11/23/2010 3:07PM

Distance the question for Magical Merry


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Michael Pino, the leading trainer by win percentage at this year’s Woodbine meet, possesses superb numbers in numerous statistical categories, but first-time route (13 percent) isn’t one of them.

The Pino-trained Magical Merry will negotiate 1 1/16 miles for the first time as one of the favorites in Thursday’s seventh race, and it will be interesting to see how far she’ll go in the first-level allowance for 2-year-old fillies.

Magical Merry came from just off the pace to graduate with ease at first asking in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special Oct. 3, for which she earned a 61 Beyer Speed Figure. Three weeks later, in the six-furlong Fanfreluche Stakes for Ontario-breds, she finished fourth with the aid of an outside bias.

Magical Merry is bred to run long on the grass on both sides of her pedigree, so she might ultimately find her niche on that surface. She is adding blinkers and second-leading rider Patrick Husbands, who will break her from post 1 in a seven-horse field.

Silent Moon was a $370,000 2-year-old purchase by owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse, the same duo who sent out Delightful Mary to finish third in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill.

After ending up fourth in her debut in September, Silent Moon used her long stride to wire the field in a six-furlong maiden special Nov. 6, receiving a 61 Beyer. Her stakes-placed dam, who is a daughter of Quiet American, won going short and long, and she might welcome the stretchout in distance.

Luis Contreras, who retains the mount on Silent Moon, has won eight races from 28 mounts at the meet for Casse.

Casse also entered Queen of Bandini, who rallied to capture her only outing, in a six-furlong sprint for $40,000 maidens. The daughter of Grade 1 Blue Grass winner Bandini is bred for speed on the dam’s side.

Karlie’s Holiday dead-heated for third in her six-furlong opener Sept. 10. A month later, she defeated maiden special foes over a mile and 70 yards after a troubled trip along the inside, from which Grand Style exited to take the Princess Elizabeth Stakes. Trained by Danny Vella, she appears to have lots of upside. Ice Crystal and Howwondofulitis are both coming off a maiden-claiming victory around two turns. The Maryland-based Dilly’s Dancer won a seven-furlong maiden special here Oct. 24.