11/17/2010 1:29PM

Layoff a question for Hailstone


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Hailstone stands out in Friday’s feature at Woodbine Racetrack, a first-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up, and his readiness off a seven-month layoff is what handicappers must ponder when sizing up his chances in the seven-furlong sprint.

Hailstone, a 3-year-old trained by Mark Casse, possesses a high-quality pedigree. He is by City Zip and out of Weekend Storm, the dam of Grade 1 Woodbine Mile winner Court Vision and stakes winner Smart Surprise. There are two classic winners from his second dam, Summer Squall and A.P. Indy.

Hailstone rallied for second when he debuted in a five-furlong maiden special April 3. Three weeks later in his last start, he graduated over 5 1/2 furlongs by three lengths, earning a big Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

Hailstone has worked five-eighths five times leading up to this engagement, and should be pretty fit, but Casse won with just 7 percent of his six-month-plus comebackers in allowance company over the past five years.

Kentucky shipper Secessionist is making his first start for trainer Malcolm Pierce, and leading rider Eurico Da Silva has the mount.

Secessionist finished first in two maiden special events, but was disqualified from purse money when he debuted at Arlington in June. He earned his diploma with an Beyer Figure of 82 on Oct. 8 at Keeneland, but was a flat fourth there most recently in a first-level allowance.

D’s Legend Storm, a 3-year-old trained by Earl Barnett, defeated older $32,000-claiming opposition in his next-to-last outing, and then doubled up against $50,000 3-year-olds in his last race. Emma Wilson inherits the mount from Da Silva on the gelding.

Norseman Racing Stable sends out the entry of Grapes and Red Spartan.

Grapes, trained by a hot Sid Attard, took the long way home when he was a nonthreatening fifth in his first allowance attempt Oct. 29.

Red Spartan is coming off back-to-back scores in $40,000 conditioned claiming company for trainer John Mattine, who has also been on a roll this fall.

The mighty Bug’s Boy made a wide bid exiting the turn en route to running fourth last time out in a six-furlong allowance. Seven-eighths is his preferred trip.

Bayland got away slowly before closing strongly to beat Ontario-sired allowance stock Nov. 3. He has been earning Beyers in the mid 70’s, and the Beyer par for this level 83.

Silver Rocket had some success in his three most recent races, all on the grass.