09/25/2008 12:00AM

Locals hurt by Akronism shipping in

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Saturday's Avowal is a new overnight stakes offering this year and obviously has been well received.

In fact, the $100,000 turf race for 3-year-old fillies was so popular that two of the 16 entrants had to be placed on an also-eligible list when the field was drawn on Wednesday.

First preference was given to topweights under the weight-for-age guidelines of the allowance conditions but, with a host of the older entrants getting in with the minimum 117 pounds, lifetime earnings became the tiebreaker.

None of the calculations mattered much to Akronism, who is scheduled to return from her Delaware Park base in search of her third win in as many appearances at Woodbine.

Akronism, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old who is trained by Tim Ritchey, shipped in and won the Grade 3 Royal North over six furlongs of turf on Aug. 2 and returned to win the Grade 3 Seaway over seven furlongs of Polytrack on Sept. 6.

"She'll go to Keeneland to train after this race," said Ritchey, adding that an appearance in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint was still a possibility for Akronism.

Eurico Rosa da Silva rode Akronism in her races here, but he also has ridden four-time stakes winner You Will Love Me in each of her 15 career starts and will stick with that Ontario-sired filly for this race.

Slade Callaghan picks up the mount on Akronism, the 121-pound highweight.

Leading the locals will be Glitter Rox, an Ontario-bred 4-year-old who is trained by Ian Black and ridden by Chantal Sutherland.

Glitter Rox became a stakes winner in her last start, the Belle Geste, an overnight seven-furlong stakes restricted to Ontario-foaled fillies and mares.

"I breezed her a couple of slow halves since then, and she seems to be in good order," said Black. "I would say this is probably her best distance."

Marina Ballerina, a 4-year-old who left Glitter Rox 3 1/4 lengths back in second place with a wire-to-wire score in the Repercussion over 6 1/2-furlongs of turf here July 9, failed to shake loose early and wound up third in the Royal North.

Marina Ballerina was back on top of her game when facing Akronism in the Seaway, however, and she led through sharp fractions before giving way grudgingly to finish second, beaten a length.

Marina Ballerina is trained by Sam DiPasquale, and Justin Stein retains the mount.

Dance to My Tune, who finished second in the Belle Geste, ran fifth eight days later in the 1 1/16-mile Algoma but could rebound in a big way here.

Constant Montpellier retains the mount on Dance to My Tune, an Ontario-bred 4-year-old who is trained by Dave Cotey.

Another interesting prospect is Sprung, who will be trying a turf sprint for the first time in her career and recently has been competitive in top open company.

Patrick Husbands rides Sprung, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old who is trained by Mark Casse.

Nearctic runners getting ready

Starticus breezed four furlongs in 46.20 here Thursday morning in preparation for the Grade 2, $500,000 Nearctic on Oct. 4, a six-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Regular rider Corey Fraser was aboard for the drill, which was the fastest of 14 at the distance.

"He looked good, and came back real good," said Ralph Biamonte, who conditions Starticus for Danny Lococo.

Starticus, a 4-year-old gelding, is heading into the Nearctic off a game second-place finish behind Mr. Nightlinger, perhaps the top turf sprinter on the continent, in the Arlington Sprint over 5 1/2 furlongs of turf on Aug. 23.

Thursday's work was the second for Starticus since the Arlington Sprint. He breezed four furlongs in 48.80 on Sept. 13.

"The first one was easy; we let him do a little more this time," said Biamonte, adding that he had caught Starticus galloping out five furlongs in 58.60. "He still was well within himself. Now, we'll just keep our fingers crossed. It's going to be a tough race."

Heading the probable field for the Nearctic is last year's winner, Heros Reward, who is based in Maryland with trainer Dale Capuano.

Heros Reward, a 6-year-old gelding, returned to win the Grade 3 Highlander over six furlongs of turf on June 22.

Other possible shippers include Off Duty, who is trained by Lynn Whiting at Churchill Downs; Quietly Mine, who is with Christophe Clement at Belmont, where he breezed three furlongs in 37.66 on Thursday; Starvinsky, based at Fair Hill with Bruce Jackson; and True to Tradition, who is with Scott Lake at Delaware.

Santiago Atitlan, who shipped here from Germany early this month along with Canadian International contender Quijano, prepped for the Nearctic with a third-place finish in a Polytrack allowance sprint here Sept. 6.

Storm Treasure, who finished second behind Santiago Atitlan in his local debut for Steve Asmussen, also is heading for the Nearctic, as is The Great Caruso, who finished second in the Highlander for trainer Malcolm Pierce.

The Nearctic will be run as the eighth of 11 races on a card which also includes the Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International for 3-year-olds and upward; the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor for fillies and mares; and the Grade 3, $300,000 Summer for 2-year-olds

Late finish

The field for Wednesday's eighth and final race did not go to the post until 10:47 p.m., some 40 minutes behind schedule, due to a long delay between the sixth and seventh races.

The problems began following the sixth race, which went off at 9:17 p.m., when Saint Paraskevy was pulled up after the finish.

The horse ambulance arrived but the hydraulic system failed and the backup ambulance was summoned.

By the time Saint Paraskevy had been taken back to his barn and examined by the attending veterinarian, the field for race 7 was going into the gate at 9:58 p.m., 11 minutes behind schedule.

Then Grenade acted up in the gate, ejecting rider Patrick Husbands. Grenade was scratched, and Husbands was taken to the infirmary by the ontrack ambulance.

By the time the ambulance was back in place, another half-hour had passed and the seventh race went off at 10:24 p.m.

"It was the back-to-back episodes that made it so significant," said Steve Koch, Woodbine's vice president, Thoroughbred racing, who was on duty Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, Husbands had shaken off his injuries and was back in the saddle here on Thursday afternoon.

Saint Paraskevy, examined Thursday by Ontario Racing Commission veterinarian Greg Taylor, also appeared to be okay.