06/16/2011 12:17PM

Woodbine: Banner Bill looks to build on debut in Victoria Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Ralph Biamonte won last Saturday’s Bold Ruckus Stakes with the steady Citius. He will try to keep the ball rolling this Saturday at Woodbine when he sends out Banner Bill in the $150,000 Victoria Stakes, a five-furlong dash for 2-year-olds.

Banner Bill was bet down to 5-1 when he debuted in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special May 15. He broke two lengths behind the others, before closing three wide for a three-quarter-length tally. He galloped out strongly but only got a 50 Beyer Speed Figure for covering the distance in 53.19 seconds. Fourth-place finisher Gin Joint came right back to crush $40,000 maidens.

Biamonte said Banner Bill, an Illinois-bred by Rockport Harbor, was well regarded when he was shipped to him early in the spring.

“When he came up from a training center in Florida, they were pretty high on him,” Biamonte recalled. “He’s not that good of a breaker, and we’re trying to correct that, but he’s got a nice kick at the end. I wish [the Victoria] was a little farther.”

Biamonte said he will look at Illinois-bred stakes later this year for Banner Bill, who has the look of a sprinter.

“He’s not a big horse, but he’s well put together,” Biamonte said. “He’s compact and looks like a speedball.”

David Clark, who has won the Victoria four times, will ride Banner Bill, a first-time Lasix-user.

Safraction looks like a player for trainer Greg De Gannes, who won back-to-back runnings of the Victoria with Southern Exchange in 2008 and Olredlgetcha in 2009.

Safractions earned a 66 Beyer while landing his debut from off the pace in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special for Ontario-sired stock May 22. Last Sunday, he breezed five-eighths in a lively 1:00.40.

Trainer John Salzman Jr. entered two speedy first-out winners, Threeanddonedan and Distinctly Donovan.

Threeanddonedan got a 66 Beyer when he graduated with ease over a sloppy strip at Pimlico on April 16. He has worked quickly at Laurel since then. Distinctly Donovan registered a 57 Beyer in his one-length tally at Aqueduct on April 15.

Trainer Wesley Ward won last year’s Victoria with Madman Diaries. He sends out Firefall, who has been idle since he led throughout a 2 1/2-furlong dash at Gulfstream on April 17.

Trainer Larry Rivelli supplemented Stark Ravin Mad at a cost of $3,000. Stark Ravin Mad romped at first asking at Arlington, earning a 73 Beyer.