10/28/2009 11:00PM

River Memories requires more than one forecast


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It's tough to approach Saturday's River Memories Stakes without citing ifs, ands, or buts.

The River Memories, a $100,000 overnight stakes for fillies and mares, is scheduled to be run over one mile on the turf course. But with rain in the forecast, it would be no surprise if the River Memories were moved to the main track.

That would dramatically change the complexion of the 12-horse field.

Much Obliged and Points of Grace, both trained by Malcolm Pierce, are the most accomplished grass runners in the lineup, and both could run if the River Memories remains on turf.

Milwaukee Appeal looms the best on Polytrack and would be tough to beat if the River Memories is run around two turns on that surface over a mile and 70 yards.

Hello Maggie May and Amazing are entered in the River Memories as well as in Sunday's $150,000 Ontario Fashion, a six-furlong stakes for fillies and mares.

Much Obliged and Points of Grace both come off solid efforts here in the Grade 2 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race in which they finished third and fourth.

"Both fillies have been training very well," said Pierce. "Much Obliged could run on Poly or on firm turf. She's won on Poly before. If it's soft turf, I'd probably scratch her and go with Points of Grace."

"If it goes on Poly, I'll have to take a look at it," he said. "Much Obliged has won a race on Poly before."

Much Obliged's synthetic score came one start before the Canadian, in an open off-the-turf allowance at one mile and 70 yards. She scored by 4 3/4 lengths under regular rider Patrick Husbands.

Points of Grace won the Grade 2 Dance Smartly over 1 1/8 miles on good turf here this summer under returning rider Luis Contreras.

Milwaukee Appeal, meanwhile, would be trying older fillies and mares for the first time after faring well against both genders within her age group.

Trained by Scott Fairlie, Milwaukee Appeal won the Woodbine Oaks and was beaten in photo finishes when third in the Queen's Plate and second in Fort Erie's Prince of Wales.

Milwaukee Appeal also was second in Saratoga's Grade 1 Alabama, beaten 11 lengths by Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic contender Careless Jewel.

"I'm just going to weigh up the race, and if it comes off the turf, I might run," said Fairlie. "She won't run if it stays on the grass."

If she doesn't run Saturday, Fairlie said, Milwaukee Appeal will run in Aqueduct's Grade 1, $300,000 Gazelle, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies Nov. 28.

Hello Maggie May, trained by Roger Attfield, has won sprint stakes on turf and Polytrack and is coming off a fifth-place finish in the off-the-turf Avowal at seven furlongs.

"I wouldn't particularly want to run her on soft turf," said Attfield. "But I've always said she'd run two turns. She's never proven me to be right, but she hasn't had many opportunities to prove it. We'll look at both races and hope we make the right choice."

Amazing, trained by Brian Lynch, has won a pair of two-turn stakes at Calder and finished fourth when making her local debut in the Avowal.

"She'll definitely stay in if it comes off the turf," said Lynch. "I wouldn't run her on soft turf. The worst race she's run was on a yielding course."

Trainer Earl Barnett has entered both You Will Love Me and San Nicola Whiskey, a pair of Ontario-sired stakes winners, in the River Memories.

You Will Love Me has won stakes on turf and Polytrack. Her most recent win came in the restricted Classy 'n' Smart over 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack.

"I'm hoping it comes off for her," said Barnett. "It makes it easier to try these horses around two turns rather than a one-turn mile."

You Will Love Me also has been nominated to next Saturday's $175,000 Maple Leaf Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares, as have River Memories entrants Dance to My Tune and Lomaki.

San Nicola Whiskey, who upset You Will Love Me in the Victoriana over 1 1/16 miles on turf, would run on either surface Saturday.

Porte Bonheur seeks Fashion repeat

The Ontario Fashion attracted a field of 10, headed by Porte Bonheur, who won last year's running.

Tribal Belle and Glitter Rox are the other leading contenders. The field that also includes Bear Lahaina, Silver Z, Verdana Bold, Foxy Danseur, and Blonde Humor.

Hello Maggie May and Amazing could also run.

Jambalaya passing on Labeeb

The Labeeb, a one-mile overnight stakes for 3-year-olds and up, will be run Sunday and attracted a field of seven, topped by multiple stakes winner Sterwins. The Labeeb is the final scheduled turf stakes of the meeting.

Catherine Day Phillips had considered Jambalaya for the Labeeb after scratching him from last Saturday's Chief Bearhart because of the off going. Instead, she is looking to run him in either an allowance race over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Churchill Downs on Thursday or the Grade 3, $100,000 Red Smith over 1 3/8 miles on the grass at Aqueduct.

"Both spots have appeal and will be run on fresh turf courses," said Day Phillips.

In his last start, Jambalaya returned from a 14-month layoff and scored a two-length win in a one-mile turf race here Sept. 18.