09/04/2009 11:00PM

Kenora kicks off sales stakes card


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A diverse group of fillies, colts and geldings, ranging in age from 2 to 7 years old, will go postward here Monday in six $125,000 stakes races. The common denominator is that all went through the ring at local yearling auctions, making them permanently eligible for the yearling sales stakes here each Labor Day.

The races also serve as timely advertisements for the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's yearling sale, with the select session to be held at the Woodbine sales pavilion beginning at 1 p.m. on Tuesday and the open session starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The yearling sales stakes program also offer a $10,000 credit to the winning trainer, to be spent at the auction. The asterisk is that horses who have been claimed are not eligible and that will come into play in the Kenora, the six-furlong yearling sales stakes for 3-year-olds and upward.

Drunken Love, trained by Norm McKnight, was claimed for $62,500 three starts back, and Lake Secret, conditioned by Don MacRae, was haltered for $60,000 from his latest. Both are leading contenders in the field of five for the Kenora, which will kick off the 11-race card.

But Drunken Love and Lake Secret will have to deal with Legal Move, who left both in his wake in last year's Kenora when trained by Mark Casse. Legal Move, a 5-year-old horse, was a $45,000 yearling buy for his original owners and was purchased for $245,000 by Bruno Schickedanz at Keeneland last November.

Now trained by Mark Fournier, Legal Move has had a breather since finishing fourth in a difficult renewal of the Grade 3 Highlander over six furlongs of turf here June 21.

"I sent him up to the farm," said Fournier, who took over as Legal Move's trainer last November. "His last two breezes I've been very happy with; he's galloped out strong."

Legal Move is a course and distance specialist, with seven of his 10 wins coming here at six furlongs.

Drunken Love, runner-up in last year's Kenora, was claimed on June 21 and already has won the Daryl Wells Sr. Memorial over five furlongs of turf at Fort Erie and the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton here.

Lake Secret, who finished fourth in the Kenora last year but won the 2007 renewal for former trainer Vito Armata, hasn't seen action since being claimed on July 19, but has been working exceptionally well.