06/16/2010 11:00PM

Distance key in Zadracarta


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Zadracarta, an overnight turf stakes for fillies and mares, will be run at the new distance of seven furlongs here Saturday.

And that change, from the Zadracarta's previous six-furlong distance, could have a major impact on some of the leading contenders for the $100,000 race.

Malcolm Pierce, who trains Mullins Beach, is concerned about his 4-year-old filly going seven furlongs in her first start since Oct. 16.

Ian Black trains Glitter Rox and prefers the seven furlongs for his charge, since she has a couple of starts under her belt at the meeting and ran a mile last time out.

Mullins Beach was a two-time winner at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf last year, with one of those successes coming in the Ontario Damsel. She also finished a close second over seven furlongs on grass in the Belle Geste.

"I haven't had anywhere to run her yet this year," said Pierce, who conditions the homebred Mullins Beach for Melnyk Racing Stables.

"I'm going to have to hope I have her fit enough. She's been training well. She's healthy and good."

Glitter Rox finished fourth in the six-furlong Whimsical on the main track here April 18 and sixth in one-mile turf prep for Nassau Stakes four weeks later.

"She got into trouble last time," Black said.

"She's 6 years old. I don't know exactly where we sit. She trains more relaxed; I don't know whether that's good or bad."

Glitter Rox had won the Grade 3 Royal North over six furlongs of turf in her seasonal bow last year.

Mullins Beach will be the 124-pound highweight under regular rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva.

Glitter Rox is one of four Zadracarta contestants who are second in the weights at 121 pounds. She will have her usual partner, Gerry Olguin, aboard.

There are other interesting possibilities in the Zadracarta, which attracted a field of 10.

Moonlit Beauty, coming off back-to-back wins under allowance terms, including a front-running turf score over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf for trainer John LeBlanc Jr., may be ready for this step up under Chantal Sutherland.

Impossible Time, another up-and-coming sort, is making her turf debut after winning the restricted six-furlong Ballade for trainer Roger Attfield.

Anne's Purse and Hello Maggie May both have been successful in turf stakes sprints but will be making their seasonal debuts.

Academicienne, slated to ship in from Saratoga for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, has not seen action since finishing in a dead heat for fifth when making her North American debut in last year's Woodbine Oaks.

Step On Up back in winner's circle

Step On Up was a timely winner here Wednesday evening for trainer Martin Drexler.

Not only was Step On Up the first winner of the meeting for Drexler, but the win came just a couple of days after the trainer learned that the gelding has been named claimer of the year by the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club.

Step On Up is owned by Drexler's father, Dr. Jerry Drexler, who campaigns under the nom du course Equinox Stable and will fly in from Winnipeg for the TTRC awards day here a week from Sunday.

"It's great," the training Drexler said. "It's nice for the horse to get the recognition."

Drexler, 39, began his career at Assiniboia Downs and made it to the top of the standings there before making the full-time move to Ontario last spring.

"I just want go get a little bit more established," Drexler said. "It's tough."

Step On Up has helped give Drexler a leg up in that regard as the 6-year-old won 5 of 10 races and $147,628 last year.

Bred in Ontario by Kingfield Farm, Step On Up had been purchased privately by the Drexlers in June 2008.

"He had some issues," Drexler said. "He was turned out on a farm north of Winnipeg; he never did anything for nine months. Then I brought him straight into Woodbine, in March of 2009."

Step On Up was making his first start since November 2007 when he went postward in a $16,000 maiden race here on May 27, 2009, and was a convincing winner.

"It had been kind of questionable about him even making it back to the races," Drexler said.

"Once I saw how he broke his maiden, I didn't know how high up he could go. I knew he was solid, but he's always had soundness issues."

Step On Up went on to win for claiming prices of $20,000 and $25,000 and in first-level allowance company before being turned out in Ontario for the winter.

"He had three months off, completely," Drexler said. "That's why I'm only ready now."

Step On Up began his campaign with a respectable fourth-place finish for $40,000 and then finished fourth as the 128-pound highweight in a starter allowance, with both races at six furlongs.

On Wednesday, he was racing with a $37,500 claiming tag and scored by 2 1/2 lengths under Da Silva.

"I'll be looking at running him between $32,000 and $50,000 for now, and we'll see where we end up," said Drexler.

Essence Hit Man gets back to work

Essence Hit Man, winner of the six-furlong Woodstock and seven-furlong Queenston here this spring, breezed six furlongs in 1:14 on the main track Thursday under regular rider Chantal Sutherland.

The workout was the first for Essence Hit Man since his third-place finish in his first try around two turns in the 1 1/16-mile Marine here May 29.

Audre Cappuccitti, who trains Essence Hit Man and is his owner/breeder in partnership with her husband, Gord, has no final answer concerning the colt's Queen's Plate status.

"It's a big debate in my household," Cappuccitti said. "I'm strongly leaning toward the Achievement."

The $150,000 Achievement, a six-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds, will be run here July 1.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, goes July 4, and Essence Hit Man would have to be supplemented on entry day at a cost of $25,000.

* Pam Frostad has been reappointed to the board of the Ontario Racing Commission for a three-year term, effective June 11.

Frostad, the wife of trainer Mark Frostad, was first named to the board in 2008.