09/28/2010 12:46PM

Roxy Gap still a candidate for Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Michael Burns
Roxy Gap won all three of her starts last year at 2.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Roxy Gap is back at the racetrack, and a trip to the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs is not out of the question.

That passage already might have been booked had misfortune not descended upon Roxy Gap on the morning of Sept. 18, as she was the favorite for Woodbine’s Natalma, in which the winner earned an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“She had a temperature, and her leg started to fill up,” said trainer Mark Casse, recalling the early morning events which led to Roxy Gap being scratched. “We didn’t know if she had a bite, or a small pus pocket. She developed an abscess between her hock and the outside or her leg.”

Roxy Gap underwent blood testing, which showed an abnormally high white cell count, and was sent to a veterinary clinic in nearby Milton.

“She spent five days there, on antibiotics,” said Casse. “She’s back in the barn now. The last few days she’s come along really well. I’m hoping to have her back in training soon.”

Roxy Gap, bred in Ontario by her owner, Eugene Melnyk, won her first three starts in convincing fashion.

After scoring by 6 1/2 lengths in an open maiden race at five furlongs here July 3, Roxy Gap came back two weeks later to captured the 5 1/2- furlong Shady Well by 2 1/2 lengths when facing fellow Ontario-foaled fillies.

Casse then gave Roxy Gap a breather and she returned on Aug. 21 to score by 4 3/4 lengths in the allowance prep for the Natalma, which was run over the same one mile of turf as the stakes itself.

Roxy Gap is nominated to the Grade 3 Mazarine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies here Oct. 9, but will not make that race.

“Right now, it’s all still in discussion but we’d probably just aim for the Breeders’ Cup,” said Casse. “She’d have to train really good, for it to happen.”

Casse still will have a Mazarine candidate. Delightful Mary, who is undefeated in two starts, is on target for that $225,000 race.

A Florida-bred who races for owner John Oxley, Delightful Mary was a $500,000 2-year-old in training purchase in Ocala, Fla., this past April and served notice in her debut with a 3 3/4-length victory in a six-furlong maiden race.

Five weeks later, Delightful Mary returned to lead throughout a first-level allowance race at a mile and 70 yards en route to an eight-length victory.

Blue Laser points to Grey

Casse also has a candidate for the Oct. 10 Grey with Blue Laser pointing for that Grade 3, $225,000 race for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

Blue Laser, bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, finished third when debuting over seven furlongs of turf here Aug. 1 and then prevailed by a length in a mile-and-70-yard race on the main track.

Rockin Heat, the runner-up there, came back to finish second in the Grade 3 Summer Stakes over one mile of turf.

Casse also nominated Withdrawal to the Grey but will reserve that colt for the Cup and Saucer on Oct. 17.

Withdrawal is one of three candidates from the Casse barn for the Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

Enduring Star and Strike Oil, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively, when debuting in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden turf race here Sept. 11, also are pointing for the Cup and Saucer, which offers a purse of $250,000.

Withdrawal has seen action three times and graduated when stretching out to a mile and 70 yards in his latest appearance on Sept. 17.

Stormy Lord possible for Keeneland’s Commonwealth

Locally based stakes winners Stormy Lord and Golden Moka raced out of town last Saturday..

Stormy Lord, trained by Ian Black, finished third, beaten a length at odds of 13-1 by Grand Rapport and Workin for Hops, in the Grade 3 Kent over 1 1/8 miles of turf at Delaware Park.

Golden Moka, conditioned by Brian Lynch, ended fifth, beaten 3 3/4 lengths as the 2-1 second choice, in the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

Black looked on from Woodbine and son-in-law, Jeff Bowen, sent out Stormy Lord for the Kent.

With his regular rider Jim McAleney in the saddle, Stormy Lord set the pace and battled on gamely after being headed at the eighth pole.

“He gave it a great effort,” said Black. “Those were two pretty nice horses that beat him.”

Stormy Lord, an Ontario-sired 3-year-old, was making his first start since his second-place finish in the Breeders’ Stakes over 1 1/2 miles of turf here Sept. 25 and his immediate future has not been determined.

“If we’re going to take him to Florida for the winter we might run him at Churchill Downs on the way down;” said Black, noting that Grade 3, $100,000 Commonwealth, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds on Nov. 13, would be a suitable spot. “But, we might just stop on him.”

Golden Moka was making just his second start of the season and his first since winning Fort Erie’s Prince of Wales Stakes on July 25.

The Super Derby was the first loss for Golden Moka, who was undefeated in his first three starts in Panama last year before being purchased privately and sent to Lynch at Woodbine this spring.

Anthony Stephen, who had ridden Golden Moka for the first time in the Prince of Wales, accompanied the colt to Louisiana.

“I was a little disappointed, but he didn’t run a bad race overall,” said Lynch. “He was intimidated a little at the quarter pole, and got some dirt in his face, but he ran on good late and beaten less than four lengths.

“We’ll regroup, and could look for a race for him here.”

With no straight 3-year-old stakes remaining on the schedule, Lynch could elect to try Golden Moka against older horses and mentioned the Nov. 13 Autumn as a possibility.

The Autumn, at 1 1/16 miles, offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $150,000.