07/14/2010 5:38PM

Mr. Foricos Two U returns at Woodbine


ETOBICOKE, Ontario − It’s always news when a Queen’s Plate runner-up makes his first start the following season, as Mr. Foricos Two U will Friday in a seven-furlong allowance at Woodbine.

Beaten a neck by Eye of the Leopard in the 2009 Queen’s Plate, Mr. Foricos Two U will be coming off a layoff of more than seven months.

“He had a little more time off in Ocala than we had planned,” said Catherine Day Phillips, who trains Mr. Foricos Two U for Rocco d’Alimonte and Frank Annecchini. “But since he’s come back, he’s been training forwardly. He was a little bit rank as a 3-year-old. He’s matured out of that, in the mornings, at least.”

Mr. Foricos Two U won his maiden at seven furlongs and his first allowance condition at 1 1/16 miles, both in Ontario-sired company, before running in the Queen’s Plate.

He went on to finish fourth in the Prince of Wales and fifth in the Breeders’.

After Mr. Foricos Two U finished third in the restricted Vice Regent over one mile on turf Sept. 6, Day Phillips decided a rest was in order.

“We turned him out, gave him a little break,” Day Phillips said. “We’d sort of rushed him. He’d been asked to do a lot in a short time.”

Mr. Foricos Two U made one more start before the end of the meeting, losing by a nose in a restricted second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles Dec. 5.

“He ran well, but he if he’d had another breeze of two he might have run better,” Day Phillips said.

Jono Jones will ride Mr. Foricos Two U for the first time Friday.

Victory Pass stretches out after win

Victory Pass, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Day Phillips, will try for his second straight win in Friday’s featured eighth race.

After losing his first seven career starts, finishing second three times, Victory Pass broke through in impressive fashion when he won his maiden over one mile on turf here May 24. On Friday, Victory Pass will stretch out to 1 1/8 miles on turf for a first-level allowance.

“He’s always been a nice horse, but there have been issues that took some time to get around,” said Day Phillips. “He seems to have come into his own this year. He’s more relaxed, and mature.

Smokey Fire tries Bold Venture

Hollywood Hit and Fatal Bullet will attract most of the attention heading into Saturday’s $150,000 Bold Venture, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint that has a field of four.

But another talented sprinter is in the mix: Smokey Fire, who will be making his season debut for trainer Sid Attard.

Smokey Fire did not make his debut until last spring, when he was 4, but he won his first two races.

“We brought him in as a 2-year-old, and he had a chip in his knee, so we sent him back home,” Attard said. “As a 3-year-old, he had a chip in the same knee, so we sent him back to the farm in Kentucky and just gave him lots of time.”

Smokey Fire continued to improve throughout his first campaign and put the icing on the cake with a victory in the six-furlong Kennedy Road on Nov. 21.

Smokey Fire then headed back to Dr. Copelan’s Sunnyside Farm in Kentucky and returned to Woodbine early this May.

“He’s a hard-trying horse, and we decided to give him some extra time,” Attard said.

Two stakes shots for Fairlie

Trainer Scott Fairlie will be represented in two stakes Saturday, when Devilish Stunt runs here in the $150,000 Colin and Milwaukee Appeal ships for the Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap.

The Colin is an open six-furlong race for 2-year-olds, and the Delaware Handicap is a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares.

Devilish Stunt, a Kentucky-bred gelding, finished third in his debut and then romped by six lengths to win his maiden in a 4 1/2-furlong race.

“When he worked, he’d been very laid back,” Fairlie said. “His first race was just an education. In his second start, it was like a light bulb went off in his head. He figured out what the game was about.”

Devilish Stunt came back to breeze five furlongs in 59.60 seconds here last Friday. Chantal Sutherland has the call for the Colin, which drew a five-horse field.

Stewart Elliott rode Devilish Stunt in his maiden victory and also rode Milwaukee Appeal in the Hill ’n’ Dale Stakes on that June 20 card. Milwaukee Appeal was beaten a length by the streaking Tasty Temptation in the Hill ’n’ Dale.

On Saturday, Elliott will try to guide Milwaukee Appeal to her first win since last year’s Woodbine Oaks. Milwaukee Appeal also is nominated to the July 25 Ontario Matron here at Woodbine.

“The Ontario Matron is only a mile and a sixteenth,” Fairlie said. “The mile and a quarter is a better distance for her.”

Milwaukee Appeal has started twice at 1 1/4 miles, finishing third here in the Queen’s Plate and second in last year’s Alabama at Saratoga.

Tasty Temptation also was nominated to the Ontario Matron but will be making her next start out of town. Trainer Mark Casse said he plans to send Tasty Temptation to Saratoga for the Grade 1, $250,000 Ruffian over 1 1/8 miles Aug. 1. Tasty Temptation breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 here Wednesday,

Southdale works for turf debut

Southdale, trained by Ian Black, breezed five furlongs in 1:02 on the turf training track here Friday under regular rider Emma-Jayne Wilson.

The work was the first on turf for Southdale, who is slated to make his racing debut on the surface in next Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Nijinsky.

Black said he also plans to start Rahy’s Attorney in the Nijinsky. Rahy’s Attorney won last year’s Nijinsky, which was run at 1 1/4 miles on turf, but the race has been shortened to 1 1/8 miles this year.