By Christopher Ado

The Gr.1 Pattison Canadian International Stakes features a field of 11 with 3 Grade One winners in Funtastic, Spring Quality, and Johnny Bear. This year’s edition has one key asset and that is early speed. Funtastic, Tiz A Slam, and Bandua are early speed types that can either set or press the pace. Look for those with a quality late kick that can benefit from what could be a contested pace.



#6 SPRING QUALITY (Quality Road – Spring Star, by Deputy Minister)

Running Style: Stalker
Trainer: H. Graham Motion
Jockey: Edgar Prado
Owner: Augustin Stable

He is one of the three Grade One winners in this field but exits a dismal last place finish beaten 39 ¼ lengths in the Gr.1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park where his loss can be attributed to the soft turf he encountered. I am willing to draw a line right through it. Prior to that debacle, he finished third in the Gr.1 Sword Dancer where he was the only entrant in that field to make up any ground in the stretch as the first two place finishers, Glorious Empire and Channel Maker, ran first and second around the race track. His only win this year occured in the Gr.1 Manhattan and he rallied from the rear, wide past the entire field, to win by a neck. Reeling back after just two weeks rest off that poor performance suggests trainer Graham Motion and his owners feel his effort in the Joe Hirsch did not take anything out of him.



#11 FOCUS GROUP (Kitten’s Joy – Cocktail Hour, by Dynaformer)

Running Style: Closer
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Owner: Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence

A deep closer who will have no issue with today’s twelve furlong distance as his three wins this year range from 1 3/8 to 1 5/8 miles. He won both of his starts at Saratoga this summer using the same closing style. He will pick up seven pounds in this race, but his closing kick will be aided by his stablemate, Funtastic, going for the lead followed or pressed by Tiz A Slam, and Bandua early. Jockey Jose Ortiz has been aboard for all four of the colt’s victories and he looks for a fifth in this prestigious Grade One event.



#4 FUNTASTIC (More than Ready – Quiet Dance, by Quiet American)

Running Style: Frontrunner
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: John Velazquez
Owner: Three Chimneys Farm

This frontrunner is the other Chad Brown trainee in the field and will go straight to the lead as his two victories this year occured when he was able to make the lead through the opening half-mile. He will likely face Tiz A Slam and Bandua early, and that could compromise his energy on the final stretch.



#10 DESERT ENCOUNTER (IRE) (Halling – La Chicana (IRE), by Invincible Spirit (IRE))

Running Style: Closer
Trainer: David Simcock
Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
Owner: Abdulla Al Mansoori

This closer ships in from England with the back class to win the race. Last year, he finished a respectable third to multiple Group One winner Ulysees in the Coral Eclipse Stakes. The seven time winner has won at distances up to 1 7/8 miles. He will appreciate firm ground and fast pace.


Additional Pattison Canadian International Card Handicapping Guides

Gr.1 EP Taylor Stakes

Gr.3 Ontario Derby

Gr.2 Nearctic Stakes

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