07/07/2009 11:00PM

Ginger Brew on home turf


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Ginger Brew is back in town and will make her local seasonal bow in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Dance Smartly, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

"She looks great," said Brian Lynch, who was here to greet Ginger Brew when she stepped off the van from Belmont early Wednesday morning. "She always looks good."

Ginger Brew has been with Bobby Frankel's New York stable and will run in his name Saturday before rejoining Lynch's division here.

Lynch had trained Ginger Brew through her 11 career starts, but the filly was sent to Frankel following this year's Gulfstream Park meeting.

Last year, Ginger Brew won the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks and finished a close second in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate before going to the sidelines and resurfacing with a victory in the Jammed Lovely here Nov. 9.

Those three starts were just enough to make Ginger Brew eligible for the Sovereign Awards, and she was a decisive choice in the 3-year-old filly category as well as a finalist in the Horse of the Year balloting.

Ginger Brew accompanied Lynch to Palm Meadows and she made three starts in Florida, finishing third in a pair of stakes at Gulfstream and an unlucky fifth at Tampa Bay.

Todd Kabel, who guided Ginger Brew to a successful career debut here in the fall of 2007, will be back aboard Ginger Brew for the first time since then in the Dance Smartly, which attracted a field of eight.

Crown Isle to make turf debut in Toronto Cup

Crown Isle, a colt trained by John Charalambous, will make his turf debut in Saturday's Toronto Cup, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Crown Isle is coming into the Toronto Cup off a second-place finish behind Stylish Citizen in the Charlie Barley over a mile and 70 yards here June 20.

"He kind of got caught on the inside," said Charalambous. "If he's outside, I think it's a different story. As soon as he saw that other horse coming, he picked it up.

"He's been a little unfortunate in a few of his races."

Crown Isle, whose record line shows a win and 3 seconds from 5 starts, experienced his unluckiest day in his second career start here last November when he crossed the wire first but was disqualified and placed eighth.

After completing his first campaign with a nose loss in another 1 1/16-mile maiden special, Crown Isle returned this spring and graduated with flying colors over a mile and 70 yards.

Charalambous certainly has not been avoiding the turf with Crown Isle, since both his races this season were originally scheduled for one mile on grass but were switched to the main track.

"He worked once on turf, but he worked alone and he's not a good work horse by himself," said Charalambous, who sent out Crown Isle to breeze four furlongs in 51 seconds on the turf training course here May 24. "He needs competition."

Crown Isle will have some but not too much of that in the Toronto Cup, which attracted a field of just five headed by multiple Polytrack stakes winner Awesome Rhythm.

"If it sets up the way we hope, and he gets a good run, he should be right on the money," said Charalambous.

Musketier running Saturday at Belmont Park

Trainer Roger Atfield didn't have much luck on the road last weekend, with Spice Route finishing fourth in the United Nations at Monmouth and Passager ending last of seven in the Firecracker at Churchill.

But Attfield will be taking another crack at an important turf race south of the border, with Musketier headed for Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Man o' War over 1 3/8 miles at Belmont Park.

Musketier, 7, won the Grade 3 Singspiel over 1 1/2 miles on turf in his last start here June 21.

"It's a tough spot, but he's doing so well right now," said Attfield.

Spice Route, who had been scratched from the Singspiel with an eye toward the United Nations, finished fourth there behind the front-running winner Presious Passion.

"He was unlucky," said Attfield. "He got slammed from both sides and had to take up badly on the backside. That cost him third, anyway, but he wasn't going to beat the winner."

Attfield has nominated Spice Route to the Grade 2, $300,000 Nijinsky, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up here July 26.

Passager, on the other hand, has no specific target.

"His race last Saturday was a disaster all around," said Attfield. "The course was soft, but he was supposed to enjoy that.

"He was never in the race. I put blinkers on him, and that wasn't a very good experience either."

Midnight Mischief recovering from a cold

Attfield had hoped to have runners in both turf stakes here Saturday, with Callwood Dancer on target for the Dance Smartly and Midnight Mischief aiming for the Toronto Cup.

But after both horses tuned up with half-mile breezes over the turf training course here Wednesday morning, Midnight Mischief returned with mucus in his lungs and will have to await another day for his stakes debut.

"You wouldn't have known, the way he worked, but he scoped terribly again," said Attfield, who had watched Midnight Mischief breeze in 47.60 under Jono Jones.

"He had a bit of a cold last week, but I thought we had it cleared up. I can't run him like this."

Callwood Dancer, with regular rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva in the irons, went in a more leisurely 50.80.

"She worked well enough," said Attfield.