07/26/2010 12:23PM

Frostad stablemates Windward Island, Grand Adventure run one-two in Nijinsky


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Mark Frostad and Ian Black each fielded a pair of entrants in both the Toronto Cup and Nijinsky here at Woodbine last Saturday.

And while each trainer came away with a victory, Frostad had the upper hand by virtue of his one-two finish with Windward Islands and Grand Adventure in the Grade 2, $312,400 Nijinsky.

Windward Islands, a 6-year-old gelding, was making his first start in more than 13 months and just his 17th career appearance in the 1 3/8-mile Nijinsky over yielding turf.

The Nijinsky actually had not been Frostad’s first choice for Windward Islands, who had been entered in an allowance race which failed to fill on two consecutive days.

“I was quite happy to ‘if’ into the stakes,” said Frostad, who had kept that option open in the event of the allowance race not being used.

Windward Islands had finished fourth in the 2007 running of the Nijinsky after winning the Toronto Cup and wound up his 3-year-old campaign with a ninth-place finish in the Canadian International, where he was beaten just 3 3/4 lengths.

In Saturday’s Nijinsky reprise, Windward Islands danced to a 3 3/4-length victory under Chantal Sutherland at odds of 7-1.

“We always thought he was a good horse,” said Frostad. “But, he’s always had nagging injuries. We haven’t got a whole lot of production out of him the last couple of years, but we’ll see if he’ll come out of this race in good order. He could be any kind, if he stayed sound.”

The next major turf stakes for the older male division here is the Grade 2, $250,000 Sky Classic, a 1 3/8-mile race on Aug. 22.

Grand Adventure, the 6-5 favorite and 123-pound highweight in the Nijinsky, finished second after leading from post 1 until midstretch after being pushed early by Southdale.

“I thought he ran a super race,” said Frostad. “He was giving weight to everybody, and with a different post or firmer turf I think he could have won.”

The 4-year-old Grand Adventure came into the Nijinsky off back-to-back turf stakes scores here in the seven-furlong Connaught Cup and one-mile King Edward.

Frostad’s current plan calls for Grand Adventure to head straight to the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile on Sept. 19.

Southdale, who is trained by Black, ended third while making his turf debut, but his more celebrated stablemate, Rahy’s Attorney, ended a well-beaten fifth in the Nijinsky.

Black also had nominated Southdale to the Grade 3, $150,000 Seagram Cup, a 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race here Aug. 8, but opted for the turf experiment.

“You never know how they’re going to run until they try it,” said Black. “He ran very hard, and game; He gave it a very good try.”

The trainer, however, could find little encouragement in Rahy Attorney’s performance as a beaten second choice under Robert Landry.

“The more it rained, the more I liked him,” said Black. “But, Rob said he never had any horse under him at any time.

“I could never say before that he hadn’t tried. I hope it’s just a blip.”

Black’s stakes afternoon had started on a high note as he sent out Stormy Lord to win the $174,800 Toronto Cup with his stablemate, D’s Wando, fourth in the 1 1/8 mile turf race for 3-year-olds.

Stormy Lord, who was coming off a second-place finish here in the Charlie Barley over one mile of turf, took the early lead under Jim McAleney but then sat off the pace off Kara’s Orientation before prevailing by a hard-fought half-length in the Toronto Cup.

“I was really happy that he was able to let that other horse go, then come out and go around him,” said Black. “There was some question that he needed the lead, but he proved that he didn’t.

“He was more relaxed, and mature, and very game.”

D’s Wando, coming off a last-place finish in the Queen’s Plate, was beaten seven lengths while making his first start on turf.

“He closed a little bit, but then leveled off,” said Black. “The turf didn’t have any magical effect, but he ran better than his last couple of races. I wouldn’t know if he would have liked it firm.”

Both Stormy Lord and D’s Wando both are possibilities for the $500,000 Breeders’, the 1 1/2-mile turf race here Aug. 15 which is the final leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

“With Stormy Lord, at a mile and a half, I’m probably dreaming a little bit,” said Black. “But with a 3-year-old turf horse, there are virtually no opportunities left.”

Frostad sent out Born to Act to finish third and Dark Cloud Dancer to run sixth in the Toronto Cup.

Born to Act, who was making just his second appearance of the season, is a possibility for the Breeders’

“He obviously still needs more distance,” said Frostad. “He’s a bit one-paced.”

Dark Cloud Dancer, coming off a sixth-place finish in the Queen’s Plate, also had been entered in Sunday’s Prince of Wales at Fort Erie but scratched in favor of the Toronto Cup.

“He was disappointing,” said Frostad. “We’ll just have to go back to the drawing board.”

Belle Mahone may be La Rocca’s next target

After watching La Rocca run third in her last two starts, finishing behind winner Tasty Temptation on both occasions, including the Hill ‘n’ Dale in which Milwaukee Appeal was the runner-up, trainer Terry Jordan was looking westward.

But when Jordan learned that both Tasty Temptation and Milwaukee Appeal were headed to races south of the border, he abandoned his thoughts of sending La Rocca to Alberta and stayed here for last Sunday’s $150,000 Ontario Matron. Tasty Temptation is headed to Saturday’s Ruffian at Saratoga. Milwaukee Appeal finished fourth in the July 17 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.

“Those fillies are just a step better than her,” said Jordan. “When a horse finishes on the fringes all the time, they tend to get discouraged. My horse needed a win, to keep her happy.”

La Rocca, who wound up as the lone speed of the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron after Hooh Why opted for a race at Presque Isle Downs, controlled the pace en route to a half-length victory.

“It worked out good for us,” said Jordan, who had watched La Rocca battle back to defeat a game Simply Splendid after losing the lead in the stretch in upper stretch.

La Rocca, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old owned by Peter Redekop, was recording her first local stakes win after capturing the Sonoma at Northlands and the B.C. Oaks at Hastings last year.

The $100,000 Belle Mahone, a 1 1/16-mile overnight stakes here Aug. 22, could be La Rocca’s next target.