08/27/2009 11:00PM

Sterwins working for Woodbine Mile

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Michael Burns
Sterwins will return to the turf for the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on Sept. 20.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sterwins, who has competed over a variety of distances and surfaces this season, is now being pointed to a return to turf in the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile.

Owned and bred by Eugene and Laura Melnyk and trained by Malcolm Pierce, Sterwins began his preparations for the Sept. 20 Woodbine Mile with a four-furlong breeze in 47.60 seconds on the main track here Friday morning.

The drill, under exercise rider Mark Ramsammy, was the first for Sterwins since he won the off-the-turf With Approval over 1 1/8 miles here Aug. 9.

"That was the plan, to freshen him a little bit," Pierce said. "He'll have time for two more works to lead into the Woodbine Mile. Unless something changes in the next two or three weeks, that's where we're going to head with him."

Sterwins began his current campaign with a fifth-place finish in Keeneland's Ben Ali, a 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race that he won in 2008.

The 6-year-old horse then traded 1-2 turf decisions with defending Woodbine Mile champion Rahy's Attorney, winning the Grade 3 Connaught Cup at 1 1/16 miles and finishing second in the Grade 2 King Edward at 1 1/8 miles.

With the Melnyk-owned Marchfield headed for the turf stakes route program here for trainer Mark Casse, Sterwins was tried over seven furlongs on the grass and finished a rallying second behind Just Rushing in the Ontario Jockey Club for Ontario foals.

Now, Sterwins will be changing direction again following his score in the With Approval, which also was restricted to Ontario foals.

"Probably his best distance is a mile and a sixteenth," Pierce said. "But if we have him sharp enough, and he can get running early enough, there's definitely going to be serious pace in the Mile.

"There are going to be very good horses, too."P

Amazing set for local debut

Amazing, who joined trainer Brian Lynch's stable about a month back, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 here Friday and is slated to make her local debut in next Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Seaway.

A 4-year-old, Amazing will be seeking her first graded stakes win in the Seaway, which is a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Amazing has not seen action since Feb. 28, when she finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Wayward Lass at Tampa Bay Downs.

The filly had closed out her sophomore campaign with three straight scores at Calder, including the $50,000 Sunny Issues over one mile and the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff at 1 1/16 miles.

Amazing was previously trained by Terry Oliver.

Tribal Belle drills for Seaway

Tribal Belle, trained by Terry Jordan, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 under her regular rider Jim McAleney here Friday with an eye toward the Seaway.

A 4-year-old, Tribal Belle last saw action here June 24 when she was a 10-length winner of an optional $80,000 claiming/third-level allowance.

"I've been waiting all this time," said Jordan, who currently is with his other string in Vancouver. "There's been nowhere else to run her.

"I entered her in the prep for this race, and they only got three horses. They carried it over and got three horses again."

Tribal Belle had won out her second-level allowance condition when making her seasonal bow over six furlongs on the main track and then finished third over seven furlongs of turf being rebounding for her romp in the same classification.

The Seaway will be just the second stakes appearance for Tribal Belle, who was beaten a neck when second as the odds-on favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong Ruling Angel here Oct. 22.

"I think she'll run all right in there," Jordan said.

Talk About It on target for Muskoka

The Seaway will be one of eight stakes races run here over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

Sunday's headliner will be the $125,000 Vice Regent, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds, and Monday's program will feature six $125,000 stakes races restricted to horses who went through the ring at the local Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's yearling sales.

Talk About It, trained by Catherine Day Phillips, was among a handful of yearling sales stakes prospects who worked here Friday. Her target is the Muskoka, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.

With jockey Patrick Husbands in the irons, Talk About It was clocked in 1:01 for five furlongs while going in company with stablemate Smart Flight, a maiden 3-year-old gelding who had assistant trainer Candice Bowyer in the irons.

Talk About It had debuted with a close second-place finish in a 4 1/2-furlong Ontario-sired maiden race here June 27.

The winner, Oistins, came back to win the restricted Nandi, but Talk About It disappointed in her second start when running fifth as the odds-on favorite in a restricted 5 1/2-furlong maiden race here Aug. 7.

"She'd missed a little bit of time and was probably not at her best for that race," Day Phillips said. "I probably pushed her to get her there to set her up for this yearling sales stakes."

Although Talk About It was owned and bred by the Kingfield Racing Stable of Day Phillips and her husband, Todd, Talk About It is eligible for yearling sales stakes after being bought back for $6,000 from last year's select yearling session.

* Meanwhile, the great fall stall shuffle is under way as horses have until Monday morning to vacate the sales barn area to make way for the incoming yearlings. The sales barns can accommodate 274 horses, and 95 of those will be taking up temporary quarters in the Standardbred barn. Others will be slotted into vacant stalls in the regular barn area. The sales barns will reopen to their regular tenants on Sept. 16.

* Jockey Na Somsanith will be serving a three-day suspension this coming Friday through Sunday after dropping his appeal of an earlier ruling.