11/08/2010 1:12PM

DePaulo singles out Zee Beauty for stakes assignment

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Mike DePaulo had two of the better nominees for Wednesday’s $125,000 South Ocean Stakes, Bubbles to the Top and Zee Beauty, but he is running only Zee Beauty in the 1 1/16-mile event for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

Zee Beauty rallied for fourth when she debuted Aug. 6, and then finished second six weeks later in a slow six-furlong event. Most recently Oct. 16, she showed more speed than usual in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special for Ontario-sired fillies, and won by four lengths in a time that earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 60.

“She’d had a little problem with a quarter crack, and I got to train her a little better for her last race,” DePaulo said. “She worked real well going into it, and ran tons better. She’s coming around.”

Bubbles to the Top is a maiden after five starts, but she has not been worse than fourth in four stakes outings. She wound up fourth after saving ground over an outside-biased track Oct. 30 in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes.

“I’m giving her a break,” said DePaulo. “We’ve been going pretty hard with her. I probably should have waited for [the South Ocean], but she figured in the Princess Elizabeth.”

Other contenders for the South Ocean include Sagatiba and Dreamy Moonlite.

Sagatiba graduated second time out in a mile and 70-yard maiden special for Ontario-sired fillies Oct. 20, winning by 7 1/4 lengths, with a Beyer Figure of 58.

Dreamy Moonlite ran big against tougher Ontario-breds last time in the six-furlong Fanfreluche Stakes, in which she came inside over an outside-favoring track to finish second. This will be her first attempt around two turns.

Butler thinking big with record-setter

The English filly Pachattack ran them off their feet in a track-record-breaking performance Saturday in the $186,000 Maple Leaf Stakes.

Pachattack led all the way in the 1 1/4-mile event, scoring by 5 3/4 lengths in a time of 2:02.18, which was 1.29 seconds faster than the previous record set last year by Helicopter. She registered a 99 Beyer.

Pachattack, who was exiting a belated fifth-place finish on the grass in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes, was sharper than usual Saturday with the addition of quarter-cup blinkers. She was winless in three Polytrack starts in England, but trainer Gerard Butler was adamant that she’s better on synthetics, even before the Maple Leaf.

“She had a very good run back in April, and she trains [on synthetics] on a regular basis, like she did here the last few weeks,” Butler explained.

Butler said Pachattack is through for the year, but she might return here next year with bigger fish to fry.

“After a performance like that, you might take on the boys in some of the bigger races,” Butler said. “She’s done that before.”

Butler plans on shipping Dansant here for the closing day feature, the $150,000 Valedictory Stakes at 1 3/4 miles Dec. 5.

“He was one of the main all-weather horses in Europe the last few years,” said Butler. “He’s dropped a peg or two now. He’s going to run in the Valedictory, and the plan is to give him to Roger Attfield after, and he’ll winter down at Payson Park. He’s been a very good servant for us. I think he’ll love this track. A mile and three-quarters is no problem for him.”

Strike Oil ‘exciting’

Strike Oil won his maiden race at 14-1 in Sunday’s $252,400 Coronation Futurity, despite running greenly on end in the nine-furlong test for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

Strike Oil trailed the 11-horse field midway on the far turn, before commencing a wide rally under Luis Contreras, and he prevailed by three-quarters of a length after lugging in late. He completed the distance in 1:52.10.

Strike Oil is owned by John Oxley and trained by Mark Casse, the same owner-trainer duo that sent out Delightful Mary to finish third in Saturday’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill.

“We’ve been very high on him,” said Norm Casse, who is Mark Casse’s son and assistant. “The expectations were there. He’s really well bred. He’s an exciting horse to have.”

Citius may stretch out

Trainer Ralph Biamonte said Citius, who was victorious in the Nov. 3 Frost King Stakes, could run back here Nov. 27 in the $125,000 Kingarvie, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

With Omar Moreno aboard, Citius rallied along the inside from last in the seven-furlong Frost King to win by a head over his more fancied stablemate, front-runner Altius. Citius returned $21.20 in his first victory, and earned a 71 Beyer for completing the distance in 1:23.37.

“If he keeps acting the way he is, then it’s worth a shot,” said Biamonte. “Omar said that he relaxes, and the Old Foresters should go long.”

Citius and Altius are both sons of leading Ontario freshman sire Old Forester. Both were bred by Biamonte, who said Altius is less likely for the Kingarvie.

Biamonte also won a 2-year-old allowance route last Friday with Report Card Time, who has been put away for the year.

“He’s still learning, and he has to grow into himself,” said Biamonte.