07/13/2011 1:22PM

Woodbine: Alpha Bettor switches to turf for Toronto Cup

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Alpha Bettor suffered the toughest of beats in the Victoria Park Stakes, dropping a nose decision after looking like a winner in the shadow of the wire.

But trainer Danny Vella will be hoping for a happier ending on Saturday when he sends out Alpha Bettor here at Woodbine in the $150,000 Toronto Cup, an open race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course.

Alpha Bettor was making his stakes debut in the Victoria Park, which was run over 1 1/8 miles of Polytrack, and will be making his turf debut in the Toronto Cup.

“His last two works have been super, and he’s really not a work horse,” said Vella, who most recently sent Alpha Bettor to breeze five furlongs in 59.80 seconds over the main track last Monday.

Eight days earlier, Alpha Bettor had breezed five furlongs in 1:00 over the training track turf course.

“His work on the turf was really, really nice,” said Vella, noting that Alpha Bettor has turf in his pedigree with Cozzene on top and Relaunch on the bottom.

“I’m excited; he’s in great order. I’m sure he’ll love the long stretch.”

Alpha Bettor races for a group of seven owners whose nom-du-course is Bulldog Racing. The septet includes long-time Vella clients Jack Glass and Kerri Grossberg and the trainer himself.

Vella mulls options with Sinister Quill

Vella also is looking forward to the return of Sinister Quill, the stakes-placed 3-year-old filly in whom he also owns a part interest.
Sinister Quill, undefeated in two starts at 2, won her second allowance condition in her first start at 3 before finishing second in the seven-furlong Lady Angela and third when facing males in the Bold Ruckus over six furlongs of turf. All of her appearances have come in restricted company.

“She worked really well last Sunday,” said Vella, who sent out Sinister Quill to breeze five furlongs in 59.80 on the main track.

“She got in all that trouble last time. I believe she should have won the race.”

Sinister Quill is nominated to next Saturday’s $125,000 Passing Mood, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies which should feature the stakes debut of the up-and-coming Weekend Romance.

“The only question in my mind is whether we should run her next Saturday or wait and run her against the boys again,” said Vella, who also has nominated Sinister Quill to the $125,000 Deputy Minister, a seven-furlong Polytrack race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here July 27.

Curgone will miss Prince of Wales

Trainer Greg De Gannes had hoped to be at Fort Erie on Sunday, sending out Curgone for the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes.

But that plan had to be shelved after De Gannes arrived at his shed row last Sunday preparing to work Curgone and got an unpleasant surprise.

“His inside left front ankle was all blown up, for no apparent reason,” said De Gannes here Wednesday morning. “We X-rayed it, and it was clean.

“We treated it symptomatically, and he’s already back in training. But he missed three days; it’s just bad timing.”

With the Prince of Wales off the table De Gannes will be looking for consolation with Silverleo in the Toronto Cup.

Silverleo is coming into the Toronto Cup off a fifth-place finish in the Charlie Barley, a one-mile turf race in which he was the third favorite at 5-1.

“He ran kind of a nondescript race,” said De Gannes, who trains Silverleo. “I wish he could have gone outside of horses; he seems to do his best running outside.”

Garrett Gomez, who was in town for Queen’s Plate weekend, rode Curgone in the Queen’s Plate and was aboard Silverleo for the Charlie Barley but Sebastian Madrid has the mount for the Toronto Cup.

Safraction will await Vandal

De Gannes also had been considering Saturday’s $150,000 Colin Stakes for Safraction, an open six-furlong race for 2-year-olds.
But upon further consideration De Gannes has elected to save Safraction for the $150,000 Vandal, a six-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-olds here July 31.

“We tried open waters once,” said De Gannes, who had sent out Safraction to finish second to Banner Bill in the five-furlong Victoria here June 18 and watched the colt breeze five furlongs here Wednesday in 1:01.40. “Now, we’ll wait for foaled in Ontario and from there we’ll go on to the yearling sales stakes.

“That will be a nice progression, from five to six to seven furlongs, and the spacing is good.”

Safraction, owned by Andrew Fredericks, was purchased locally for $17,000 and is eligible for the $125,000 Simcoe, a seven-furlong stakes for colts and geldings that is one of six yearling sales stakes run here on Sept. 5.

Raincoats’ntuxedos awaits suitable race

Trainer Abraham Katryan also had been considering the Colin for Raincoats’ntuxedos but has decided to bypass Saturday’s feature and await another spot.

Raincoats’ntuxedos finished last of 10 in a troubled debut but added Lasix for his second start and led throughout a restricted 4 1/2-furlong maiden race on June 5.

“He’s a simple, straightforward little horse,” said Katryan, noting that Raincoats’ntuxedos was bred in Kentucky but was sired in Ontario by Weather Warning.

“He just loves to run. He was training really good; I was surprised at his first race.”

Raincoats’ntuxedos was purchased by Katryan for $2,000 at Keeneland last fall on his own account.

The Katryan stable is slated to be in action in Sunday’s 2-year-old feature with I Am In Front intended for the $150,000 Shady Well, a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-foaled fillies.

“I bought her for $3,200 at the sale here and then I sent her off to Florida,” said Katryan, who acquired I Am In Front at last year’s preferred session.

“She always looked good, and was training well. I thought we had a nice little horse, just by looking at her.”

I Am In Front served notice in her debut, chasing home the rapid Hope for a Win while finishing second at 4 1/2 furlongs, and then reported home by five lengths while graduating at five furlongs.

Both of the filly’s starts came in Ontario-sired company.

“When she first started, I thought she’d run a big race,” said Katryan, who conditions I Am In Front for owner Pauline Mangal. “And, I expected her to run much better the next time. She’d trained forwardly.”