Surtsey Surprises in Avowal

TORONTO, September 20, 2014 – Yvonne Schwabe’s homebred Surtsey rallied from last of seven to capture Saturday’s $127,400 Avowal Stakes for fillies and mares, Saturday at Woodbine.

Trained by Kevin Attard, the four-year-old Heatseeker-Kick’em Jenny chestnut left the gate at odds of 16-1 in the seven furlong grass stake, but was full of run down the lane to collar the pacesetting Silent Treat for a half-length score. Surtsey stopped the clock in 1:22.58 over a firm E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

Hillaby, sent to post as the even-money favourite, stalked Silent Treat through a swift half-mile in :46.18 but failed to fire as Surtsey, Cat Lore and Why Katherine converged on the leader at the top of the stretch.

A resilient Silent Treat, with Michelle Rainford up, stayed on strong for place money and then survived a claim of foul from David Moran, aboard Why Katherine, for drifting in late in the stretch run.

Surtsey captured the grassy Ontario Damsel Stakes on July 14, 2013 at odds of 41-1 under Jermaine Bridgmohan, and the improving long shot impressed Contreras who was riding Surtsey for the first time.

“I had a perfect trip. Kevin told me to make one run at the end and that’s what I did,” said Contreras. “I followed the favourite (Hillaby). When we hit the quarter pole, I got her outside and made a big run and she responded really well.”

Attard wasn’t surprised by Surtsey’s big effort to win the Avowal.

“She ran a big race in the Nassau (4th in the G2 grass mile on May 25) in the spring time and she’s very fond of the turf,” said Attard. “I always thought she was an off-the-pace sprint type filly. She ran a good race last year in the Wonder Where going a mile and a quarter. She’s very versatile. She gives it all she’s got.”

Surtsey banked $72,000 in victory while improving her career record to 4-0-2 from 13 starts.

She paid $35.20, $12.50 and $5.90, combining with Silent Treat ($7.20, $3) for a $196.10 (4-2) exactor.  A 4-2-1 (Smartyfly, $3.40) triactor was worth $503.20, while a $1 Superfecta [4-2-1-3 (Why Katherine)] came back $577.45. Unhedged and Blues and Silvers were scratched.