07/27/2008 11:00PM

Artie Hot knocks off another giant


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Artie Hot already had established a reputation as a giant-killer here last fall when he toppled Alezzandro and Mike Fox, respective winners of the Prince of Wales and Queen's Plate, when sent off at 33-1 in the 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby.

On Sunday, Artie Hot struck again in the 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup, scoring by a half-length under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson at 10-1.

Finishing second in the Grade 3, $151,200 Seagram Cup was True Metropolitan, who was the even-money choice and the winner of the last two Sovereign Awards as Canada's champion older male.

"He wasn't really heading to this race, but there were no other races here for him for a long time," said assistant trainer Martha Gonzalez, who is in charge of her husband Nick's string here at Woodbine. "He finally got to put a few starts together. He's a heavy horse; it's hard to train him."

Artie Hot came into the Seagram Cup off a second-place finish in a July 12 classified allowance at 1 1/16 miles in which he was beaten a neck by Mike Fox, who did not run back in the Seagram Cup.

Two weeks earlier, Artie Hot had been beaten five lengths as the fifth-place finisher in the Grade 2 King Edward over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

"He's a much better Polytrack horse than a turf horse," Gonzalez said.

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding, Artie Hot was claimed for $30,000 at Gulfstream Park in February 2007 and has since banked more than $300,000 for the Tucci Stable of Carlo and Lou Tucci.

With the next open main-track route for the division being the Oct. 11 Durham Cup at 1 1/8 miles, Artie Hot could be going on the road for his next start.

Northern Kraze targets Ontario Colleen

Trainer Mark Frostad, who saddled his first stakes winner of the meeting when Mulmur ($62.90) captured the Jockey Club on July 19, was back in the spotlight Saturday when Northern Kraze ($17.20) took the Wonder Where.

Mulmur, along with the vast majority of Frostad's charges, is owned by Sam-Son Farm. But Northern Kraze was an $8,000 buyback at the select yearling sale here, and Frostad purchased an interest from her owner and breeder, his longtime friend Bob Anderson.

Making her eighth start, Northern Kraze recorded her first stakes win in the $252,800 Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

"I think she's a pretty useful filly," Frostad said. "Obviously, she's tons better on turf. But chasing the Oaks, you kind of get sucked in."

Northern Kraze displayed her affinity for turf last fall when third in her one-mile debut and a close fourth when facing males in the 1 1/16-mile Cup and Saucer.

But after tuning up in a turf sprint at Fair Grounds this March, Northern Kraze switched to Polytrack in preparation for the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks, the $500,000 race that is the premier contest for the division.

After finishing fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Selene but a distant 10th in the Woodbine Oaks, Northern Kraze returned to her preferred medium and scored her maiden victory over one mile of grass here July 26.

On Saturday, under her regular rider Chantal Sutherland, Northern Kraze prevailed in a long drive over a course rated yielding.

"The distance was the big question mark for her, especially when it came up soft," Frostad said.

Next up for Northern Kraze will be the $150,000 Ontario Colleen, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies here Aug. 30.

"She'll love that distance," Frostad said.

French Beret set for Nijinsky

French Beret, a 5-year-old gelding owned and bred by Sam-Son Farm, will be looking to keep the barn's stakes success rolling here in the Grade 2, $300,000 Nijinsky here on Monday's Civic Holiday program.

The Nijinsky, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, is the major local stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile grass race here Sept. 7.

French Beret, who is coming off a rallying fourth-place finish in the King Edward, has won just 3 times in his 27-start career but has captured two stakes and placed in eight others while earning $571,125.

Sealy Hill rebounds in allowance

Trainer Mark Casse was able to breathe a sigh of relief Sunday after Sealy Hill, who had been winless in her first three starts this season, rallied to score by 1 1/2 lengths in an open allowance race for fillies and mares over one mile on the turf course.

Expectations naturally had been high for Sealy Hill, following a 2007 campaign in which she was Canada's Horse of the Year, champion turf female, and champion 3-year-old filly.

"She was much more impressive than her winning margin," said Casse.

"She doesn't like to be on the inside, there wasn't a lot of pace, and then she tried to pull herself up after she made the lead.

"I was happy to see her win. It made me feel better."

Sealy Hill now will point for the Sept. 7 Canadian, a Grade 2, $300,000 turf race for fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles in which she finished second last year.

The Canadian also is the major local prep for the Oct. 4 E.P. Taylor Stakes, a Grade 1, $1 million turf race at 1 1/4 miles in which Sealy Hill also ran second last fall.