11/11/2010 1:51PM

Chance to run on Polytrack brings Smart Bid north for Autumn Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Smart Bid (inside), second to Papa Clem in the San Fernando in January, ships from his Fair Hill, Md., base for Saturday's Autumn Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Graham Motion has nominated plenty of horses to stakes races here at Woodbine Racetrack this year but has had only one entrant, as Gypsy’s Warning finished fifth in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly on July 18.

On Saturday, Motion hopes to be on hand when Smart Bid becomes his second starter of the meeting in the $150,000 Autumn for 3-year-olds and upward.

“I like coming up there,” said Motion, who conditions the homebred Smart Bid for the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge Jr. “But there seem to have been more options for our horses on Polytrack; maybe that’s the reason we haven’t been up as much.”

Smart Bid, a Pennsylvania-bred 4-year-old, has done some of his best running on synthetic surfaces.

After becoming a stakes winner in Santa Anita’s seven-furlong Damascus last November, Smart Bid returned two starts later to finish a close second there in the Grade 2 San Fernando over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 16.

That appearance, however, would be the last for Smart Bid until he resurfaced with a third-place finish in a third-level allowance going 6 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland on Oct. 17.

“He had minor surgery on his knee, but he seems to have come back fine,” said Motion. “He ran well his first race back; the distance was too short for him.”

The Autumn’s 1 1/16-mile distance and the synthetic surface here were the factors which prompted Motion to ship up Smart Bid from his Fair Hill base in Maryland.

“It’s one of the few opportunities to get him on Polytrack for quite some time, now that there’ll be dirt at Santa Anita”, said Motion. “I wanted to give him a try around two turns, and help me plan for his next year.”

Two top sprinters will skip Kennedy Road

Next Sunday’s six-furlong Kennedy Road had the early makings of a showdown between top local older sprinters Hollywood Hit and Smokey Fire.

But that scenario will not come to pass as neither Hollywood Hit, trained by Terry Jordan, nor Smokey Fire, conditioned by Sid Attard, will be in the lineup for the Grade 3, $150,000 feature.

Hollywood Hit, an Oklahoma-bred 4-year-old gelding owned by Peter Redekop, had ended a close second when making his last start in the Grade 3 Phoenix over six furlongs at Keeneland on Oct. 8.

“He had a little setback,” said Jordan. “He won’t be able to run [in the Kennedy Road].”

Smokey Fire, a homebred 5-year-old gelding who races for Mel Lawson, left for the farm in Kentucky on Wednesday morning after finishing fifth in the six-furlong Kennedy Road prep on Oct. 31.

“He grabbed a quarter real bad,” said Attard, who had sent out Smokey Fire to record his first stakes win in the Kennedy Road here last year. “He’ll be okay; he’ll be back next year.”

Attard still plans to be represented in the Kennedy Road with Signature Red, a 4-year-old colt owned by Howard Walton, being on target following a second-place finish in the prep.

Field Commission, winner of the prep, also is set to return in the Kennedy Road after finishing second in the race last year, beaten three-quarters of a length by Smokey Fire with Signature Red another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Two ship to Churchill for Commonwealth

Stormy Lord and Don Cavallo, both based here at Woodbine, have been entered in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs.

The Commonwealth Turf, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, attracted a field of 12.

Stormy Lord, trained by Ian Black, will have a new rider in Jesus Castanon. His regular rider, Jim McAleney, is injured and out for the season.

Luis Contreras, who has ridden Don Cavallo to three wins in as many starts here at Woodbine, retains the mount for trainer Roger Attfield in the Commonwealth Turf.

Change of tactics pays off for Isabella Bay

Isabella Bay, who ended ninth after setting the pace in the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth Stakes here Oct. 30 rebounded in style to capture the South Ocean over the same distance on Wednesday evening.

Trained by Ian Howard, Isabella Bay was facing fellow Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies in the $126,200 South Ocean after competing in Canadian-bred company for the $252,000 Princess Elizabeth.

“Normally, you wouldn’t run back so close,” said Howard. “But she came out of her last race well, and we figured we might as well try it.”

Chantal Sutherland, who has ridden Isabella Bay in each of her seven starts, was back in the irons but with a new game plan for the South Ocean.

“She’d been showing speed, and you hate to discourage that, but we decided to take her back and see what happened,” said Howard. “We thought that there was enough speed that there was no way you were going to win it on the lead.”

Isabella Bay wasn’t off to the smoothest of starts, which worked out to her advantage as she rallied from seventh in the early going to get up for a half-length score at almost 11-1.

“Chantal gave her a great ride,” said Howard, who will consider bringing back Isabella Bay for the $150,000 Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16 mile race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies here Dec. 4.

‘We’ll train her for a couple of weeks, and if she’s doing really well we’ll entertain the notion,” said Howard.

Resentless put on shelf until next year

Resentless, a half-sister to Isabella Bay who won the Ontario Lassie for Howard after running second in the Princess Elizabeth last year, began her 3-year-old campaign with an impressive victory in the seven-furlong Fury and seemed on target for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks.

But Resentless fell ill with a virus, missing valuable training time heading into the Woodbine Oaks, and emerged from her seventh-place finish in that 1 1/8-mile race in less than ideal condition.

And while Howard attempted to bring back Resentless with an eye toward next Wednesday’s $150,000 Jammed Lovely, the filly was sent home several weeks ago.

“She’d come back and trained very well, but then she started to go off a little bit,” said Howard. “She never had anything major but we decided to pack it in, give her four months off, and bring her back next year.”