09/26/2012 1:57PM

Woodbine: All Star Heart breezes for E.P. Taylor start

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Benoit & Associates
All Star Heart shipped to Woodbine from California and finished a closing second in the Canadian.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – All Star Heart, who stayed at Woodbine after finishing second in the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes on Sept. 16, breezed five furlongs on the turf training track here Wednesday in 50.20 seconds.

Bred in Ontario by her owner, Gerry Gibbs, All Star Heart shipped in from California for trainer Ron McAnally and finished a closing second in the Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race in which she was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by English invader Barefoot Lady.

Trainer Brian Lynch, a good friend of McAnally’s, has been looking after the 5-year-old All Star Heart.

“She seems to have come out of the race good,” said Lynch. “Now we’ll just try to keep her on schedule for the E.P. Taylor.”

The E.P. Taylor Stakes, a 1 1/4- mile turf race that offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $1 million, will be run here Oct. 14 along with the Canadian International, Nearctic, and Durham Cup.

Musketier may be near the wire

Musketier, who turned in an uncharacteristically dull effort when he was a well-beaten sixth here in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer over 1 1/2 miles of good turf on Sept. 16, breezed five furlongs on the training turf Wednesday in a leisurely 51.60 seconds.

“He was flat in the paddock, compared to what he normally is,” said trainer Roger Attfield, who had watched Musketier finish 16 1/4 lengths behind repeating Northern Dancer winner Wigmore Hall over 1 1/2 miles of good turf.

“Maybe he didn’t like the going, maybe he just had an off day,” Attfield said. “He’s doing very well now.”

Attfield added that he would be conferring with Musketier’s owners concerning the future of the 10-year-old.

“We’ll just play it by ear,” said Attfield. “He doesn’t owe us anything.”

Attfield did suggest that Keeneland’s Oct. 18 Sycamore Stakes, a Grade 3, $100,000 race over 1 1/2 miles of turf, could be an appropriate spot for Musketier’s swan song.

Spice Route works for return

Spice Route, Miss Cato, and Janicellaine also worked on the training track turf course Wednesday for Attfield.

The 8-year-old gelding Spice Route, who has not seen action since finishing fourth in the 2010 running of the Northern Dancer, continued on his march back to the races with a five-furlong breeze in 1:02.40.

“He’s ticking along like his old self,” said Attfield. “I haven’t put any pressure on him yet.”

Miss Cato, a recent addition to the Attfield stable, went in company with Spice Route and was clocked in 1:01.20.

Bred in England and purchased privately by Three Chimneys Farm LLC, Miss Cato finished second in Arlington’s Grade 3 Pucker Up, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies on Sept. 15, her first start for Attfield after beginning her North American career on the West Coast.

“I don’t know what her best distance is,” said Attfield. “She looks like a miler.”

The $100,000 River Memories, a one-mile overnight turf stakes for fillies and mares here Oct. 27, could be On Miss Cato’s dance card.

Janicellaine breezed four furlongs in 48.40 seconds and has been entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Flaming Page, a 1 1/2-mile turf overnight stakes for fillies and mares in which Attfield also will start Smart Penny.

Are You Kidding Me to Keeneland

Over on the main track, Attfield sent out Are You Kidding Me to breeze four furlongs in 47.60 seconds under exercise rider Darren Fortune while going in company with the 3-year-old maiden gelding Lime Drop Kid.

Are You Kidding Me, a closing second here last time out in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes over one mile on turf, is slated to make his next appearance at Keeneland.

Attfield said that Are You Kidding Me’s options there are the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity, a 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race on Oct. 6, and the Grade 3 Bourbon, a one-mile turf race the following day, with a lean toward the Breeders’ Futurity.

Both the $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity and the $150,000 Bourbon are Win and You’re In races for their corresponding Breeders’ Cup events, the Juvenile and Juvenile Turf.

Irish Mission done for the year

Irish Mission, the 3-year-old filly who finished fifth against older males in the Northern Dancer, will not see action again this season.

“She came out of the race fine, but she needs a little break, mentally more than anything,” said Mark Frostad, who trains Irish Mission for owner Robert S. Evans.

Irish Mission has started eight times this season, winning the Woodbine Oaks over 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack when competing against her own sex and age group and then defeating males in the Breeders’ over 1 1/2 miles of turf.

The Breeders’ capped a perfect attendance record in the Canadian triple crown for Irish Mission, who finished second here in the Queen’s Plate and sixth when she failed to handle the dirt in Fort Erie’s 1 3/16 mile Prince of Wales.

“I think she’ll be even better next year, when she matures a little bit,” said Frostad, who plans to have Irish Mission in his Palm Meadows string this winter and get her campaign started at Gulfstream Park.

Maiden winner worth a look

Cryptic Message, with a 4-for-4 record, including three stakes wins, is the one to beat in Saturday’s $125,000 Victorian Queen for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

But, one horse who could make life interesting for Cryptic Message in the six-furlong Victorian Queen is Strut the Course, who is coming off an impressive maiden win at the same distance here Sept. 8.

“Her pedigree doesn’t go much to sprinting,” said Barbara Minshall, who trains the homebred daughter of Strut the Stage for John Unger. “I intend to stretch her out, but it’s hard to do that here until late in the year.

“I’ve always thought she was a nice filly, and she’s training really well.”

Strut the Course wintered at Webb Carroll’s training center in South Carolina and joined Minshall at the track here in late spring.

Debuting here Aug. 10, Strut the Course was away last in the field of 10 but rallied to finish fourth, beaten six lengths by the winner but just three-quarters of a length for second money at 31-1.

“She just didn’t get out of the gate cleanly, then she kind of got to chasing,” said Minshall. “I think it cost her the race.”

Returning on Sept. 8, in another restricted six-furlong maiden race, Strut the Course was bet down to 5-2 favoritism and delivered by coming from just off the pace for a romping six-length victory under jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva.

“She did it pretty easily,” said Minshall.

With Da Silva also the regular rider of Cryptic Message, Jesse Campbell has picked up the mount on Strut the Course for the Victorian Queen.