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Arden Belle gaining on Financingavailable
ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Fillies and mares were in the spotlight here Sunday, and sharing top billing were the champion, Financingavailable, and the potential challenger, Arden Belle.
Financingavailable, a 6-year-old trained by Lorne Richards, recorded the 14th win of her career and boosted her bankroll to $1,113,779 by capturing the $125,000 Victoriana at 1 1/16 miles on turf. She was the Sovereign Award winner in her division last season.
Arden Belle, a 4-year-old trained by Ron Sadler, earned her fifth career win and brought her earnings to $349,590 when taking the $100,000 Belle Mahone at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
There is a chance that Financing-available and Arden Belle could cross swords in the Algoma, the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares that will be one of six $100,000 yearling stakes here Sept. 3.
Neither Richards nor Sadler, however, was ready to make a firm commitment as of Monday morning.
Richards, who trains Financing-available for K.K. Sangara, also will nominate Financingavailable to the Grade 3, $150,000 Seaway, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares here Sept. 8.
"K.K. would like to get that graded stakes win into her somewhere down the line," said Richards.
Financingavailable finished a close second in the Grade 3 Royal North for the second year in a row before winning her second straight Victoriana.
Richards also notes that the Seaway actually would be a $200,000 race for Finanancing-available, with $50,000 in bonus money available for Ontario-breds.
"The Algoma would still be our first consideration, but we'll see if the other race is coming up light," said Richards. "We want to give her the easiest spot."
Richards also has picked up a second Algoma nominee in Archie's Gal, a 5-year-old whom he claimed for $62,500 here last Friday.
Archie's Gal finished second behind Financingavailable in last year's Classy 'N Smart, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.
"She'll be the backup," said Richards. "She seems like a pretty nice horse."
Sadler, who trains Arden Belle for Salt and Pepper Stable, has covered all the yearling sales stakes bases by also nominating Arden Belle to Kenora at six furlongs and the Halton at one mile on turf. She would face males in either of those spots.
"We're leaning to the Algoma, but we nominated her to the three of them just to be sure," said Sadler. "The mile of turf would suit her as well, and she can sprint; she's versatile."
In the meantime, both Richards and Sadler can sing the praises of their respective charges.
"She did what she had to do," said Richards, after watching Financingavailable win the Victoriana by a measured 1 1/4 lengths. "She doesn't disappoint me often, and even when she loses you know she's tried her hardest."
Arden Belle was winning her second stakes in the Belle Mahone after capturing the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too here July 1.
"She's a very exciting filly," said Sadler, who took over Arden Belle following the death of trainer Donnie Campbell this spring.
Sadler, who had shared a farm with Campbell in Ontario, had been familiar with Arden Belle before she joined him in April after wintering in the Ocala, Fla., area.
"I always thought she was a pretty nice filly," said Sadler. "But, she's exceeded our expectations."
Arden Belle's two stakes wins represent the only such successes for Sadler and the filly's regular rider, apprentice jockey Matt Moore.
Casse loaded with juveniles
Trainer Mark Casse's 2-year-olds just keep on coming.
On Sunday, Lickety Lemon registered her second win in as many starts in an open allowance race that was a prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Natalma here Sept. 9.
Two races after saddling Lickety Lemon, Casse sent out Satin Slippers, a half-sister to Canadian champion Leonnatus Anteas, to finish second in her first career start.
On Saturday, Casse sent out Officer Cherrie to become a stakes winner in the $125,000 Ontario Debutante. Two races earlier he watched Turf War graduate in his second start in a maiden special.
Lickety Lemon and Officer Cherrie, both Kentucky-bred fillies, are owned by Charles Laloggia.
Last Thursday, Dawn Raid was successful first crack out in a five-furlong maiden special.
Other first-out 2-year-old winners here for Casse this year have included Clearly Foxy, Briarwood Circle, Nite in Rome, and Wildcat Nite.
Lickety Lemon had closed smartly to win her maiden going six furlongs on turf and was even more impressive in the seven-furlong Natalma prep. The Natalma is a one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies.
"She can handle the Polytrack, too," said Casse. "She's worked well on it."
Clearly Foxy, another Kentucky-bred filly owned by Laloggia, won her debut at six furlongs on grass and also will be nominated to the Natalma.
"We'll probably enter them both, and run the one that's doing best at the time," said Casse. "Clearly Foxy is actually maybe a little better on Polytrack than on turf."
The Ontario Debutante was the second straight victory for Officer Cherrie, who had finished eighth in her five-furlong debut and then won a maiden special at 5 1/2 furlongs.
"In her first start she had ahorrible trip," said Casse. "She got bounced off the rail; she never had a shot."
The $250,000 Mazarine, a Grade 3 race for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles here Sept. 29, is the next major target for Officer Cherrie.
"Her pedigree's a little suspect going that far," said Casse. "But her attitude, the way she runs and her ability to rate, should get her to handle it."
Meanwhile, Satin Slippers and Dawn Raid will be looking at Canadian-bred races down the road.
Both fillies are Ontario-breds owned by Bill Farish Jr.'s Woodford Racing LLC.
"I really liked the way Satin Slippers ran," said Casse. "She was really professional.
"And, Dawn Raid hadn't been here that long - I'd only breezed him four times. It was a good effort."
Patrick Husbands has ridden every successful Casse juvenile except Spin Move, who won her second start with Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard on May 12.