09/03/2010 1:13PM

Rice decision with Mother Russia will make Avowal difference


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Mother Russia, based at Saratoga with trainer Linda Rice, was entered here in both Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Seaway over seven furlongs on Polytrack and in Sunday’s $100,000 Avowal over seven furlongs on turf.

Her choice will be critical, particularly to the complexion of the Avowal, where she would be a leading contender in the overnight stakes for fillies and mares.

Mother Russia, a New York-bred 4-year-old, shipped here last month and finished a good second behind the odds-on California invader Unzip Me in the Grade 3 Royal North at six furlongs on the turf course.

Mike Luzzi had the mount that day and again has the call on Mother Russia, who would begin from post 5 in the Avowal’s nine-horse field.

Mullins Beach, third in the Royal North after capturing the six-furlong allowance prep which was taken off the turf, will be looking to turn the tables on Mother Russia here Sunday.

“I thought that was a big race for her,” said Malcolm Pierce, who trains the homebred 4-year-old for owner Eugene Melnyk. “She’s trained very well since then.”

Mullin’s Beach’s regular rider, Eurico Rosa da Silva, begins a three-day suspension on Sunday, and Jono Jones will ride the filly.

Pierce also will send out Elision, who will be making her first appearance since winning a third-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles of turf at the Fair Grounds on April 9.

“She just went bad on us, but she’s ready to get started again now,” said Pierce, who trains the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old for her owner and breeder Pin Oak Stable.

Glitter Rox, who won last year’s Royal North and finished second in the Avowal, will be seeking her first win in her sixth start of this season.

“She’s 6 years old now,” said Ian Black, who trains the homebred Glitter Rox for owners Joe and Ellen MacLellan and partners. “I just don’t think she’s as good as she was last year.”

Black also will send out Rebecca’s Song, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old who will be making her stakes debut for owner Ron Clarkson.

“I’m trying to get her a little black type,” said Black. “I think she’s a little better on turf.

Tiller in thick of sales stakes

Trainer Bob Tiller, a veteran of the yearling sales stakes game with a total of 12 winners dating back to Elated Guy in 1991, has cross-entered three of his candidates for Monday’s six-race extravaganza.

Tiller will make his opening gambit here Sunday with Race the Gold, who is entered in the Vice Regent but is back on the overnight for Monday’s Kenora.

The $125,000 Vice Regent is a one-mile turf stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds, while the Kenora is a six-furlong Polytrack race for 3-year-olds and upward.

A $75,000 buy at the local select sale who races for The Very Dry Stable, Race the Gold became a stakes winner last out in the Deputy Minister, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here July 28.

Race the Gold also finished second in both the Achievement for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds at six furlongs and in the Bold Ruckus at six furlongs on turf for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

“I don’t think he’d have any problem with the mile but we’ll take a look at both races, and decide where we’re going,” said Tiller. “We have to look at where we’re going after this. That’s one of the factors, too.”

Race the Gold is one of three Tiller trainees entered in the Kenora, which the trainer has won on five previous occasions.

His other Kenora candidates are Do You Believe It, a $60,000 yearling owned by 3 Sons Racing Stable, and Dancing Bajan, a 6-year-old gelding who was a $35,000 sales purchase and races for the same owner.

Dancing Bajan also is entered in Monday’s Elgin, the 1 1/16 mile yearling sales stakes in which he finished fifth last year and second in 2008 after ending the runner-up in the Kenora as a 3-year-old.

While Dancer’s Bajan is the leading earner among all yearling sales stakes entrants with $855,338, he has not visited the winner’s circle in 10 starts over the last two seasons.

Wonder Phil needs to find kick

Tiller also will be represented in Monday’s Simcoe, with Wonder Phil entered in that seven-furlong stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Wonder Phil, a $10,000 purchase who races for owner Frank DiGiulio Jr., has finished third in each of his three starts, including the six-furlong Vandal for Ontario foals on July 31.

“I kind of thought he’d win the other day,” said Tiller, who had watched Wonder Phil end 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner as the odds-on choice in an Ontario-sired maiden race at six furlongs here Aug. 20.

“I think seven-eighths will suit him better. He runs evenly – he hasn’t given us that kick we’re looking for.”

Black singles out targets

Black, who had nominated both Don’s Folly and D’s Wando to the Kenora, Elgin, and Halton, entered each horse in just one of Monday’s six $125,000 yearling sales stakes.

Don’s Folly, a $45,000 yearling, will go in the Kenora, while D’s Wando, purchased for $32,000, has opted for the one mile of turf in the Halton for the same age group.

Doctor Jack, a $28,000 yearling, also will represent Black in the Kenora.

Rahy’s Attorney may pass on Mile

Black also reports that while Rahy’s Attorney is nominated to this year’s Woodbine Mile, he is probably headed to Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park) for the Sept. 18 President’s Cup.

“That race probably makes more sense for him,” said Black.

The President’s Cup is a $250,000 turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, while the Woodbine Mile, which Rahy’s Attorney won in 2008, offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $1 million.

Rahy’s Attorney, a homebred 6-year-old gelding who races for Joe and Ellen MacLellan and partners, is coming off a neck score in the With Approval, a 1 1/8 mile overnight turf stakes for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and upward here Aug. 14.