11/01/2010 12:31PM

Indian Apple Is handles cutback in Ontario Fashion

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Michael Burns
Indian Apple Is took advantage of a quick pace to score a half-length victory in the Ontario Fasion Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Bob Tiller just missed sweeping the two stakes here last Sunday, sending out Indian Apple Is to score by a half-length in the Ontario Fashion after watching Woodbourne suffer a head defeat as the runner-up in the Labeeb.

Indian Apple Is, a 4-year-old homebred who races for Frank Di Giulio, was shortening up for the $185,000 Ontario Fashion after winning and placing in two stakes starts over seven furlongs.

“Our only concern was the six furlongs,” Tiller said. “We didn’t think it was quite far enough for her.

“But we knew she had some speed to run at. We talked to [jockey] Chantal [Sutherland] and figured our best shot was to come from out of it.”

Sutherland, who was recording her meet-leading 15th stakes win, played her part to perfection as Indian Apple Is rallied from fifth place at the eighth pole to get up by a half-length.

“She kept her wide, and it worked out,” Tiller said.

Indian Apple Is picked up $120,000 for the Ontario Fashion win, including the $30,000 Ontario-foaled bonus, and now has banked $302,426 from six starts this season.

All remaining well, Indian Apple Is will be looking to add to that total in the $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares here Nov. 21.

“She’s a big, strong mare and she’s just getting her act together,” Tiller said. “You’re going to hear a lot more from her next year.”

Woodbourne, whom Tiller had claimed for $50,000 from trainer Mark Casse’s barn this summer, dueled throughout the mile of yielding turf before succumbing to the late charge of Safety Zone in the $100,000 Labeeb.

Safety Zone was returning to the fold for Casse but for a new owner in Eugene Melnyk after being reclaimed for $40,000 from his last start here Oct. 10.

A 6-year-old gelding, Safety Zone first was claimed from Casse by trainer Terry Jordan for $62,500 in September 2009 and then was taken from Jordan by Scott Fairlie for $20,000 on July 31.

“I’d been watching him running, and Eugene had mentioned he might like to pick up a horse or two for the Barbados Gold Cup,” Casse said.

“I knew he was a nice horse and watching him train I knew he was moving well. I mentioned him to Eugene, and he said ‘Go get him.’ ”

With the Barbados Gold Cup not being run until March, Casse figured he might pick up a little traveling money before shipping south with Safety Zone.

And, the $60,000 that Safety Zone picked up for his Labeeb tally was a nice stake.

“He’ll go to Florida, have a little break, and then maybe run once in Florida before he goes to Barbados,” said Casse, who won last year’s Barbados Gold Cup for Melnyk with Sterwins.

McAleney injured in Sunday spill

Jockey Jim McAleney has been hospitalized for an indefinite period after suffering serious injuries in a spill here Sunday.

“He has a broken left collarbone, broke every rib on his left side, and has a collapsed lung,” McAleney’s agent, Danny Williams, said Monday morning.

Itsallaboutmenow, McAleney’s mount in the fourth race, had appeared to clip heels with Buck Hunter and fell. Buck Hunter, ridden by Lanscott Fray, finished fourth but was disqualified and placed 12th.

Doyle doubles up in juvenile stakes

For the second time this month, trainer Mike Doyle has sent out the winner of a $250,000 stakes race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

Celtic Conviction was the first, upsetting the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of turf on Oct. 17 for owners Doyle and Bill Duffy.

Last Saturday, it was Grand Style’s chance to shine and she did not disappoint with a 1 1/2-length victory under rider Eurico Rosa da Silva in the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth.

Grand Style, owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., had made her first two starts for trainer Rusty Arnold at Saratoga, finishing seventh and eighth in maiden turf races.

“Rusty sent her up to me because she was a Canadian-bred, to run her here in the fall,” Doyle said.

Grand Style had come into the Princess Elizabeth a maiden but was the 9-2 third choice after finishing an encouraging third when making her local debut in a mile-and-70-yard maiden race.

She’d been here with me for about a week before that race, and I thought it was way more positive than it looked,” Doyle said.

“She was wide all the way, and I think the shipping may have affected her a little bit.”

Doyle had been looking to run back Grand Style in a maiden race but also was keeping an eye on the Princess Elizabeth.

“The maiden race didn’t go, but when the stakes came up this way it would have been an automatic anyway,” said Doyle, who supplemented Grand Style to the Princess Elizabeth at a cost of $7,500.

Grand Style, one of eight maidens in the field of 10, not only picked up $150,000 but stamped herself as one to watch on the road to next year’s Woodbine Oaks.

The $150,000 Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies here Dec. 4, is scheduled to be Grand Style’s final start of the season.

“She’ll go back down to Rusty at Palm Meadows this winter,” Doyle said. “We stable together there.”

Meanwhile, Celtic Conviction will be looking for a lucrative double in next Sunday’s $150,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds, and tuned up with a five-furlong breeze in 1:03.20 here Saturday.

Accompanying Celtic Conviction through that drill was Happy Clapper, a 3-year-old who should be looking for her first stakes win for Doyle in Saturday’s $175,000 Maple Leaf for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles.

Fantasia prevails in River Memories

Fantasia may have seemed somewhat overqualified for last Saturday’s $101,200 River Memories as she came into the one-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares off a close fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland.

And while Fantasia got the job done as the 7-5 favorite, she had to pull out all the stops under rider Rosie Napravnik to prevail in a desperate three-horse photo.

“Fortunately, she won,” said Jonathan Sheppard, who trains the 4-year-old Fantasia for owner/breeder George Strawbridge Jr. “It doesn’t matter by how much.”

Sheppard admitted that he had anticipated the River Memories being a less demanding assignment for Fantasia.

“I thought this might be an easy spot,” Sheppard said. “It was only $100,000 and not even graded. When I saw the past performances, it wasn’t an easy spot at all. But we’d made the decision to go.”

Fantasia was scheduled to head back to Fair Hill on Monday along with Nicanor, who finished fourth in the Labeeb for trainer Michael Matz.

“I’ll let her down and bring her back at Keeneland next spring,” Sheppard said.