10/16/2008 11:00PM

Newest apprentice aims to return in '09


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - There's a new bug in town, and her name is Krista Carignan.

And while Carignan had failed to find the range with her first eight mounts at Woodbine, she did score with her first of three starters at Fort Erie last Tuesday, and it should be only a short matter of time before she finds the charmed circle here.

"This track is beautiful, and everybody has been really nice to me here," said Carignan. "I really liked Fort Erie, too. It felt pretty good, winning that race the other day."

Carignan, 20, was born in northern Alberta but spent her formative years in neighboring Saskatchewan.

Although she started riding at an early age, Carignan had her first introduction to the racetrack at age 13, mucking out stalls at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon for trainer Jim Hoffman.

Five years later, Carignan was riding at Marquis and had recorded 2 wins from 14 starts when she called it a season.

"I really wasn't ready; I'd started too soon," said Carignan. "I wanted to get a little more experience."

Carignan came east to follow up on that plan, as she galloped horses here for Jim Day and Earl Barnett, and then went south to work with trainer Roger Attfield at Payson Park.

But, back at Marquis Downs the following spring, Carignan had no immediate intentions of resuming her riding career.

"I was going to gallop horses and try to get some money together to come back here to Woodbine," said Carignan. "But they only had had eight riders in the room."

The shortage led Carignan to swing back into action and she had ridden 18 winners in the first eight weeks of the meeting when her campaign was cut short with five weeks remaining.

"I was riding a 2-year-old, and he clipped heels and went down," said Carignan. "I broke my arm."

Carignan, cast and all, went to Edmonton that fall and did the best she could while working as a groom with Hoffman. While there she met agent Bob Fowlis, who floated the idea of her coming to Stampede Park this spring.

"He was very persistent," said Carignan, who spent four months on holiday in New Zealand before resurfacing in Calgary this March and riding 13 winners at Stampede Park to finish in a tie for 11th in the standings.

Moving over to Northlands, Carignan was in the midst of a successful meeting when she met up with Arthur Silvera, the Woodbine trainer who had journeyed out with Discreet Commander for the Canadian Derby.

"He asked if I was interested in coming back to Woodbine," said Carignan.

Carignan put that thought on hold but, after finishing the Northlands meeting on Oct. 5 in ninth place with 26 wins, she decided to head east.

"It was all very last-minute," said Carignan, who was recommended to veteran jockey agent Alan Raymond and rode her first race here on Oct. 10.

With the present being her immediate concern, Carignan has had little time to make definitive plans.

"So much has changed, just in the last couple of weeks," she said. "I'll see how the rest of this meet goes.

"But, I'd like to go to work in Florida this winter, and I'll more than likely be back here next spring."

Tell It As It Is back on main track

Tell It As It Is came up big when making her last start as a 3-year-old in the 2007 Maple Leaf, in which she was beaten a length while finishing third behind a pair of 4-year-olds.

On Sunday, Tell It As It Is will be racing on the main track for the first time since then in the $175,000 Maple Leaf, a 1 1/4-mile stakes for fillies and mares which attracted a field of seven.

"I think she's equally good on turf and Polytrack, and she'll love the mile and a quarter," said Jim Smith, who trains Tell It As It Is for the Cinnamont Stable of Richard Lister.

"She broke her maiden on Polytrack, in first start as a 2-year-old, and finished second last year to Spring Waltz, who went on to bigger and better things.

"I'm just worried about her getting jarred up on it."

To that end, Smith has Tell It As It Is do the majority of her training on the dirt training track.

But the filly still has had her ups and downs in five starts this year, all on the grass.

The highlight of her campaign came here June 18 when she became a stakes winner in the Tattling over 1 1/16 miles. But the filly then was victimized by a walking pace here in the 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly, closing to be beaten just 2 1/4 lengths as the fourth-place finisher.

And her luck didn't get any better in her next start when Tell It As It Is shipped to Mountaineer for the West Virginia Presidents over a mile and 70 yards of turf.

"She never really got an opportunity to run," said Smith, who watched Tell It As It Is trail the field on the inside while the pace accelerated and then close gamely with a six-wide run to finish fifth, beaten 2o1/2 lengths.

Tell It As It Is has started just once since that Aug. 2 Mountaineer race, finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Canadian here Sept. 7 under regular rider Emma-Jayne Wilson.

"The turf was just too deep," said Smith. "Emma said she had a really hard time. She was struggling through it."

Breeders' Cup tune-ups

Van Lear Rose and Grand Adventure both had their major Breeders' Cup tune-ups here Friday morning.

Van Lear Rose, who is pre-entered in the Juvenile Fillies, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 with assistant trainer Candice Bowyer in the irons.

An Ontario-bred trained by Catherine Day-Phillips, Van Lear Rose was scheduled to van to Louisville, Ky., on Saturday and then fly Sunday to Los Angeles.

Van Lear Rose's regular rider, Chantal Sutherland, has moved her tack to Santa Anita and has the call for Friday's BC Juvenile Fillies.

Grand Adventure worked seven furlongs in 1:24.60 on the turf training track in preparation for Saturday's Juvenile Turf, in which he earned an automatic berth by virtue of his win here in the Summer Stakes.

Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who rode Grand Adventure to victory in his two starts, was in the irons as the colt broke off about five lengths behind stablemates Forever Red and Queen of the Rings and ran them down in the shadow of the wire under minimal encouragement.

Grand Adventure, a Kentucky-bred trained by Mark Frostad, is scheduled to van to Louisville on Tuesday and fly on to Los Angeles the following day.

Rafael Bejarano will ride Grand Adventure in the Juvenile Turf.