08/18/2011 11:56AM

Woodbine: Ariana D finds softer spot in Belle Mahone


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Ariana D finished a strong second here at Woodbine last time out behind the streaking shipper Embur’s Song in the Grade 3 Ontario Matron at 1 1/16 miles. On Saturday, Ariana D returns at the same distance in the $100,000 Belle Mahone, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares.

“Certainly, this doesn’t look as foreboding,” said Laurie Silvera, who trains the Pennsylvania-bred 5-year-old Ariana D for her owner and breeder, Bill Thompson. “She’s in very good order and, all things considered, I think she’ll be tough to beat.’

Ariana D won the seven-furlong Bessarabian in her local bow last November and returned this spring with second-place finishes behind Wildcat Marie in the Grade 3, six-furlong Whimsical and Embur’s Song in the Grade 3, 6 1/2-furlong Hendrie.

The mare then was shipped to Presque Isle Downs, to prepare for opportunities which never materialized, and rejoined Silvera not long before she finished fifth in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too on July 1.

“She didn’t run as well as she might have,” said Silvera, who sent out Ariana D to breeze a solid four furlongs in 48.00 seconds here Wednesday morning prior to entering her in the Belle Mahone.

Omar Moreno, who has ridden Ariana D in each of her four local appearances, retains the mount and should be able to work out a good trip after breaking from the outside post in the field of seven.

Empire Spring, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old who is coming off a sharp first-level allowance score here over 1 1/16 miles, is the only other member of the Belle Mahone field who made her last start on a surface other than turf.

Luis Contreras rode Empire Spring for trainer Rachel Halden that day but will be at Saratoga on Saturday to pilot Inglorious in the Grade 1 Alabama, so Tyler Pizarro has picked up the mount for the Belle Mahone.

Trainer Roger Attfield has entered both Perfect Shirl, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old who won the Grade 2 Lake George over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Saratoga last summer, and Honimiere, an Irish-bred 5-year-old who was a multiple handicap winner on the turf in England.

Both made their last starts in Grade 3 grass stakes with Perfect Shirl finishing a good third in Monmouth’s’ Matchmaker at 1 1/8 miles and Honimiere ending fifth in Delaware’s 1 3/8-mile Robert G. Dick Memorial.

Both also have handled Polytrack, with Perfect Shirl taking a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles here last year while Honimiere finished a close fourth over 1 1/4 miles in a listed stakes at Kempton in her 2010 bow.

Perfect Shirl races for her owner and breeder, Chuck Fipke. Emma Jayne-Wilson has been named to ride.

Honimiere, who joined Attfield’s string at Keeneland this spring, races for owner Stella Perdomo and will be ridden by Eurico Rosa Da Silva.

Stars to Shine, who finished a troubled fifth when making her last appearance in the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly here July 10, is 1 for 1 on Polytrack.

A Kentucky-bred 4-year-old trained by Mark Frostad, Stars to Shine knocked out her first allowance condition in an off-the-turf 1 1/8-mile race here last October.

War Tigress, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old, won the Caressing Stakes at Churchill Downs in her first campaign but has come up short here in two starts for trainer Barbara Minshall.

Rusted Through, conditioned by Gord Colbourne, won a $32,000 claiming race over 1 1 1/6 miles in her most recent appearance here July 9.

Lucky Be Me prepared to fire off freshening

There are three stakes winners in the field of seven for Saturday’s Eternal Search, the 1 1/16-mile feature for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

And the one who is coming into the race beneath the radar is Lucky Be Me, who is trained and co-owned by Bill Tharrenos.

Lucky Be Me won the Muskoka, a seven-furlong yearling sales stakes, as a 2-year-old but opened up her current campaign with a pair of sub-par efforts in sprints.

But the story has been different in her last two outings as Lucky Be Me stretched out to 1 1/16 miles and finished second behind Isabella Bay, winner of last year’s restricted South Ocean Stakes at the distance, before capturing another restricted second-level allowance in impressive fashion under Luis Contreras.

While that most recent appearance came on June 29, Lucky Be Me’s absence has been part of the plan with Tharrenos looking toward the Eternal Search and the $125,000 La Prevoyante, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies here Sept. 10.

“She spent 3 1/2 weeks on the farm, and I think it did her well,” said Tharrenos. “I wanted to give her some time off, and have her fresh for these stakes.”

With Contreras booked on Inglorious, Tharrenos went back to Richard Dos Ramos for the Eternal Search. Dos Ramos was in the irons when the filly won her first lifetime start and for her second career win in the Muskoka.

“Richard’s been working her, and she had two big works,” said Tharrenos, who sent out Lucky Be Me for five-furlong moves of 1:00.20 on Aug. 6 and 1:00.60 last Saturday.

“She’s doing extremely well. It seems like she’s peaking right now, for a big race.”

Apprentice Alderson collects first career win

Apprentice jockey Jeffrey Alderson recorded his first career win here Wednesday evening, rallying the 15-1 Prado Girl to a half-length victory for trainer John Coryat in a $16,000 maiden claiming race.

“It was amazing,” said the 18-year-old Alderson, whose father, Anthony Alderson, is a trainer based at Fort Erie. “It felt really good.”

Alderson, who tacks 109 pounds, began his career at Fort Erie on July 31. Prado Girl was his 17th mount and his third on Wednesday’s card.

Jack Lauzon, who is Alderson’s agent, also books mounts for Omar Moreno, winner of the Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice of 2010 and of the corresponding Sovereign Award for the past two seasons.