Are You Kidding Me prevails in Autumn Stakes at Woodbine

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Jen Caldwell

November 8th, 2015

Are You Kidding Me was facing quite a few familiar foes in Sunday’s $157,235 Autumn S. (Can-G2) at Woodbine, but an enterprising rail ride from jockey Alan Garcia saw the five-year-old score his third graded victory of the year.

The Kentucky-bred broke from inside post 1 and Garcia allowed him to settle into a ground-saving tracking spot behind pacesetter Royal Son. That one ticked off splits of :25.03, :49.33, 1:13.01 and 1:37.20 while flanked on his outside by Western Reserve, who was making his North American debut as the final runner for Lady Jane Cecil.

Royal Son maintained a narrow advantage all the way down the backstretch, and 2-1 favorite Lukes Alley joined the fray rounding the turn. Lukes Alley kept plugging away down the center of the track in the lane, inching out a short lead, but Are You Kidding Me slipped through on the rail and just got up in the shadow of the wire to deny that rival by a half-length.

Are You Kidding Me finished 1 1/16 miles over the dusty Polytrack in 1:43.41 and paid $13.90 as the near 6-1 fourth choice.

"He's a very genuine horse. He's had a couple of rough trips, but he trained really well to the race and I knew if he got a fair run he would be very tough," trainer Roger Attfield said. "I was a little concerned about the speed orientated racetrack as it is, and we had the one hole, so I knew we had to run out of there fairly well.

"When I saw the half in :49 and change, I thought we were sitting in a great spot and if he gets any kind of trip we were probably going to win."

Lukes Alley was making just his third start of the year after running second in a title defense bid in the Durham Cup (Can-G3) last out. He was seeking another title defense in the Autumn, but found himself second yet again. Royal Son filled the third spot another 1 1/4 lengths back while a half-length up on Western Reserve.

Owned by Ronald K. Kirk, John C. Bates and Michael Riordan , Are You Kidding Me is following a similar path as to last season. Though winless in 2014, the Attfield trainee began the year with a fourth in the Eclipse S. (Can-G2) and followed up by running fifth in the King Edward S. (Can-G2), third in the Durham Cup (Can-G3) and sixth in the Autumn.

The bay took up residence in Neil Drysdale’s barn to start off 2015 with a nice third in the San Francisco Mile (G3) at Golden Gate Fields in late April before returning to Attfield’s Woodbine shedrow to triumph in both the Eclipse and Nijinsky S. (Can-G2).

Are You Kidding Me posted a close neck third in the Sky Classic S. (Can-G2) and traveled south of the border once again to be fourth in the Presque Isle Downs Mile behind winner Florida Won, whom he proceeded to beat last out when third to that one’s fourth in the Durham Cup.

Are You Kidding Me met Florida Won yet again on Sunday, as well as respective Durham Cup victor and runner-up Golden Sabre and Lukes Alley, but proved best of all with his sneaky rail run under Garcia.

Are You Kidding Me (far right) photo courtesy of WEG/Michael Burns Photography