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Jordan hopeful La Rocca can outrun her odds in Bessarabian
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Terry Jordan stable will be looking to wind up its 2010 meeting at Woodbine Racetrack with a bang on Sunday, with horses entered in three of the 11 races on the program.
Bijoux Bon, in the first race, and Shining for Us, in the eighth, both are morning-line favorites in maiden events.
But the piece de resistance would be a victory by La Rocca, who has been tabbed as a 20-1 chance in the $150,000 Bessarabian Stakes for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.
“I think it’s a very contentious race,” said Jordan, who trains La Rocca for owner Peter Redekop. “I’m hoping, more than knowing.”
La Rocca, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old, was purchased privately here in the summer of 2009 and went on a western Canada swing which netted wins in the Sonoma at Northlands and the B.C. Oaks at Hastings.
Back at Woodbine this past spring, La Rocca finished third on three consecutive occasions before notching her most important win to date in the $150,000 Ontario Matron at 1 1/16 miles.
But a return trip to Alberta produced a last-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile City of Edmonton Distaff. La Rocca was making her first start in more than two months when she finished fifth here last time out in the Ontario Fashion, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares.
“Six furlongs is a little short for her,” said Jordan, noting that La Rocca had made up some ground late and was beaten by just four lengths.
“I think probably her best distance would be a mile, so seven furlongs should be okay.”
La Rocca has turned in bullet drills both before and after the Ontario Fashion, with her latest a four-furlong breeze in 47.80 seconds under the stewardship of assistant trainer Anita Bolton.
“She’s coming around,” said Jordan. “We did a little work on her, and it seems to have helped.
“She’s a very nice filly.”
Hollywood Hit among 25 headed to South Carolina
Jordan, who wintered his stock in Florida following the 2009 Woodbine meeting, is taking a new tack this time around and will be sending approximately 25 horses to the Webb Carroll Training Centre in South Carolina, with a number of those already on the scene.
“They’ll have 45 days of galloping, and then bring them back up here and breeze them,” said Jordan, looking ahead to the 2011 meeting.
“They’ll only be running five furlongs at first. In 60 days, we should be able to get them ready for that.”
The big name amongst Jordan’s South Carolina contingent will be Hollywood Hit, a 4-year-old gelding who had been expected to close out his campaign in the Kennedy Road but did not make that Saturday stakes.
“He has a little problem,” said Jordan. “It’s a matter of six weeks, and he’ll be all right. But if we had gone on with him, he wouldn’t have been. Luckily, we caught it early.”
Hollywood Hit, a contender for the Sovereign Award in the male sprinter category. raced just five times this year and won the Jacques Cartier, Grade 3 Vigil, and King Corrie here at Woodbine.
His other appearances yielded second-place finishes here in the Bold Venture and in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Phoenix in his last start on Oct. 8.
“He’s a really good horse,” said Jordan. “It’s funny how the real good horses run so hard they can’t keep up with their motors.”
Sharp Secretary takes shot in Bessarabian
The meeting is winding down more gradually for trainer Lorne Richards, who will be heading down to Palm Meadows during the first week of December.
Richards still has a few bullets to fire and also has a candidate for the Bessarabian in Sharp Secretary, a New York-bred 3-year-old filly whom he trains for Lansdowne Stable.
“She seems to be doing okay,” said Richards, who seldom overstates his case. “It’s a tough race but we’ll give her a crack; there’s not much else for her.”
Sharp Secretary had finished second for a $40,000 claiming price in her second start as a 2-year-old and wound up her campaign with wins in a “B” maiden race and a first-level allowance.
Returning in the six-furlong Star Shoot here this past April, Sharp Secretary finished second to the redoubtable Biofuel and has made four of her five subsequent starts in stakes, highlighted by a win in the seven-furlong Duchess on Aug. 7.
Sharp Secretary has raced against older rivals just once, winning at 6 1/2 furlongs under second-level allowance terms in her start prior to the Duchess, and is coming into the Bessarabian off a fourth-place finish in the 6 1/2-furlong Ruling Angel here Oct. 20.
“She’d been off a couple of months, but I was a little disappointed,” said Richards, who had watched Sharp Secretary set the pace before giving way to be beaten 3 1/2 lengths in the Ruling Angel.
“I don’t think she wants to be in front; she’s a little better with something to run at. She tries hard; I think she’d run hard at any distance.
“It all depends on the set-up. She’d like a bit of speed to run at Sunday, but so probably would half the field.”
Sharp Secretary, along with her stakes-winning stablemate Dancingall Theway, will be among eight horses with Richards at his off-season headquarters in Florida at Palm Meadows.
“I might try and buy and claim a couple here before it’s over,” said Richards, who will be leaving assistant trainer Laura Delorey in charge of the outfit during the final week of the meeting. “I’ll try to run a little bit down there, too, to take the string out of the stall rentals.”
◗ The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will be holding its final meeting of the season at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the third-floor Champions area. Yours truly will be the guest emcee at a head table with Glenn Crouter, Woodbine’s vice president of media relations and sponsorship; Sandy Hawley, who needs no introduction; and trainer John LeBlanc Jr.
◗ Woodbine plans to add extra races to its schedule this week with nine races scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday and 11 for Saturday. Friday’s card will consist of its usual 10 races and 11 will be carded on Sunday, which has been the norm in recent weeks.