10/05/2008 12:00AM

Marsh Side pays Canadian International high


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A rejuvenated Marsh Side stole the show in the Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International at Woodbine Saturday, earning a berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Oct 25 at Santa Anita in the BC Win and You’re In race.

Marsh Side returned a record $61.20 to win in the mile and a half turf event, which eclipsed the previous record of $57.20 set by Nassipour in 1985. He earned $1.2 million for owner Robert Evans, who turned him over to trainer Neil Drysdale this year after his previous trainer, Michael Dickinson, retired.

With Javier Castellano aboard, Marsh Side stalked in third most of the way, while Marlang pressed Lucarno through moderate fractions over a course labeled firm.

Marsh Side took control at the three-sixteenths pole, and prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths over Spice Route, who rallied between horses to finish second over a wide-closing Champs Elysees. Favored Doctor Dino never reached serious contention.

It was the first time that Castellano had ridden Marsh Side, who trailed the field in the 2007 International. He was coming off a deceptively good fourth-place finish in the local prep for the International, the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf.

"He gave me a good run today," said Castellano. "I got into a good position. I had to hustle him a little bit. I was in a perfect spot on the backside, right behind the two leaders.

I stayed inside on the rail, which I think was the best part of the course. I swung around a couple of horses [on the far turn]. Turning for home, I kept riding, and the horse responded very well."

Seaside Retreat outran Doctor Dino for fourth. Completing the order of finish were Mourilyan, Lauro, Lucarno, Quijano and Marlang.

Marsh Side covered the distance in 2:28.73.

Jim McAleney, Woodbine's leading rider, was elated with the effort put forth by Spice Route, who at 38-1 was the second-longest shot in the race.

"This horse settled so well" said McAleney. "I was so excited at the three-sixteenths pole. I was watching Marsh Side, and he looked like the horse to beat, and I felt like we had enough turn of foot to catch him. The winner ran a brilliant race, but my horse did, too."

Garrett Gomez, who won the Northern Dancer aboard Champs Elysees, said he was farther back than he wanted to be.

"I would have liked to have been a little closer," said Gomez. "He got himself shuffled back a little bit. From then on, I was just playing the waiting game. He put his kick in, but we tried to make up too much ground with no pace."

E.P. Taylor: Folk Opera gets 'a gift'

Folk Opera, confidently handled by Frankie Dettori, led every step of the way to score by 1 3/4 lengths in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

The $1 million E.P. Taylor is a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Carrying the colors of Godolphin Stable for trainer Saaed bin Suroor, Folk Opera was a popular $5.10 winner, with Callwood Dancer closing from just off the pace to finish second at 12-1.

Sealy Hill, in her best effort of the season, finished a head behind Callwood Dancer in third with J'ray another half-length back in fourth.

J'ray was the 4.35-1 second choice off her victory here Sept. 7 in the 1o1/8-mile Canadian, in which Callwood Dancer finished second.

Toque de Queda, a French invader, stalked the pace while appearing to be in perfect striking position, but flattened out to finish fifth in the field of nine at 4.45-1.

Folk Opera, a 4-year-old Irish-bred, came into the race off an eighth-place finish in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille at 1 1/2 miles, but had won the Groupo2 Prix Jean Romanet at 1 1/4 miles on turf two starts back.

"It was a gift," said Dettori, after being allowed to stroll on the lead through an opening quarter-mile of 26.41 seconds, a half in 51.55, and six furlongs in 1:16.60.

Folk Opera shipped in from France and will head home on Monday. Although she would have to be supplemented to the Breeders' Cup, bin Suroor said that will be under consideration.

"Well, she has a free ticket now," he said. "It was a good performance today.

- Bill Tallon

Nearctic: True to Tradition hangs on

True to Tradition held off 52-1 shot Rouse the Cat in the final strides to take the $502,800 Nearctic Stakes, a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.

True to Tradition broke on top and then proceeded to track front-runner Starticus through fractions of 22.63 seconds and 44.99 in the six-furlong turf dash.

True to Tradition drew alongside Starticus early in the stretch and they dueled for a furlong before True to Tradition edged by at the sixteenth pole. Rouse the Cat saved ground until midstretch before being angled wide, and his rally fell a nose shy. Starticus edged Heros Reward for third, and favored Hellvelyn wound up sixth in the 12-horse field.

Kendrick Carmouche rode True to Tradition for trainer Scott Lake, who said the son of Rahy will go on to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.

Lake said he shipped the gelding to Woodbine early in the week to help get him acclimated to the surroundings.

"With the ship up here being 10 hours, we didn't want to get stuck in traffic," said Lake. "He settled in good when we got him up here. He was happy and ready to go on Wednesday morning."

True to Tradition ($18.40) covered the distance in 1:09.11. He banked $300,000 for the partnership of Ben Mondello and Adam Russo.

- Ron Gierkink

Summer: Grand Adventure gets it done

Grand Adventure edged Skipadate by a head in the $303,900 Summer under Woodbine's leading stakes-winning rider, Eurico Rosa da Silva.

The Summer, a one-mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds, was a Win and You're In race for the BC Juvenile Turf.

Grand Adventure, a Kentucky-bred owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, stalked the early pace of Win and Reign and Jess Not Jesse before rallying into the stretch.

Da Silva, who won his 12th stakes of the meeting, dropped his whip in the closing yards, but Grand Adventure finished gamely to prevail over Skipadate, whom he had passed in midstretch but who was coming back at the finish.

Grand Adventure, who had won his maiden in his only previous start at seven furlongs of turf, returned $18.10 as the fourth choice.

"He was very relaxed where he was, and when I asked him he gave me a big kick, just like he did in his first race," said da Silva.

Skipadate had a five-length advantage on third-place Star of David, with Utterly Cool, the favorite, another 4 1/4 lengths back in fourth.

Utterly Cool, who was coming off impressive victories in his first two starts, seemed poised to take charge turning for home but came up empty.

Grand Adventure picked up $180,000 after finishing in 1:35.86 over a firm course.

After the race, Frostad said Grand Adventure would proceed to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup as long as he comes out of his race in good order.

- Bill Tallon