09/08/2009 11:00PM

Dazzling Countess seeks first win


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Dazzling Countess, a runner-up in each of her two starts, has been purchased by the Bear Stable of Danny Dion and is entered in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race Friday.

Dave Cotey, who owned Dazzling Countess in partnership with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith, will continue as the trainer of the Kentucky-bred filly who was purchased for $4,200 in the Fasig-Tipton October sale.

Dazzling Countess debuted over 5 1/2 furlongs with a $62,500 claiming tag here July 25 and was beaten a neck by Negligee.

Cotey was not particularly concerned about the prospect of losing Dazzling Countess for that price.

"I thought we'd get away with it," Cotey said. "We didn't pay too much for her, and in her works she was always under restraint. We just had to hook Negligee."

Negligee, who also was debuting there for trainer Mark Casse, returned Aug. 15 to finish a solid second behind New York shipper Franny Freud here in the six-furlong Ontario Debutante.

Dazzling Countess also had been nominated to the Ontario Debutante, but Cotey opted for a seven-furlong maiden race the previous day in which she finished second to the promising Bay to Bay.

"So far, from what I've seen, [Bay to Bay] is the nicest filly on the grounds," said Cotey, who also noted that the third-place finisher ended 8 1/2 lengths behind Dazzling Countess.

Following the Ontario Debutante, Negligee was purchased privately by Mike Gatsas's Sovereign Stable and is now trained by John Terranova, who conditions Franny Freud and had been taken with the runner-up's performance.

Cotey himself had fielded inquires regarding the availability of Dazzling Countess following her debut but said she was not for sale.

Following her second start, he put an undisclosed price on the filly and had more inquiries.

But it was not until last Saturday, when Dazzling Countess breezed five furlongs in a bullet 59.20 seconds under regular rider Chantal Sutherland, that a sale was consummated.

"I was talking to Danny, and he bought her on the spot," Cotey said. "She vetted out, and he was nice enough to allow me to keep her to train."

Dion buys seven yearlings at sale

Although Dion was attending to business in Alberta, he was a premier player at Tuesday night's selected yearling sale.

Dion purchased seven horses for a total of $535,000. Five will be trained by Reade Baker, who has most of the Bear Stable horses based here, with the other pair to be conditioned by Mike DePaulo.

Steve Asmussen was in town for the yearling sale and to check up on his division here, which is run by assistant trainer Hank Gensler.

Asmussen, through agents, purchased two Ontario-sired yearlings at the sale, including a $22,000 Tomahawk colt for owner Maggi Moss.

Last year, the first in which Asmussen had a full-time division at Woodbine, his barn finished with 40 wins, a total of 103 in-the-money finishes, and earnings of almost $2.27 million from 264 starts.

Through last Sunday's action, the Asmussen outfit had recorded 31 winners, 78 in-the-money finishes, and earnings of $1.25 million from 156 starters.

"Hit and miss, like it always seems on synthetics," was Asmussen's reaction to his results here. "Some run better than you think, some don't."

Attfield runners work on turf

Musketier, Miss Keller, and Spice Route were among 14 horses trained by Roger Attfield who worked on the training track turf course here Wednesday morning.

Musketier, under regular rider Jono Jones, breezed four furlongs in 50 seconds under regular rider Jono Jones in preparation for the Northern Dancer on Sept. 20.

The Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race, will be run on the same card as the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and Grade 2 Canadian.

Musketier, a 7-year-old horse who races for Johanna Glen-Teven, will be coming into the Northern Dancer off a faltering ninth-place finish in Saratoga's Grade 1 Sword Dancer over 1 1/2 miles on turf on Aug. 15.

Prior to that, Musketier had finished second in Belmont's Grade 1 Man o' War over 1 3/8 miles on grass after winning the Grade 3 Singspiel over 1 1/2 miles on turf here.

Miss Keller, a 3-year-old filly who finished fourth when making her first start for Attfield in the Grade 2 Lake Placid over 1 1/8 miles of turf on Aug. 21, breezed five furlongs in 59.80.

Eurico Rosa Da Silva was aboard Miss Keller, who went in company with Mekong Melody and is scheduled to make her next start in the $300,000 Canadian over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

Spice Route, a 5-year-old gelding who last saw action when fifth in the Grade 2 Nijinsky over 1 1/4 miles on soft going here July 26, breezed three furlongs in 40.80 under Jim McAleney.

Spice Route had come out of the Nijinsky with muscle problems and was sent to the farm before returning to the racetrack recently.

"It was just a gallop-along breeze," Attfield said. "He's still quite stiff in behind. I didn't think he was striding out like he should. Sometimes these pulled muscles take a little while."

Attfield did not nominate Spice Route to the Northern Dancer but hopes to be able to train him up to the Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International over 1 1/2 miles on grass here Oct. 17.

Crist hosting Saturday seminar

Steve Crist, Daily Racing Form's chairman and publisher, will be at Woodbine on Saturday morning for a one-hour seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand.

The focus will be on the DRF Press title "Bet with the Best 2: Longshots."

Free copies of the book will be available while supplies last.

On Sunday, Crist will be at the Greenwood teletheatre in downtown Toronto for another one-hour seminar beginning at 11:30 a.m.