TORONTO, September 24 - Are You Kidding Me, Canada's champion older horse of 2015, continued his good run of form with a facile score in Saturday's co-featured $162,000 Grade 3 Durham Cup, at Woodbine.
Trained by Roger Attfield for Ronald K. Kirk, John C. Bates and Michael Riordan, Are You Kidding Me tracked the duelling Decision Day and Nipigon through splits of :24.70, :49.05 and :1:12.89 in the 1 1/8-mile Tapeta route before taking command late in the turn and running away from the field for a geared down 2 1/4-length score.
Freitag closed best of all in the compact field of five to earn place money over late-running Up With the Birds. Are You Kidding Me covered nine furlongs in 1:49.10.
Jockey Alan Garcia, who guided Are You Kidding Me to a front-running win in the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes on May 28, was full of praise for the six-year-old son of Run Away and Hide.
"The trip was perfect. He was happy to sit behind the speed. He was so comfortable and I was waiting to turn for home to let him run," said Garcia.
"He's an amazing horse. I can move him whenever I want," continued Garcia. "You can put him in the lead, put him behind horses or put him in last. He's not a rough horse, he's a very nice horse. He's been unbelievable."
The victory marked the sixth Durham Cup score for Attfield having previously taken the event with Triple Wow (1987), Steady Power (1989), Imperial Colony and Take Account (dead heat in 1990), A Fleets Dancer (2001) and Palladio (2008.)
"He's a charming horse to train," said Attfield. "I've had him since day one. He's had a few little problems along the way, but I can train him any way I want to train him. He can work in :58 or in 1:03. He's just a lovely horse and I really love him."
Are You Kidding Me won three of seven starts in 2015, including Grade 2 scores in the Eclipse, Nijinsky and Autumn Stakes, to secure champion older horse honours.
Bred in Kentucky by John Bates, Ron Kirk, Greg McDonald & Riordan, Shaw & Sones, Are You Kidding Me banked $90,000 in victory while improving his record to 8-5-6 from 30 career starts.
He returned $3 and $2.10 combining with Freitag ($3.90) for a 5-1 exacta of $10.90. Up With the Birds completed a 5-1-2 trifecta worth $19.10.