07/11/2010 11:00PM

Free Fee Lady a pleasant surprise in Bison City


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Free Fee Lady wasn't given much of a chance in Sunday's $250,000 Bison City as she was sent away at 15-1 in a field of just four Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

But when the mist had cleared it was Free Fee Lady, making her stakes debut and first start around two turns for owner Dick Bonnycastle and trainer Reade Baker, who emerged a four-length winner with jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson in the irons for the first time.

"Her pedigree said she'd stretch out, but I didn't think she'd go that fast," said Baker, after Free Fee Lady negotiated the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.02 for a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

"I thought she was pretty impressive. I was really hoping for second - I thought the favorite would be able to just gallop along in front."

Embur's Song, 1-9 on the tote board, was coming off a third-place finish as the favorite in the Woodbine Oaks and looked like the lone speed of the Bison City.

But after being pressed by the maiden Oil Painting, who had finished a distant fourth in the Woodbine Oaks, Embur's Song had no answer when Free Fee Lady challenged in the stretch run.

The Bison City followed the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks as the second leg of Canada's triple tiara for 3-year-old fillies with the finale, the Wonder Where Stakes, going over 1 1/4 miles on turf here Aug. 1.

While Baker admits he has no idea what to expect from Free Fee Lady over that distance and surface, he is looking to come back in the Wonder Where.

"How can you leave that on the table?" said Baker, of the Wonder Where's $250,000 pot.

Baker also had entered Thorn Flower in the Bison City but elected to scratch.

"I didn't think she matched up," said Baker. "I thought I'd save her for the Wonder Where."

Thorn Flower's defection left fifth money of $7,500 for the winner, and Free Fee Lady took home a total of $157,500.

Damsel 1-2 may try Wonder Where

Last Saturday's Ontario Damsel, run at the new distance of one mile on turf, was situated as a stepping-stone to the Wonder Where.

And while the Ontario Damsel attracted just five entrants it is possible that at least the top two, Barracks Road and Somme, will take advantage of that scenario.

Barracks Road, coming off a sixth-place finish behind Somme here in the Alywow over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf, captured the Ontario Damsel by three-quarters of a length in front-running fashion with her regular rider Corey Fraser in the irons.

A homebred who races for Melnyk Racing Stable and is trained by Mark Casse, Barracks Road was making her third start of the season and had opened up her campaign with a 3 1/4-length maiden win over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf.

"I believe in the 'bounce' factor," said Mark Casse.

"She had only breezed four or five times before her first race. She came out and won it easily, but she ran the speed figure of her life. There was no way she wasn't going to regress a little bit."

Casse also noted that the Ontario Damsel, with its short field and an apparent lack of speed, was a much different proposition from the Alywow.

"Her last race had a 10-horse field, and there was lots of speed," said Casse. "It didn't look like there was much speed here; we expected to be on the lead."

Huge day for Lynch

Trainer Brian Lynch enjoyed a banner day here Saturday, recording his first career triple from four starters on the program.

"It was a great day," said Lynch. "It's nice to have a hat trick"

Lynch got the ball rolling in the first race when Star Brew won a $20,000 claimer.

His next starter, Fire Chief, finished sixth for $16,000 in the sixth race and attracted a claim.

Platinum Exchange, a 3-year-old filly who is owned by Jim and Susan Hill, won under first-level allowance terms in the ninth.

Lynch's final starter of the afternoon, Plymouth Bay won his maiden for $16,000 and was lost via the claim box.

Platinum Exchange, who was using the seven-furlong allowance race as a stepping-stone to the $150,000 Duchess Stakes here Aug. 7, was a workmanlike winner under Patrick Husbands.

In her last start, Platinum Exchange had finished a close second behind Somme in the Alywow.

"Maybe the Alywow took a bit out of both those fillies," said Lynch. "You should never complain when you win a race, but I think my filly has better races ahead of her.

"We want to try and be patient with her. Hopefully she'll get better, and more mature, with racing."

Utterly Cool gets a win

Utterly Cool capped a successful comeback here Sunday with a front-running two-length win in the $100,400 Ontario Jockey Club.

The Ontario Jockey Club, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and upward, was Utterly Cool's fourth start following an absence of almost 17 months.

"He's been training really good, and he's put on some weight," said Sid Attard, who trains the homebred Utterly Cool for the Jim Dandy Stable of Mel Lawson.

Utterly Cool, a 4-year-old gelding, was a 10 1/4-length winner in the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles on turf as a 2-year-old but then was injured while preparing to make his first start on Polytrack in the Coronation Futurity.

"He fractured a pastern," said Attard. "He had some screws put in, and was doing pretty good, but then it got infected."

Utterly Cool was racing without blinkers for the first time and coming into the Ontario Jockey Club off a second-place finish behind stablemate Signature Red in the allowance prep for the Grade 2 Highlander.

Signature Road came back to win the Highlander last weekend.

* Jockey Tyler Pizarro has suffered a broken collar bone and will be sidelined four to six weeks, according to his agent and sister, Kerry Beauclaire. Pizarro, who stands seventh in races won at the meeting with 30 and ninth in money won with $1.3 million, was involved in a spill during Saturday's last race.