06/03/2009 11:00PM

Independent George back to synthetic in Eclipse

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Maryland-based Independent George is part of a competitive field in the $150,000 Eclipse, one of two 1 1/16-mile stakes on Saturday's Woodbine card along with the $125,000 Steady Growth.

Independent George has been lightly raced in recent years by trainer Graham Motion. In a three-race campaign last year, he won the Sussex Stakes at Delaware, finished fourth in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth, and then went to the sidelines after ending up fifth in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes here in August.

Independent George rallied for second following an eight-month layoff on April 25 in the one-mile Henry Clark Stakes on the grass at Pimlico. Motion said he was pleased with the outcome.

"I thought it was a good effort, because I didn't think he was quite fit enough," Motion said. "It was too good a spot to pass up to get him to the next race. I felt he was a work or two away from being racing fit."

Motion said he sought out a Polytrack stakes for Independent George, and the Grade 3 Eclipse fit the bill. Independent George's lone synthetic track start was a victory on Tapeta in the 2008 Presque Isle Mile.

"We always wanted to get him back in a [synthetic] track race, to see if that race at Presque Isle was a fluke, or if he's that much better on it," Motion explained. "It's ridiculous that we've never had him back on a [synthetic] surface."

Marchfield, Canada's champion older male in 2008, was unplaced in a pair of Grade 2 stakes at Santa Anita during the winter and is returning from a four-month break.

"When he hasn't run in a little while, he loses his racing edge," trainer Mark Casse said. "I entered him in two or three races, but they never went. He's a pretty solid horse when he's running in a cycle."

Dancer's Bajan heads the Steady Growth, which is for older Ontario-sired runners.

Dancer's Bajan won the 2008 Steady Growth and two other Ontario-sired stakes later in the year. He never challenged in his season opener in the six-furlong New Providence Stakes.

Trainer Bob Tiller believes Dancer's Bajan lost all chance when he stumbled at the start of the New Providence.

"He fell on his face leaving there," Tiller said. "It didn't hurt him [physically], but it didn't help him any. He had the 1-hole and just never really recovered after that."ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Maryland-based Independent George is part of a competitive field in the $150,000 Eclipse, one of two 1 1/16-mile stakes on Saturday's Woodbine card along with the $125,000 Steady Growth.

Independent George has been lightly raced in recent years by trainer Graham Motion. In a three-race campaign last year, he won the Sussex Stakes at Delaware, finished fourth in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth, and then went to the sidelines after ending up fifth in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes here in August.

Independent George rallied for second following an eight-month layoff on April 25 in the one-mile Henry Clark Stakes on the grass at Pimlico. Motion said he was pleased with the outcome.

"I thought it was a good effort, because I didn't think he was quite fit enough," Motion said. "It was too good a spot to pass up to get him to the next race. I felt he was a work or two away from being racing fit."

Motion said he sought out a Polytrack stakes for Independent George, and the Grade 3 Eclipse fit the bill. Independent George's lone synthetic track start was a victory on Tapeta in the 2008 Presque Isle Mile.

"We always wanted to get him back in a [synthetic] track race, to see if that race at Presque Isle was a fluke, or if he's that much better on it," Motion explained. "It's ridiculous that we've never had him back on a [synthetic] surface."

Marchfield, Canada's champion older male in 2008, was unplaced in a pair of Grade 2 stakes at Santa Anita during the winter and is returning from a four-month break.

"When he hasn't run in a little while, he loses his racing edge," trainer Mark Casse said. "I entered him in two or three races, but they never went. He's a pretty solid horse when he's running in a cycle."

Dancer's Bajan heads the Steady Growth, which is for older Ontario-sired runners.

Dancer's Bajan won the 2008 Steady Growth and two other Ontario-sired stakes later in the year. He never challenged in his season opener in the six-furlong New Providence Stakes.

Trainer Bob Tiller believes Dancer's Bajan lost all chance when he stumbled at the start of the New Providence.

"He fell on his face leaving there," Tiller said. "It didn't hurt him [physically], but it didn't help him any. He had the 1-hole and just never really recovered after that."