The Woodbine bettors ignored their hometown heroes in Sunday's $1.05 million Atto Mile. And it cost them dearly.
Thanks to a disqualification of first-place finisher Hawksley Hill, locally based Quiet Resolve -- the third-longest shot in the field -- was moved up to first and shocked the crowd of about 12,500 with a $91.50 (for $2) win payoff.
"I've got my number taken down at times, so I don't feel bad winning it that way," said jockey Robert Landry after Hawksley Hill, who beat 45-1 shot Quiet Resolve by a head, was taken down because jockey Pat Day unintentionally whipped another horse on the head during the stretch drive.
"I was elated, to tell you the truth. When I heard the guy claimed the foul, I got a little excited, I must admit," said Landry, a two-time Sovereign Award winner (1993-94) as Canada's leading jockey.
Landry said he dropped his whip -- when bumped by jockey Jorge Chavez aboard Rob 'n Gin -- about 100 yards from the wire.
Landry said Quiet Resolve reacted well to his "hand ride" and "maybe, if I still had my stick, he might have run third. . . . He was running from the hand ride and he was giving me everything."
The victory came in the first stakes attempt for Quiet Resolve, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Mark Frostad for Ernie Samuel's Sam-Son Farm, a five-time winner of top owner honors.
The son of Affirmed, the 1978 U.S. Triple Crown winner, had the least experience (six races) of any of his 14 foes in the Grade 1 contest.
Last week, Frostad said, "I'm sure if the race was elsewhere, we probably wouldn't ship to it. But we're going to give him a shot."
After the race, Frostad said he might send Quiet Resolve to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Gulfstream on Nov. 6. "I couldn't conceive of a Breeders' Cup being any tougher than this race," he said. The Atto Mile, named for a local insurance company, attracted many of the world's top turf runners and jockeys.
Hawksley Hill, who came from 10th, closed on the far outside of the grass course and crossed the finish line in 1:33, equaling the stakes record for the event formerly called the Woodbine Mile.
But French jockey Gerald Mosse, who rode Jim and Tonic to a fourth-place finish, quickly claimed foul against Day.
After reviewing the replay, the stewards ruled that Day's left-hand whip had hit Jim and Tonic twice on the head in the last 110 yards. They said the infraction calls for automatic disqualification and Hawksley Hill was placed fourth, behind the horse he bothered.
Rob 'n Gin, a 20-1 shot who crossed the line third after setting the early pace, was promoted to second and the payoffs were whoppers. Quiet Resolve paid $40.60 to place. Rob 'n Gin paid $19.70 to place and $11.20 to show. The exactor paid $1,114.90 and the triactor was worth $10,204.80.
Neil Drysdale, Hawksley Hill's trainer, declined comment, but Day said he had no argument with the judges.
"I did not feel I had interfered with anybody . . . but after watching the pan shot of the rerun, it certainly appears that I hit the . . . horse with my whip. . . . I never felt making any contact with my whip. . . . Looking at the head-on, it looked like I hit the horse in the face," Day said.
Day said he did not think the fact that the eventual winner was a local horse had anything to do with the stewards' decision.
The DQ from a $630,000 winner's share to a $63,000 purse check was just the latest in a series of hard-luck races for Hawksley Hill, a California-based 6-year-old gelding who entered the Atto Mile with the highest earnings ($1.46 million) in the field.
Since getting beat by a head by Da Hoss in last November's Breeders' Cup Mile, Hawksley Hill had lost six straight, four by a half-length or less, for owners David and Jill Heerensperger of Seattle.
"Today he runs a dynamite race, gets his number put up and comes down because of a rider error, so I feel sorry for them," Day said. Earlier on the card, Gandria -- the Canadian-bred filly who won the $212,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 25 -- finished second in the $153,875 Canadian Handicap.
Ridden by former Fort Erie champion Constant Montpellier, Gandria finished 1 1/2 lengths behind Anguilla ($7), with Pat Day aboard. Gandria earned $34,625 in her first turf race and boosted her career bankroll to $381,683.