11/26/2002 12:00AM

Next stop Hollywood for Kimberlite Pipe


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Locally based Kimberlite Pipe, the winner of Hawthorne's R.F. Carey Memorial in his last start, is on his way to Hollywood Park for Saturday's $500,000 Citation Handicap.

A 6-year-old owned by Prairie Star Racing and John Gunther, Kimberlite Pipe came to current trainer Mike Wright Jr. in the spring of 2001 and went on to win three top-level allowances and to place in two stakes at the meeting.

But Kimberlite Pipe failed to find the range in five starts here this year before winning the Grade 3 R.F. Carey, a one-mile turf race that was his first stakes score since the 1999 Louisiana Derby.

"He had a couple of mishaps in the summer," said assistant trainer Alison Crook. "He was just coming into his game, and then there wasn't any turf racing here for him."

The field for the Citation, a Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile turf race, is expected to include Good Journey, winner of this year's Atto Mile. Kimberlite Pipe finished eighth here in the 2001 Atto Mile, beaten four lengths following a traffic-filled trip.

The Wright outfit also should be represented here in Sunday's $125,000 Valedictory Handicap, with Lucky Molar a candidate for the 1 3/4-mile marathon.

Lucky Molar, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Richard Englander, won for a $32,000 claiming price in his first outing for Wright here in July and came back just over three weeks later to win the Seagram Cup. Both races were at 1 1/16 miles.

In his last start, also at 1 1/16 miles, in the Nov. 9 Woodbine Slots Cup, Lucky Molar finished a close fifth after a wide rally.

Barn area to be overhauled

The Woodbine barn area will be undergoing a massive face-lift during the off-season.

Barns 7 and 7A, both of which were destroyed by the fire that claimed the lives of 32 horses here Aug. 4, are being replaced. The completion date is targeted for the end of March, weather permitting.

Also, construction of a new barn - Barn 24 - is scheduled to be finished by June.

In the meantime, almost all of the existing barns will be undergoing extensive renovations, which are scheduled to begin next week and extend through next season.

Barns 1 through 12, the oldest structures here, will be retrofitted, beginning with electrical and lighting upgrades. Washer-dryer rooms will be added, but 12 tack rooms in each barn will be eliminated.

Some tack rooms have been used as residences, but as of Jan. 1, 2003, the dormitories will be the only living quarters allowed on the backstretch.

The second phase of the work on Barns 1 through 12 will include fire safety upgrades such as adding sprinklers, widening shed rows, and repairing roofs and eaves troughs.

Also, renovations will be continuing in the sales barn area, where work on two of the six barns has been completed. The other barns are scheduled to be ready by mid-March.

Gerrie Kretschmer, vice president of properties for the Woodbine Entertainment Group, said the cost for the backstretch improvements here is estimated at $6.5 million over the next two years.

Tough Chick heads half-dozen in feature

There are full fields galore on Thursday's 10-race card, but the featured fourth race, a $100,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares, contains just six runners set to run 1 1/16 miles.

Tuff Chick, trained by Roger Attfield, should be well-backed under Slade Callaghan. She has had several starts and stops in her 2002 campaign, during which she has won twice in eight outings, banking $128,324.

Tuff Chick finished second in an April 18 allowance at Keeneland before shipping here and capturing a $62,500 optional claimer in May. She was shelved after a subpar showing June 2, and was second against $80,000 opposition when she returned in September on the grass.

Tuff Chick won an $80,000 race on the main track Oct. 4, but was overmatched most recently against the likes of Byzantine and Strait From Texas in the River Memories Stakes on turf.

Facing off against Tuff Chick will be Gorilla My Dreams, Darling Katey, My Gabrielle, Judge Me Ifyoucan, and Dawn Edition.

Darling Katey won her last main-track start, at the second allowance level, Oct. 12, and was recently second to stakes winner Hot Talent in an $80,000 optional claimer on the grass. John Ross trains.

Singh hits century mark

Rohan Singh, who moved his tack to Ontario following the conclusion of the Assiniboia Downs meeting, has been attracting some favorable reviews here recently.

Singh, who finished second in the Assiniboia standings this year with 92 victories but was the leader in money won, has added five wins at Fort Erie and three at Woodbine to bring his 2002 total to an even 100.

"We felt it was the time to move up, test our abilities here," said Singh's agent, Larry Oberlander, who has represented the jockey for the past five years.

"We're very pleased. The response has been great. We've been riding a lot more horses for a lot more people than we though we would."

Singh, a 37-year-old native of Guyana, lives in Texas but has been competing in Manitoba for the past 10 years and was the leading rider there in 2000 and 2001. His wife, Darla, is one of the top trainers at Assiniboia.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink