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Credit Crunch ships up for stakes
ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Ontario Debutante and the Belle Mahone will form a stakes doubleheader here Saturday, and both events drew interesting lineups.
Franny Freud, who won her maiden at Belmont by seven lengths and then shipped here to finish second in the June 28 My Dear, and locally based Maritime Passion, 2 for 2 including a win in the July 12 Shady Well, figure to attract most of the play in the $150,000 Ontario Debutante.
Credit Crunch, another invader from south of the border, will be coming in well under the radar for the six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.
Based at Keeneland, Credit Crunch finished second in a maiden race there and in another at Arlington Park before graduating at the Illinois oval last time out. All of her starts have come at 4 1/2 furlongs.
"I think this race will fit well into our program for this filly," said trainer Bobby Persad, whose family owns Credit Crunch under the nom du course Vikata Vista Farm and who works with the filly's regular trainer, Larry Demeritte. "She's run well on Polytrack, and there were races for her at Arlington and Woodbine. We wanted to give the Woodbine track an opportunity. If this works well, we hope to be seen more there with a few more horses."
Emile Ramsammy has picked up the mount on Credit Crunch.
Smart Surprise and Ginger Brew are looming as the horses to beat in the $100,000 Belle Mahone, an open 1 1/8-mile overnight stakes for fillies and mares.
One who will be looking to silence the big guns is Simply Splendid, who is riding the crest of three straight wins for trainer Gail Casselman.
In her last start, on July 1, Simply Splendid became a stakes winner here in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too.
"I've wanted to stretch her out," said Casselman, who also co-owns the filly in partnership with John Menary. "She's been settling so well. This is perfect timing. We don't have a choice."
Casselman had entered Simply Splendid for the 6 1/2-furlong prep for the Seaway, but that race failed to fill when offered Thursday and carried over to Friday.
Tyler Pizarro, who rode Simply Splendid to her first two wins this year, regains the mount.
Spice Route, Passager sent to farm
Two key members of trainer Roger Attfield's older male turf division are on the sidelines.
Spice Route, who finished fifth over the soft going in the 1 1/4-mile Nijinsky here July 26, and Passager, who ended last of seven over yielding grass in one-mile Firecracker at Churchill Downs on July 4, emerged from their respective efforts the worse for wear.
Both horses have left the racetrack and are currently at nearby Adena Springs North.
Spice Route, a 5-year-old gelding whom Attfield owns in partnership with Dick Bonnycastle and Ralph Johnson, had been making his first appearance of the meeting after racing in graded stakes at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, and Monmouth.
"I made a mistake running him on that soft turf," Attfield said. "It pulled him around a little bit.
"He's really body sore. He'll take it easy for a little bit, and we'll see what happens."
Attfield used similar terms to explain the condition and immediate future of Passager, a 6-year-old gelding.
"I'm sitting in a holding pattern with some good horses," he said.
Attfield tries again at Saratoga
Meanwhile, Attfield will be back at Saratoga this Friday.
And this time, he hopes to start a horse.
Attfield had driven down for the July 31 Lake George, in which he intended to send out the Woodbine-based Lady Shakespeare and Miss Keller, who had shipped from Ireland and was a new member of his outfit.
But when a downpour washed the Lake George off the turf onto a sloppy main track, both 3-year-old fillies were scratched and headed to Woodbine.
On Friday, Attfield plans to saddle Midnight Mischief for the Grade 2, $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes, a $150,000 race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
On Saturday, Attfield will send out Musketier for the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer, a 1 3/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.
Midnight Mischief, coming off impressive back-to-back wins in a maiden race and a first-level allowance, will be making his stakes and turf debut in the Hall of Fame and will have a new rider in Edgar Prado.
Jono Jones retains the mount on Musketier, who won the Singspiel at 1 1/2 miles on turf here June 21 and then finished second to the redoubtable Gio Ponti in Belmont's Grade 1 Man o' War at 1 3/8 miles on the grass.
Lady Shakespeare recorded her third straight win here last Friday, capturing the one-mile turf prep for the Ontario Colleen, which will be run over the same distance and surface Aug. 30.
While Lady Shakespeare will stay put for the $150,000 Ontario Colleen, Miss Keller is scheduled to return to Saratoga for the Grade 2, $150,000 Lake Placid, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies on Aug. 21.
Miss Keller, who won 2 of her 7 starts in Ireland, had her first local breeze last Sunday, going six furlongs in 1:16.20 on the turf training course.
Stylish Citizen heading to Canadian Derby
Stylish Citizen, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old trained by John Ross, is scheduled to leave Monday for the Aug. 22 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park.
The Canadian Derby, at 1 3/8 miles, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $300,000.
Stylish Citizen, owned by Casanova Stud Enterprises, defeated fellow 3-year-olds when winning the off-the-turf Charlie Barley over a mile and 70 yards and doubled up when facing older rivals under second-level allowance terms at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Alezzandro, the runner-up in that race, came back to romp here last Sunday.
"He earned his wings to go out there," said Ross, who trains Stylish Citizen. "There's not too much for straight 3-year-olds here.
"At a mile and three-eighths, I figure the horse will have a big chance."
Jim McAleney, who has ridden Stylish Citizen to his last two scores, will journey to Edmonton for the Canadian Derby.
McAleney won the Canadian Derby in 2004 with Ontario shipper Organ Grinder.
Ross had one previous Canadian Derby experience, sending out Out From Africa to finish sixth in 2005.