08/08/2008 12:00AM

Skipped Bail well-spotted

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Skipped Bail may have found the spot for his first stakes victory here at Woodbine in Sunday's $100,000 With Approval.

The With Approval, a 1 1/8-mile overnight turf stakes, attracted a field of seven, including high-profile names such as Mike Fox and Marchfield.

Skipped Bail, a homebred 5-year-old gelding trained by Eric Coatrieux, overcame a troubled trip to register a game win over the distance and surface last time out under his regular rider, Tyler Pizarro. Coatrieux had been pointing Skipped Bail for last Monday's Grade 3 Nijinsky, a 1 1/4-mile turf race, but elected to await the With Approval.

"It looked like an easier spot, and I think this is a good distance for him," said Coatrieux.

Skipped Bail didn't win his maiden until his 12th start, when he teamed up with Pizarro for the first time here last July, and then went on to skip through his first two allowance conditions on the turf before finishing a close third here in the 1 1/4-mile Chief Bearhart.

After failing to find the range in his next three outings, Skipped Bail was back on target in a third-level optional $80,000 claiming race in his last start here June 25.

"I was really happy with his race, but it was a bit too exciting for me," said Coatrieux. "He was stuck on the inside, and didn't have a whole lot of room. He made his own room, on end."

Skipped Bail came back to work seven furlongs in a solid 1:25.80 on the turf training course here last Sunday with Pizarro in the irons.

"It was a really good work," said Coatrieux. "He started out on his own, but hooked up with a few horses on the turn. I wasn't looking for him to go extremely strong."

Mike Fox, winner of last year's Queen's Plate for Ian Black, now has Bruce Smither as his trainer of record and is coming off a game win in a classified allowance over 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack. The runner-up, Artie Hot, came back to upset the Seagram Cup, but whether Mike Fox can duplicate his form on the turf is a major question mark.

Emma-Jayne Wilson, who has been the regular rider of Mike Fox since last May, retains the mount.

Marchfield, who won last August's Breeders' Stakes over 1 1/2 miles of turf with Mike Fox five lengths back in fifth, took only two starts to get his first win of the season in Kentucky this past spring. Marchfield, who is trained by Mark Casse, then was eighth when making his first start locally in the Singspiel, 1 1/2-mile turf race in which Mike Fox ended 11th of 12 when making his 2008 debut.

Freshened since the June 22 Singspiel, Marchfield has been working very well, including a five-furlong breeze in a bullet 58.20 seconds here last Monday. Patrick Husbands, who has ridden Marchfield in 10 of his 12 starts, gets the call.

Ice Bear, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Mac Benson, would be very tough on his best effort, which he delivered when a close second in the Grade 3 King Edward over 1 1/8 miles of turf here June 28. Cutting back to seven furlongs for the restricted Ontario Jockey Club three weeks later, Ice Bear finished a troubled seventh and should appreciate this chance to stretch his legs again.

Canadian yearling catalogs available

Catalogs are now available for the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's 2008 yearling sale, which will take place in the Woodbine sales pavilion.

A total of 234 yearlings have been cataloged for the selected session on Tuesday, Sept. 2, and 239 for the preferred session on Saturday, Sept. 6. Both sessions will begin at 3 p.m.

The CTHS will again will be assisting with the forming of racing syndicates through its new owner syndicate program. The program assists those wishing to make only a 10 percent investment in a racehorse.

The sales will be webcast and catalogs can be viewed on line at cthsont.com/yearsale.php.

The annual yearling sales stakes day, featuring six $125,000 stakes for sales graduates, is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 1.

Walter Smith dies at 82

A memorial service for longtime racetrack worker Walter Smith will be held at 1 p.m Sunday, following one hour of visitation at The Simple Alternative Funeral Centre, 1535 South Gateway Road, Mississauga.

Smith, who had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease, died at age 82 on Wednesday.

After serving in World War II, Smith came to the racetrack and became the right-hand man of the late trainer Gord Huntley, who is a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Smith went on to work on the gate crew, as a clocker, and in the mutuels, and retired in 2002.

* Jockey Tyler Pizarro, who had been scheduled to sit out this Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday after his appeal of an earlier suspension was disallowed by the Ontario Racing Industry Board of Appeal, has been granted a stay after lodging a further appeal to the panel of the Ontario Racing Commission.

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the third-floor Champions area at Woodbine.