "She's always shown she's a good filly. Malcolm [Pierce, trainer] had her perfect today and when I called on her about the three-sixteenths pole, she just switched to another gear and ran home. She was starting to come around her last start and ran a good race and today she was so much better."

In the 1 mile Summer Stakes for two-year-olds, 10-1 shot El Soprano upset odds-on favorite Miesque's Approval. Jockey Gary Stevens said, "We had a rough trip. We started into the turn, a horse stopped in front of me, bounced into the rail and backed right up in my face. I clipped heels with him and at that point I thought it was over with. I swung him to the outside coming into the stretch and thought maybe I'll pick up a piece of it. All of a sudden, here he is, going to win the race. A very, very talented colt. He's still got a lot of learning to do. That tells me he's got bigger and better places to go." Results Chart from Equibase

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All photos © 2001 by Cindy Pierson Dulay and Terence Dulay, licensed to About.

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