06/14/2006 11:00PM

Essential Edge gains momentum


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Essential Edge couldn't get ready in time for last Sunday's Woodbine Oaks, but judging by her performance here in Wednesday night's first race, Essential Edge should be set to take on the best in her division in the $250,000 Bison City at Fort Erie on July 2.

The Bison City, run at 1 1/16 miles, follows the Woodbine Oaks as the second leg of the Canadian filly triple crown series. The final leg, the $250,000 Wonder Where, will be run over 1 1/4 miles on turf here July 29.

While her win came in a "B" maiden special at 1 1/16 miles, it came by 10 1/2 lengths under jockey Robert Landry, and her 88 Beyer Speed Figure equaled the figure earned by Kimchi in the Woodbine Oaks.

A 3-year-old daughter of Storm Cat, Essential Edge made her first start in eight months Wednesday after racing just twice in sprints as a 2-year-old.

"At the end of last year, she had issues with her ankles," said trainer Eric Coatrieux. "We had to do surgery on her last October, and we lost a bit of time. We had hoped to make the Oaks, but she's been slow to learn the game a little bit. She's improving now."

Pipers Thunder set to prep for Plate

Coatrieux also has a legitimate candidate for the Queen's Plate in Pipers Thunder, who won the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here June 4 in just his third start.

Pipers Thunder is scheduled to work this weekend at his home base of Chiefswood Farm, but will have to be on the grounds here by 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, in accordance with Woodbine's new big-race surveillance policy.

Ray Sabourin, who is 2 for 2 aboard Pipers Thunder here this spring, has the call for the Queen's Plate.

Wanna Runner arrives from Belmont

Wanna Runner, the Queen's Plate favorite, checked into Woodbine at approximately 4 a.m. on Thursday after vanning up from Belmont Park.

Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Mike Pegram, Wanna Runner will be seeking his third consecutive stakes victory in the Queen's Plate. He is coming off victories in the 1 1/8-mile WinStar Derby and the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Lone Star Derby.

Groom Robert Luna, who accompanied Wanna Runner for those races, will be overseeing Wanna Runner's final Queen's Plate preparations at Woodbine.

Flaming Heart to Hill 'n' Dale in peak form

Flaming Heart, who will make her local debut in Saturday's $100,000 Hill 'n' Dale Stakes, figures to add some spice to the local filly and mare ranks this season.

A Kentucky-bred 5-year-old owned by Stronach Stable and now trained by Brian Lynch, Flaming Heart won her career debut at Aqueduct in April 2005. In 10 subsequent starts, all in New York for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Flaming Heart has recorded 3 wins and 6 seconds.

Flaming Heart comes into the Hill 'n' Dale in the finest form of her career, having finished second to Fleet Indian in Aqueduct's Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Next Move Handicap in her last start, March 26.

"Kiaran said we should have quite a bit of fun with her up here," said Lynch. "I hope he's right. She seems to be getting better the more she runs. She's trained great since I got her."

Chace City supplemented to Victoria

Chace City has been entered in Saturday's $125,000 Victoria at five furlongs, becoming the first out-of-towner to take advantage of Woodbine's new policy of allowing supplementary entries for the majority of its stakes. Chace City was supplemented to the Victoria at a cost of $2,500, which includes the $1,250 entry fee.

A Kentucky-bred 2-year-old, Chace City won his only start, May 6, in a five-furlong maiden special at Churchill Downs. He is trained by Steve Asmussen and will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan.

Pete's Wonder, based here with trainer Laurie Silvera, also was supplemented to the Victoria. Emile Ramsammy retains the mount on Pete's Wonder, who won a two-furlong maiden special in his only start on April 16. The Victoria drew a field of seven.

Sunday's supporting feature, the $75,000 Zadracarta, drew a field of 10. The Zadracarta is a six-furlong overnight turf stakes for Ontario-foaled fillies and mares.

Tothemoonandback a hit in turf debut

Tothemoonandback ($4.60) garnered his first stakes victory in his turf debut here Wednesday night in the $125,000 Bold Ruckus, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Off as the favorite, Tothemoonandback raced four wide throughout the Bold Ruckus. Jim McAleney rated him just off the leaders heading into the turn, and they took dead aim at front-running Initforthemoney early in the stretch. Initforthemoney set moderate fractions of 22.78 seconds and 45.72. Tothemoonandback made the lead inside the eighth pole and scored by a length over Initforthemoney.

Bold Comment finished third and was followed by No Dilettante and Bad Hat, the 9-5 second choice in the five-horse field. The final time was 1:09.28.

"This horse is such a professional," said McAleney. "I was confident that he would rate, and that I would be able to put him anywhere I wanted to. He did so as I asked."

Reade Baker trains Tothemoonandback, who earned $75,000 for the partnership of Reade Baker Racing Stable Inc., Mobile Stable, Jim Aston, and Robert Smithen.

Toothemoonandback earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 88 in the Bold Ruckus, which was just his fourth start. The stakes win was the sixth of the season for Baker and the third for McAleney, all aboard Baker runners.

* Jockey agent Alan Raymond has taken over the book of apprentice Michelle Rainford. Raymond also represents journeymen Martin Ramirez and Jim McKnight.