09/15/2010 2:08PM

Odds figure shorter on Grand Adventure this year

Michael Burns
Grand Adventure, with Bill O’Connor up, gallops Tuesday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Mark Frostad and owner Sam-Son Farm rarely miss a Woodbine Mile, having been represented in 11 of the first 13 runnings.

On Sunday, the outfit will be looking for its third win in the Woodbine Mile, with Grand Adventure set to go postward in Grade 1, $1 million turf feature for 3-year-olds and up.

Grand Adventure, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old, will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Quiet Resolve, who won the 1999 running of the Woodbine Mile via a disqualification, and Soaring Free, who scored without an assist from the stewards in 2004.

After winning the Summer Stakes and earning a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf as a 2-year-old, Grand Adventure had a tough trip at Santa Anita and emerged with an injury that sent him to the bench.

Returning to the races here in August 2009, Grand Adventure won under second-level allowance terms and then took a flyer in the Woodbine Mile, where he faltered to finish ninth in the field of 10 at 21-1.

The Grand Adventure who will appear in the Woodbine Mile this year is a much-improved version of that animal and will be nowhere near that price.

“We’d always had this race in the back of our minds as long as he was going to perform well,” Frostad said. “The mile is probably his best trip, and we have to be happy with the way he’s run this year.”

The colt displayed steady improvement since returning to Woodbine following appearances in New Orleans and Lexington earlier this spring, putting together a graded stakes double on turf in the seven-furlong Connaught Cup and the one-mile King Edward.

The streak came to an end last time as Grand Adventure stretched out to 1 1/8 miles for the Nijinsky and ended second behind stablemate Windward Islands over a yielding course here July 24.

Following the Nijinsky, Frostad announced his intention of training Grand Adventure up to the Woodbine Mile and has had no reason to regret that decision.

“His last race was a hard race on deep turf,” Frostad said. “We wanted to give him lots of time.”

Frostad and Sam-Son also plan to be represented in Sunday’s two supporting features, with Windward Islands on tap for the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer and Magic Broomstick set for the Grade 2 Canadian.

A Kentucky-bred 6-year-old gelding, Windward Islands returned four weeks after his Nijinsky score to finish second behind Marsh Side in the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 1/4 miles of soft turf.

“He’s certainly done well this year,” Frostad said. “He’s in good order.”

Marsh Side, the defending champion in the Northern Dancer, will be looking to defend his title but will be picking up four pounds, while Windward Islands sheds two from his Northern Dancer defeat.

“I don’t think my horse liked the turf as soft as it was last time,” Frostad said. “I think he’ll be better on firmer turf.”

Magic Broomstick, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old, will be looking for her first stakes win in the Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Unraced at 2, Magic Broomstick debuted here last October and graduated over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Fair Grounds this March.

Back at Woodbine, Magic Broomstick moved through her first three conditions in as many appearances, before making her stakes debut in the July 18 Dance Smartly.

Magic Broomstick ran well that day, rallying to be beaten 1 1/4 lengths over 1 1/8 miles of turf, and then was freshened with an eye toward the Canadian.

“She had a good, long break up to this race,” Frostad said. “Hopefully, she can close a little more ground.”

Chantal Sutherland will replace the sidelined Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard Magic Broomstick.

New Normal ready for Natalma

Frostad also will have participants in Saturday’s Natalma, with New Normal entered in the Grade 3, one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies.

New Normal, a Kentucky-bred, is owned by Robert S. Evans, who also campaigns Marsh Side.

In two starts to date, both over seven furlongs of turf, New Normal finished a troubled fourth and then graduated in front-running fashion.

“She’s done everything right,” Frostad said. “I know it’s early days, but she looks like a nice filly.

“I don’t think the mile will be a problem for her; she’s a big, strong filly.”

New Normal will be one of nine fillies in the Natalma, which includes the Todd Pletcher-trained invaders More Than Real and Street Chimes.

Shippers invade for Summer

Saturday’s card also will feature the Summer Stakes, a Grade 3, one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds, which, like the Natalma, is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race.

The Summer’s eight-horse field includes shippers Pluck, trained by Pletcher; Forum, conditioned by George Weaver; and Ronin Dax, from the barn of Robert Troeger.

Stormy Rush, who is trained by Roger Attfield and will be looking to remain undefeated while making his third start, breezed five furlongs on the turf training course in 59.80 seconds here Wednesday.

Rockin Heat, who is trained by Reade Baker and was supplemented to the Summer at a cost of $5,000, breezed four furlongs over the same surface in 50.20.

◗ Ghost Mistress, an impressive maiden winner at a mile and 70 yards in her second start for trainer Danny Vella, had been pointing to the Natalma but has had her campaign cut short.

“She has a minor injury,” Vella said. “The bad side is that she’s done for the year; the good side is she’ll be okay.

“She’ll go down south this winter, and get ready for a 3-year-old campaign. She’s a good filly.”

◗ Horses in the Woodbine Mile and Northern Dancer are subject to Woodbine’s stakes race surveillance program. Under the terms of the program, all entrants must be in their stalls here at 11 a.m. Friday.

Blood samples will be taken from each entrant, under the auspices of the Ontario Racing Commission. Horses will be subject to random checks by Woodbine security until 8 a.m. Sunday morning, at which point there will be continuous surveillance until the horses head over for the paddock.