05/27/2010 11:00PM

Grand Adventure making best of change


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Woodbine's decision to cut back the Connaught Cup from 1 1/16 miles to seven furlongs has had a predictable impact on the composition of the field for Sunday's renewal.

And among those who will benefit from the shortening of the Grade 3, $150,000 turf race is Grand Adventure, a Kentucky-bred bred 4-year-old who is trained by Mark Frostad.

"If it was still run at a mile and a sixteenth, he wouldn't have been in it," said Frostad, who trains the homebred Grand Adventure for Sam-Son Farm.

Grand Adventure, winner of the Grade 3 Summer Stakes over one mile on turf as a 2-year-old, went on to contest that fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

Not only did Grand Adventure emerge from his 10th-place finish there with a stifle injury, he had another setback while recuperating on the farm and did not see action for 10 months.

Returning to the races here last August, Grand Adventure was a winner under second-level allowance terms over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf.

The colt went from there into the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, where he set the pace before faltering to finish ninth.

"It probably was not a smart thing to do," said Frostad, looking back on Grand Adventure's 2009 season here the other morning. "But, he has so much talent."

Grand Adventure concluded his local campaign with a troubled sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Nearctic over six furlongs of turf and then finished second in the 5 1/2-furlong Bonapaw on grass at Fair Grounds.

Then, after running fifth when trying the dirt in New Orleans this January, Grand Adventure moved on to Keeneland's turf course and ended second, beaten a neck, in the Grade 3 Shakertown on April 10.

Silver Timber, the winner of that 5 1/2-furlong turf race, came back to capture the Grade 3 Churchill Downs Turf Sprint on April 30.

Frostad, who had kept a long-term eye on the Connaught Cup, elected to skip the May 15 course-and-distance prep and come directly into the stakes itself.

"He's had six weeks between races but the prep was too close," said Frostad.

"He's been working well -- he's ready to roll."

Hollinger works smoothly

Hollinger, who was the early favorite for this year's Queen's Plate following his championship 2-year-old campaign, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 under regular rider Tyler Pizarro here Friday morning.

"I think it went okay," said Roger Attfield, who trains Hollinger for owner/breeders Bob Harvey and Al Wortzman. "He worked on his own, breezing along."

Hollinger, who wrapped up his perfect four-start season with a win in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity here Nov. 8, returned to action in the seven-furlong Queenston on May 15.

After stalking the pace of the front-running winner, Essence Hit Man, Hollinger flattened out to finish 7 1/4 lengths back but was beaten in a photo for the second and third placings.

"That race just didn't work out quite the way I wanted it too," said Attfield. "It was a little hard on him."

Attfield had considered running Hollinger in the Marine, the 1 1/16-mile race scheduled here Saturday, but has opted to stick with the original plan and point to the 1 1/8 mile Plate Trial on June 13.

"I just figured it might not be the right thing to do," said Attfield, regarding the decision to bypass the Marine. That would have had him racing on a two week, two week schedule."

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run on July 4.

Stormy Lord may concentrate on turf

Stormy Lord, who finished last of six in the Queenston, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 on the training track turf course here Friday.

While Stormy Lord remains eligible for the Queen's Plate and is nominated to the Plate Trial, his trainer, Ian Black, may consider redirecting the gelding to the turf.

The $100,000 Charlie Barley, an open overnight turf stakes for 3-year-olds on Queen's Plate Day, would be a possibile target if Black and Stormy Lord's owners opt to go that route.

"The bottom line is he is a better horse on turf," said Black, who sent out Stormy Lord to win the seven-furlong prep for the Summer and to finish second behind Hollinger in the 1 1/16-mile Cup and Saucer here last year."

Mast Track headed to Eclipse

Mast Track, a Grade 1 winner of $922,822 who has been based in California, is on the grounds with an eye toward next Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Eclipse.

A Kentucky-bred 6-year-old, Mast Track was owned and trained by the late Bobby Frankel but was purchased by Stronach Stable from the Robert Frankel Trust last December.

John Shirreffs took over as Mast Track's trainer and the horse won the Grade 3 Native Diver in his first start for his new interests.

Mast Track has been unplaced in two starts since then, including a last-place finish in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in his last start March 6.

Currently housed in the barn of Sean Smullen, one of Team Stronach's trainers here, Mast Track had yet to go to the track as of Friday morning.

Pool Play has easy breeze

Pool Play, also headed for the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80 here Friday under regular rider Patrick Husbands.

"He just kind of went out and stretched his legs a bit," said Mark Casse, who conditions Pool Play for owner Bill Farish Jr.

"We weren't looking for a whole lot. If I'd wanted more, I would have worked him in company."

Pool Play also ran in the Santa Anita Handicap, finishing 10th, and then finished ran second here in the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse prep on May 14.

* Apprentice jockey Betty-Jo Williams has switched agents and her mounts now will be booked by Tom Patton.

Williams, who had been represented by David O'Connor, had won four races at Woodbine this year heading into Friday's program and added two wins at Fort Erie.

* Woodbine moves into its five-day-a-week mode with Thursdays being added to the schedule this week.

Post time for Thursday racing will begin at the new time of 2 p.m. There will be no racing on the Thursdays of June 24, July 29, Sept 2, and Oct. 7.

Canada Day Thursday, July 1, will have a first post of 1 p.m.