07/22/2010 1:56PM

Grand Adventure stretching out for Nijinsky Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Grand Adventure will be charting unknown territory at nine furlongs in Saturday’s $300,000 Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine, while Spice Route cuts back from 1 1/2 miles in the Grade 2 turf event. They head an eight-horse field that includes two runners who are well suited to the distance, the Ian Black-trained duo of Rahy’s Attorney and Southdale.

Grand Adventure has reached full bloom this year at age 4. He finished a close second in the Grade 3 Shakertown at Keeneland in April, and then captured two graded turf stakes here, the seven-furlong Connaught Cup and the one-mile King Edward.

Trainer Mark Frostad is optimistic that Grand Adventure will be able to handle the move to nine furlongs.

“They way he ran his last couple of races, he hasn’t shown me any reason that he won’t go that far,” said Frostad. “We’re getting into new territory, and it will be interesting. He’s been training well.”

Frostad also entered another Sam-Son Farm runner, Windward Islands, who has been idle for more than a year.

Spice Route went to the sidelines after running second in the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap Dec. 26 at Calder, and he took the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes following a six-month layoff here July 4. He won his only nine-furlong attempt in 2008 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder.

Rahy’s Attorney, the 2008 Woodbine Mile winner, was a troubled sixth in the Connaught, and then finished a length back in second in the King Edward.

Black said several factors might enable Rahy’s Attorney to turn the tables on Grand Adventure in the Nijinsky.

“There’s going to be a weight shift with [Grand Adventure], which never hurts,” Black explained. “A mile and an eighth might be better for us than it is for him. I think we have a chance to beat him. He’s in good order.”

Southdale notched his first stakes June 5 in the Grade 3 Eclipse. He saved ground over an outside-biased track when third July 1 in the Dominion Day Stakes.

Southdale, who is trying the turf for the first time, worked five-eighths around the cones in 1:02 over the turf training course July 14.

“He worked okay, but he was looking at the cones on the backside,” said Black. “He had never been out there before, and he really wasn’t concentrating, but then he leveled out and ran down the lane.”