09/06/2010 12:11PM

Buttigieg still building on a career season

Michael Burns
Officeinthevalley wins the Vice Regent at Woodbine by 2 1/4 lengths on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Paul Buttigieg already had been enjoying a career year as a trainer, owner, and breeder. On Sunday, Buttigieg added the exclamation mark with his first stakes winner of the meeting as Officeinthevalley captured the $125,800 Vice Regent for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

“It feels great,” Buttigieg said after watching Officeinthevalley prevail by 2 1/4 lengths in the stakes that was run over one mile of turf rated firm but undoubtedly was a touch less so after heavy rainfall in recent days.

Officeinthevalley came into the Vice Regent with 2 wins in 6 starts but never had traveled beyond 6 1/2 furlongs and had not tried the grass.

Buttigieg would have worked Officeinthevalley over the turf training course last weekend, but that surface was in the midst of its two-week summer vacation and he had to settle for a breeze over the main track.

“I was concerned that the turf wasn’t that firm,” Buttigieg said after greeting Officeinthevalley in the winner’s circle following the Vice Regent.

“I wasn’t worried about him going longer. I think he’ll handle two turns with no problem whatsoever.”

Officeinthevalley, who has had rider Richard Dos Ramos aboard since his career began here April 11, won for the third time and picked up $75,000 in the Vice Regent to bring his bankroll to $151,021.

The gelding by Peaks and Valleys also became the 12th winner of the meeting for Buttigieg, with all of those successes coming in Ontario-sired company.

Seven of those wins came with homebreds solely owned by Buttigieg.

Gypsy Bold also has contributed two wins while also placing in two stakes, The Boy’s Ring won a first-level allowance, and Red Shot scored in his only appearance.

Ten Lakes, bred and owned by Buttigieg in partnership with Gary Vasey, won her maiden and finished third in the Deputy Minister.

Getting Bold, a yearling sales purchase owned by Buttigieg, has won twice in claiming company and placed in her last two starts in restricted allowance races.

Wigamog, owned by Vasey, won in maiden claiming and first-level allowance company for Buttigieg, who in addition to his purse winnings will be expecting a healthy bonus check courtesy of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s breeders award program for Ontario-foaled horses.

Hooh Why eyeing Breeders’ Cup

Hooh Why had the right answers here last Saturday, rolling to a 1 3/4-length victory under Emile Ramsammy in the $161,500 Seaway Stakes at seven furlongs.

“I’ve been wanting to run her seven furlongs forever, and I finally got the chance,” said Mark Hoffman, who is a part-owner of the 4-year-old Hooh Why and has been her traveling companion since she begin her career at Arlington at 2008.

Hooh Why had started just once before at seven furlongs, finishing third in the Glorious Song as a 2-year-old.

She has traveled far and wide in the interim, racing at Arlington, Keeneland, Prairie Meadows, Presque Isle Downs, Santa Anita, and Tampa Bay Downs while making several more visits here.

Saturday marked a rare occasion when Hoffman was not on hand to cheer on his pride and joy.

“I had some young horses at Presque Isle that I had to contend with the last few days,” said Hoffman, who was at Woodbine two weeks earlier when Hooh Why finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Belle Mahone.

“I stayed there for five days and left her there with Donnie MacRae. I wanted to get her off the Polytrack for training every day. She loves training on the dirt there.”

While Hoffman has no immediate plans for Hooh Why, he did say that the filly will stay here for the time being with MacRae, who was the trainer of record for her Seaway score.

In the meantime, Hoffman will be toying with the idea of trying Hooh Why in the $1 millions Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, which will be run over seven furlongs at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

“I’d like to take a shot at the Breeders’ Cup,” Hoffman said.

Hooh Why is not Breeders’ Cup eligible and would have to be supplemented at a cost of $90,000, which is exactly the amount she collected for her Seaway success.

“I told her ‘If you win this, girl, you pay your ticket into the Breeders’ Cup,’ ” Hoffman said.

Glitter Rox rebounds in Avowal

Glitter Rox, who seemed to have lost a step this season after winning stakes in her last two campaigns, rebounded in a big way to capture Sunday’s $116,000 Avowal.

Regular rider Gerry Olguin was in the irons as Glitter Rox scored by three-quarters of a length over seven furlongs of turf in the overnight stakes for fillies and mares.

“She ran an improved race,” trainer Ian Black said.

“Gerry said she really liked the going. She was always comfortable, in a nice tracking position. And she ran all the way home this time.”

Glitter Rox, a 6-year-old, races for her breeders, Joe and Ellen MacLellan, and partners.

Her Avowal victory, which was worth $72,000, including a $12,000 Ontario-foaled bonus, brought her career earnings to $620,643 based on a record of 7-7-2 from 30 starts.

Black said that the $100,000 Belle Geste, another seven-furlong overnight turf stakes for fillies and mares here Oct. 2, is the next target for Glitter Rox

Turf writer Summers dies at 66

Bob Summers, a veteran sports reporter and columnist for the The Buffalo New whose duties including covering Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in upper New York state, died Saturday at age 66.

Summers had been visiting the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, N.Y., when he suffered an apparent heart attack and was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital.

Summers also had reported on racing at Fort Erie and major races at Woodbine in addition to regular gigs for his newspaper at the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup. His most recent racing assignment here had been the Breeders’ Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, on Aug. 15.

The title of his Buffalo News column, “The Happy Handicapper”, was an apt description of his personality and his years at the racetracks.

Summers is survived by his wife, Sheila, and daughter, Samantha.

Visitation hours will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Perna, Dengler, and Roberts Funeral Home, 3000 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, N.Y.

A funeral mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday at St. Margaret’s Church, 1395 Hertel Ave., Buffalo.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Thoroughbred Retirement Fund at www.trfinc.org.