11/19/2009 12:00AM

Drexler exceeds own expectations

Michael Burns
Jungle Wave has raced in four stakes since being claimed for $62,500 by trainer Sid Attard.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Martin Drexler, who had been one of the top trainers at Assiniboia Downs, elected to cast his lot at Woodbine this year.

And Drexler, who had tested the waters here the past few falls, certainly has had no regrets.

"It's been great - beyond anything I could have expected," said the 39-year-old Drexler, who has six stalls here. "I set kind of a lofty goal of 10 wins. I thought if I could scrape up 10 wins I would be ecstatic."

Drexler saddled his 11th winner of the meeting here Wednesday night when Step on Up, a 4-year-old gelding who races for the Equinox Stable of his father, Dr. Jerry Drexler, won the second race when sporting a $20,000 claiming price.

The victory was the fifth in 10 starts this season for Step on Up, who was purchased privately from Catherine Day Phillips here in the fall of 2007.

"He was bought for not very much money, and with some problems," said Drexler. "We kicked him out in a field in Manitoba and didn't do a thing with him until spring this year. He had 12 or 13 months of complete rest before he came in. Obviously, he's held up great."

Step on Up, who was doubling up after winning a first-level allowance here Oct. 31, also finished second twice and third once while banking $147,628.

Meanwhile, Drexler will be looking to add to his totals when Tycoon Doby starts on Sunday in a second-level allowance/$62,500 claimer at 1 1/8 miles.

Tycoon Doby, a 5-year-old horse who races for the Shyman Farm of Stuart Hyman, relocated here from California this summer.

"More than anything, they were hoping he'd like the wider turns on the turf here," said Drexler. "As it turns out, he likes the Polytrack better."

After finishing off the board in his first two starts here under second-level allowance terms, Tycoon Doby dropped to win a $40,000 claimer for nonwinners of three at 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 25.

"That was to get his confidence up," said Drexler.

In his next start, Tycoon Doby moved back to Sunday's level and missed by a head when second to stakes winner Royal Challenger here Nov. 7.

"I don't think he's a superstar, but he's pretty useful," Drexler said. "I think if this is his level he can stay at the $62,000 price tag and make his money there. They thought he was a stakes horse once, but he had a couple of setbacks."

Drexler plans to visit family in Winnipeg this winter and then holiday in Florida with his partner, Elissa Blowe, who is one of Woodbine's television commentators.

He then plans a solo trip to Gulfstream Park, where he may look to buy a couple of horses.

"I'd like to have 10 to 12 horses here next year and will utilize Fort Erie, where I maxed out at about 10 this year," said Drexler.

"I'd love to pick up claiming owners willing to play the game aggressively. I think that's where you can make some quick money - winning and then turning them over."

Attard has hand forced

Trainer Sid Attard has entered three horses in Saturday's $150,000 Kennedy Road, the six-furlong feature for 3-year-olds and upward that attracted a field of 10.

Attard, however, is not necessarily happy about his strength in numbers.

"I hate to run all three horses together, but I had another race for two of them that didn't go," said Attard, who will send out Jungle Wave, Signature Red, and Smokey Fire.

Jungle Wave, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old gelding who races for Carlos and Lou Tucci, was claimed for $62,500 from his seasonal bow here May 10 and has competed in stakes in four of his six subsequent starts. Jungle Wave finished a close third in his last start, the Grade 2 Nearctic over six furlongs of turf.

"He's been doing really good," said Attard.

Emile Ramsammy has picked up the mount on Jungle Wave, who drew post 1.

"I don't like it, but what are you going to do?" said Attard. "At least the Number 2 and 3 horses got no speed."

Signature Red is a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old colt who races for Howard Walton. Unraced at 2, Signature Red has won 3 of his 7 starts this year and cleared his second allowance condition last time out in a seven-furlong race here Sept. 27.

"This is probably a little too short for him," said Attard. "He'd like 6 1/2 furlongs, or seven furlongs. But he's a nice horse."

Ramsammy also is named on Signature Red, who will be making his stakes debut.

Smokey Fire, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old gelding who races for Mel Lawson, also will be making his stakes debut and the eighth start of his first campaign.

"As a 3-year-old he was as big as a house, and he had a chip in his knee," said Attard. "He was operated on in Kentucky, but then he got another chip in the same knee so we just left him alone."

Smokey Fire comes into the Kennedy Road after clearing his second allowance condition in his last start here Oct. 17. He breezed four furlongs in 46.80 here last Sunday.

"He's been training really good," said Attard. "He's in good shape."

Emma-Jayne Wilson will ride Smokey Fire for the first time.

Jambalaya will wait

Jambalaya, who had been under consideration for both this coming Friday's Citation at Hollywood Park and the following day's River City at Churchill Downs, will not be appearing in either spot.

"I'll keep him in light training here, take him to Ocala with me at the end of the meet, and look for a race for him in Florida," said Day Phillips, who trains Jambalaya and is his owner in partnership with her husband, Todd.

The prospect of soft turf prompted Day Phillips to pass on the 1 1/8-mile River City and the potential for very firm turf and a fast pace deterred her from the 1 1/16-mile Citation.

Jambalaya, a 7-year-old gelding, returned from an absence of more than two years to score in a classified allowance over one mile of firm turf here Sept. 18.

In his next start, Jambalaya was compromised by a very slow pace and a troubled trip when finishing a close fifth in the 1 3/8-mile Red Smith at Belmont.