11/16/2010 2:13PM

Charalambous eyes another big win in Kennedy Road


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The 2010 meeting at Woodbine Racetrack already has been a memorable one for trainer Liz Charalambous, who celebrated her first stakes win when Secret Wish upset the $127,000 Algoma on Sept. 6.

But Charalambous is not through yet and will be looking to add another chapter to her history book when she sends out General Brock to do battle in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Kennedy Road at six furlongs.

General Brock, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old gelding, will be making his stakes debut in the Kennedy Road.

“I think he’s got a good shot,” Charalambous said. “I wouldn’t be running him there, unless I did.”

Charalambous, 45, came to the racetrack following a lengthy career in show jumping and has been married to fellow trainer John Charalambous for 13 years.

Since taking out her trainer’s license in 2003, Charalambous has operated a modest stable with her best previous year yielding 5 wins from 27 starters and earnings of $270,995 in 2009.

Heading into Wednesday night’s program, Charalambous had recorded 6 wins from 47 starts for earnings of $316,463 from her seven-horse stable.

“I have much better quality horses, which makes my job easy,” Charalambous said. “Even better, my main owner is my cousin. It keeps it all in the family.”

That cousin is Rob Cudney, who owns Secret Wish and is both the owner and breeder of General Brock.

“I got him when he was turning 2,” Charalambous said of General Brock. “He was a bit of a late developer, mentally and physically. He was a big, big horse. I took my time with him.”

Charalambous started General Brock once as a 2-year-old, and the gelding finished fifth in what was designed strictly as a learning experience.

General Brock returned to just miss in his opener the following spring and broke through for his maiden score in July. But he was particularly effective in the closing months of the season, finishing a close second on two occasions and winning his seasonal finale while competing in some rapidly run first-level allowance races.

“I liked him all along,” Charalamous said. “But in the summer months he has a bit of a hard time, because of the heat and the humidity.

“He peaks in September-October-November. That’s his favorite time, and that’s when I can get the most out of him.”

General Brock has been true to that form this season, with his best two races being a convincing win under second-level allowance terms over six furlongs here Sept. 16 and a third-place finish in the Kennedy Road prep at the same distance.

While General Brock was beaten 3 3/4 lengths in the prep, Charalambous believes her charge can build on that effort.

“He was a little bit closer to the pace than I liked,” Charalambous said. “The time before that, when he won going away, I was very impressed with him.”

Tyler Pizarro is slated to ride General Brock for the first time in the Kennedy Road.

Southdale retired following Autumn

Southdale, a disappointing sixth here in last Sunday’s Grade 3 Autumn, emerged from the race with issues that have led to his retirement.

A homebred 4-year-old colt owned by Rod Ferguson and trained by Ian Black, Southdale won the Grade 3 Eclipse and Grade 3 Durham Cup this year while earning $325,760 from a seven-start campaign.

Last year, Southdale had been a leading candidate for the Queen’s Plate after finishing a close second in the Plate Trial but was injured during the running and did not return to the races for more than 11 months.

“We’d like to stand him in Ontario, but we’ll have to find someplace for him,” Black said. “He’s a good-looking individual, he’s well bred, and he has high-class speed.”

While Southdale heads to the breeding shed with a career bankroll of $401,560, his 6-year-old stablemate Rahy’s Attorney is still going strong.

A homebred Ontario-sired gelding who races for Elle-Boje Farm and partners, Rahy’s Attorney won the restricted Bunty Lawless Stakes for the second straight year here Oct. 23 and is slated to make his next start at Calder.

His target there is the Grade 3, $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up Dec. 4.

Golden Moka ships for Discovery

Golden Moka, winner of Fort Erie’s Prince of Wales and then fifth in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, vanned out from Woodbine on Tuesday afternoon for Aqueduct’s Discovery.

Erin Cotterill, an assistant to trainer Brian Lynch, will be flying down to greet Golden Moka, and Lynch is scheduled to be on hand for the race.

Eddie Razo will ride Golden Moka for the first time in the Discovery, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $100,000.

Roan Inish will miss Gazelle

Trainer Carolyn Costigan had been considering Roan Inish for Aqueduct’s Grade 1, $250,0000 Gazelle, a 1 1 /8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies on Nov. 27.

Winner of the Woodbine Oaks and a good third in the July 4 Queen’s Plate, Roan Inish then was sidelined with what turned out to be a minor problem but had worked solidly in recent weeks.

“She came back really well, but it was too much of a rush to get her to the Gazelle,” said Costigan, who trains the homebred Roan Inish for her father, Bob Costigan. “I’ll put her away for the year and take her down with me to Palm Meadows.”

Mt. Sassafras euthanized

Mt. Sassafras, a popular local performer who was Canada’s horse of the year and champion older horse in 1996, had to be put down recently after suffering a severe attack of colic.

Bred by the late Aubrey Minshall and racing for Minshall Farm, Mt. Sassafras was retired in 2000 and had spent the past 10 years as a companion horse on the farm of Nancy Sullivan, who is an assistant to trainer Roger Attfield.

“He had a lot of people here at the racetrack always asking about him,” Sullivan said. “It’s sad to see him go.”

Mt. Sassafras compiled a record of 8 wins, 17 seconds, and 14 thirds, while earning $1,382,985 in a 47-start career.

Although Mt. Sassafras, trained by Barbara Minshall, scored in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap and won the Grade 3 Eclipse and two editions of the Grade 3 Dominion Day at Woodbine, the gelding probably is best remembered for his performance here in the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Sent off at 101-1, Mt. Sassafras held the lead turning for home under jockey Mickey Walls but could not contain Alphabet Soup, Louis Quatorze, and Cigar and was beaten three-quarters of a length as the fourth-place finisher.