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Updated on 09/23/2011 3:17PM
Flaming Page pits Happy Clapper against three from Attfield barn
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Happy Clapper, a long-winded 4-year-old filly trained by Michael Doyle, could notch her first stakes victory here Sunday in the $100,000 Flaming Page, a 1 1/2-mile overnight turf stakes for fillies and mares.
But to do so Happy Clapper will have to get past a triple threat from the barn of trainer Roger Attfield, who has Honimiere, Oregon Lady, and Thislilsoulofmine in the five-horse field.
“She’s doing really good,” said Doyle, who trains Happy Clapper for Jack Lally. “I’ve been looking at this race all year, hoping she’d be good to run in it when it came around.”
Happy Clapper was the runner-up in the 2010 Flaming Page as she rallied to finish three-quarters of a length behind the Attfield-trained Mekong Melody, who also had captured the 2009 running.
In her only other stakes attempt last year Happy Clapper had been beaten a neck as the runner-up in the Wonder Where at 1 1/4 miles on the turf.
“I think she’s stronger now than she was last year,” said Doyle, who watched Happy Clapper knock out her second allowance condition in her last start over 1 1/4 miles on turf here Aug. 28 under her regular rider, Slade Callaghan.
Attfield, who also won the second edition of the Flaming Page with Noble Stella in 2005, could have his best shot this year with Honimiere, an Irish-bred 5-year-old who had raced in England before joining his stable at Keeneland this spring.
Honimiere finished third in the Grade 3 Bewitch at 1 1/2 miles on the turf in her North American bow there June 18 but has raced just twice in the interim.
On June 18, Honimiere cut back to 1 1/16 miles on the turf and finished third here in the prep for the Dance Smartly Stakes.
Most recently, Honimiere ended fifth of 12 in the Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Delaware Park on July 9.
“There haven’t really been the right spots to run her,” said Attfield. “This should be right up her alley.”
Eurico Rosa da Silva will ride Honimiere for the first time.
Oregon Lady also will be making her first start since July 9, when she finished eighth in the Grade 3 Modesty over 1 3/16 miles of turf at Arlington Park.
“She looked like she could win that race, but then she ducked away from horses,” said Attfield.
“Looking at her eyes, we found a floating cyst and had it lasered off. She went down to Cincinnati to have it done, and came back the next day.”
Oregon Lady had finished fourth making her stakes debut here in the Grade 2 Nassau over one mile on turf, and the Modesty was her longest test to date.
“I don’t really know about the mile and a half,” said Attfield. “I think it would be okay.”
Oregon Lady also will have a new rider with Luis Contreras getting the call.
Thislilsoulofmine, the other member of the Attfield troika, won her maiden over 1 1/4 miles on the turf in her fourth career start here July 6.
In a subsequent outing, on Aug. 20, Thislilsoulofmine ended a close third against males in a first-level allowance race over the same distance and surface.
Patrick Husbands retains the mount on the homebred 4-year-old, who races for Chuck Fipke.
Rounding out the Flaming Page field will be S S Seraphim, a 7-year-old who will be making her first start in more than 11 months for new trainer Hank Gensler and was supplemented to the race at a cost of $2,000.
Smart Sting off the turf
Attfield also will be represented in Sunday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Selene with Smart Sting going in the field of six for that 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Smart Sting, a Kentucky-bred who races for her owner, Stronach Stable, will be trying a surface other than turf for the first time in her seventh career start.
“She’s working exceptionally well on Polytrack,” said Attfield. “She’s working like she’s trying to tell me she’d like to run on it.
“She works better on it than she does on turf, and she works well on turf.”
Attfield initially had been planning to send Smart Sting to Arlington for last Saturday’s Grade 3 Pucker Up, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.
“I decided to stay here, run in the Selene, then go to Keeneland for the Valley View,” said Attfield.
The Oct. 21 Valley View, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.
Attfield also has designs on Keeneland’s Oct. 8 Shadwell Turf Mile, with Society’s Chairman slated to make his third straight appearance in that Grade 1, $600,000 stakes.
Society’s Chairman, who breezed five furlongs on the main track here Friday under exercise rider Darren Fortune, finished second to Gio Ponti in last year’s Shadwell Turf Mile after running last of 12 in the 2008 edition.
Tu Endie Wei looking solid
Tu Endie Wei continued her preparations for Keeneland’s Oct 7 Alcibiades with a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.40 under regular rider Jim McAleney on the dirt training track here Wednesday.
“Everything’s perfect,” said Reade Baker, who trains the Kentucky-bred Tu Endie Wei for her owner and breeder, Brereton C. Jones.
Tu Endie Wei is perfect in two starts, having captured the five-furlong My Dear on June 25 and the 6 1/2-furlong Ontario Debutante on Aug. 13.
The Alcibiades, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies, offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $400,000.
Niigon’s Touch has surgery
Niigon’s Touch, who was pointing for the Oct. 5 Classy’n Smart Stakes, came out of a breeze here Wednesday with an injury thatrequired surgery later that day at the nearby Milton Equine Hospital.
“She had a little fracture in her hind leg,” said Robert Landry, racing manager for Chiefswood Stable, the owner and breeder of Niigon’s Touch.
“The surgery went well. She’s going to need time, starting with four months’ rest. But, she we hope she’ll be back next year.”
Niigon’s Touch, who is trained by Paul Attard, had finished second in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies and then became a stakes winner at the same distance in the Eternal Search for Ontario-sired fillies of the same age.
A first for young Husbands
Apprentice jockey Neil Husbands won his first race at Woodbine, and the fifth of his career, when he guided Octavo to a 20-1 score for owner/trainer Chris Steve in the seventh race here Thursday.
The 25-year-old Husbands, a nephew of prominent local rider Patrick Husbands, had moved his tack here from the Barbados in the spring of 2010 and won four races last year at Fort Erie.
Represented by agent Al Duffy, Husbands will continue riding here with his reduced five-pound apprentice allowance.