05/05/2006 12:00AM

Johnson not counting on win with Our Madison in Fury

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Our Madison wraps up 2005 with a victory in the Ontario Lassie. Her trainer feels she may need a race to get fit.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Our Madison, who was claimed for $40,000 here last Aug. 11, made trainer Red Johnson look like a genius when she closed out her campaign with an upset win in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie here at Woodbine.

But Johnson, 58, isn't about to get carried away when it comes to Our Madison's return to action here in Sunday's Fury.

"I imagine she'll need a race," said Johnson. "She didn't come in until mid-March. I don't think she'll be fit enough.

"She's never been the prettiest of fillies, either, but she has a beautiful stride. I'll let her run here, and we'll go from there."

The Fury, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds, is the first major stepping-stone on the path to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on June 11.

But Johnson, again, downplays Our Madison's prospects for the Woodbine Oaks, Canada's premier race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

"She's nominated, but I'm not sure she'll run that far," said Johnson. "I think she'll run better on grass, but she is versatile. I think she'll be a superior mudder."

Mayan Magic makes the trip

The Fury also attracted a shipper, as Mayan Magic, owned by Stronach Stable and based in New York with trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, checked in late Friday morning.

Mayan Magic, a daughter of Touch Gold, won her maiden by five lengths at seven furlongs in her third and latest career start at Aqueduct on April 2.

Jose Santos, aboard that day, retains the mount for the Fury.

McLaughlin sent out the invader Candy Box to finish fourth for Stronach Stable in last year's Fury.

Gold Strike set for return

Gold Strike, Canada's champion 3-year-old filly last year, is slated to make her seasonal bow in next Sunday's feature, the Grade 3 Hendrie Stakes.

The $125,000 Hendrie, a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares, would be Gold Strike's first start since her third-place finish in last year's Queen's Plate on June 26.

"She's on schedule," said Reade Baker, who trains Gold Strike for Harlequin Ranches.

Saturday's feature, the six-furlong New Providence for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward, is expected to attract a competitive field including Barbeau Ruckus, who will be making his seasonal bow.

"He's ready," said George Newland, who took over as the trainer of Barbeau Ruckus this year.

Barbeau Ruckus, a 7-year-old gelding who has earned $968,708, will have a new rider in Patrick Husbands.

Minimum entry rule changed

Woodbine is changing its policy regarding overnight stakes and stakes preps and now will let those races go with a minimum of five betting interests.

The previous minimum was six betting interests, and an allowance prep for the Eclipse Stakes already was scrapped earlier this year when just five horses were entered.

"I know we're all for bigger fields, so in one way this is a step backwards," said Steve Lym, Woodbine's racing secretary. "But we decided it was the right thing to do for our horsemen and the stakes program. In the case of the preps, horses won't miss a race getting ready for a stakes, and it should make the stakes better."

The overnight stakes, which are restricted to Ontario foals, offer purses of $75,000. The first scheduled overnight stakes of the meeting is the June 11 Alywow, a 6 1/2-furlong turf race for 3-year-old fillies.

Pair team up for two wins

Trainer Janet Bedford and jockey Jillian Scharfstein teamed up for their first wins of the season here Thursday, with Dear Brutus ($140.80) taking the fifth race and Bet on Boston ($15.40) capturing the eighth and final race on the program.

The wins also were the first as a jockey agent for former trainer Jacques Dumas, who took over Scharfstein's book this spring.

Two riders to sit three days

Jockeys Dino Luciani and Constant Montpellier both will be serving three-day suspensions this week after their appeals of earlier rulings were denied by the Ontario Racing Commission.

Luciani will sit out the Wednesday through Friday programs while Montpellier will serve his days Thursday through Saturday.

Awards auction to benefit LongRun

The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's Ontario division will be honoring its top breeders of 2005 at its annual awards dinner on June 19, at the Verdi Hospitality Centre, 3550 Derry Road East, Mississsauga.

A total of 68 awards, including breeder of the year, will be presented and there will be a silent auction with a portion of the proceeds going to the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.

Tickets, at $75 plus GST, are available through the local horse society office at 416-675-3602.

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will be holding its first meeting of the season on Wednesday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Woodbine's third-floor Champions lounge. New members and guests are welcome.