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Freudian Fetish aims high in Ontario Lassie
ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Lorna Perkins has sent out an even dozen winners this year, split evenly between Woodbine and Fort Erie.
And, Perkins would like nothing better than to notch lucky No. 13 with Freudian Fetish, an Ontario-bred filly who will be making her stakes debut in Sunday's $125,000 Ontario Lassie.
"They really didn't write any other races she could run in," said Perkins, whose filly finished third in her first try against winners in a first-level allowance last time out. "But, she ran well enough in that last to give her a shot going long again."
Freudian Fetish began her career here Aug. 2 but it took her a couple of starts to get the kinks out.
"She's a really tall filly, and she's a bit of a scatterbrain," said Perkins, 46, who had worked mainly as an assistant trainer to Martin Wansborough and went out on her own following his death in the fall of 2004. "It took her a while to figure out the game."
Freudian Fetish began showing the signs when she dropped to the $32,000 maiden claiming level for a fourth-place finish here Oct. 15.
Four weeks later, making her next start at the same seven-furlong distance, Freudian Fetish broke through with a nose victory.
"I dropped her in for a tag to give her confidence," said Perkins, who then watched Freudian Fetish finish a close third in the seven-furlong entry-level allowance "The more she's racing, the more she's settling down."
No Florida trip for Perkins this year
Perkins also experienced her first Queen's Plate this year when she sent out the maiden Stardust Ziggy to finish ninth in the field of 13.
Stardust Ziggy won his maiden in his second start after the Plate but then raced just once more before being put away for the season.
"He's up at Pine Valley," said Perkins, with reference to the nearby farm and training center. "He had recurring foot problems. Hopefully, he's going to grow his feet out and we'll bring him back next year."
The UN Stable of Anthony Coombes and Diane Murphy, which has been Perkins's main client with eight horses, owns Freudian Fetish and Stardust Ziggy. The stable won races here with Medidocihospisurg, Beujelais Noveau, and Madamprimeminister, and four more at Fort Erie, one with Yes Its Bull and three with Vivien Neigh.
Perkins, who campaigned at Gulfstream last year and at Oaklawn Park the previous winter, will be staying in Ontario this time around.
"Stardust Ziggy was the main reason we went to Florida last year, to get ready for the Queen's Plate," said Perkins. "I would have liked to see him do a little better, but we had a successful year. We won with some horses, and moved along some horses that didn't. Hopefully, we'll come back next year with horses that just belong at Woodbine."
One horse for whom Perkins has high hopes is her own Delilah's Ring, an Ontario-sired 2-year-old by Where's the Ring who has yet to make it to the races.
"She breezed three furlongs in 36 a couple of times but then she fractured her tibia," said Perkins. "I really like her."
Sutherland in the mix for year's top athlete
Jockey Chantal Sutherland was a guest on a local sports talk radio station Thursday morning.
Among the topics discussed was Sutherland's possible candidacy for a Lou Marsh Award as Canada's female athlete of the year. The Marsh Award is determined by the vote of selected media outlets. The only jockey to receive a Marsh Award was Sandy Hawley, in both 1973 and 1976.
Sutherland, 33, has had a career year and headed into Thursday's program with 128 winners and purses of $7,154,498 at the meeting, second only to Patrick Husbands on both counts. She has won 11 stakes.
With an earlier 18 wins and $564,415 at Santa Anita, Sutherland's totals eclipse her previous highs of 136 wins in 2002 and $6,120,979 in 2008.
"I'm so happy with my season; it's been awesome," said Sutherland. "I've had so much support from so many barns."
Sutherland deflects credit to her Woodbine agent, ex-jockey John Bell, for her surge this season.
"John Bell gives you the ability to focus on yourself and your riding," said Sutherland. "He takes care of everything else. We work really well together."
On Dec. 7, the morning after the Woodbine meeting winds up, Sutherland will be heading to Hong Kong to participate in an international jockeys' challenge.
The three-race series will take place at Happy Valley on Dec. 9 and Sutherland could pick up other mounts there and on the following Sunday's major international card at Sha Tin.
Sutherland then will fly back to Los Angeles to prepare for the opening of the Santa Anita meeting on Dec. 26.
"I already have some calls," said Sutherland, who will be represented there by agent Tommy Ball. "I'll ride there until April, and then start back here."
Pool Play preps for Valedictory
Pool Play breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 here Thursday in preparation for next Sunday's $150,000 Valedictory, the 1 3/4-mile race that is the final stakes of the meeting.
A 4-year-old colt trained by Mark Casse, Pool Play won the 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup here Oct. 4 and returned to finish third in the 1 1/16-mile Autumn six weeks later.
"I think it was a very good race for him," said Casse. "He had a pretty wide trip, and there wasn't a whole lot of pace. He needs it to set up for him."
Pool Play will be traveling beyond 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the Valedictory and will have a new rider in Corey Fraser.
"The mile and three-quarters will be a bit of an experiment," said Casse. "I'm not worried about him getting the distance, but sometimes those races lack speed."
Da Silva loses appeal, sits three days
Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva will sit out the Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday cards after losing an appeal at the Ontario Racing Commission head offices on Wednesday.
Da Silva, who also was fined $750 for lodging a frivolous appeal, had been suspended for three days after the stewards ruled he had come in with his mount, Wild Tepu, and interfered with Feisty Clyde during the stretch run of the fifth race back on April 12. Wild Tepu was disqualified from third and placed fourth.
The jockey took his case to the Thoroughbred Industry Appeal board, which upheld the suspension in a ruling issued Aug. 27, and then pursued the case to the commission level.