07/17/2013 1:20PM

Woodbine: Bigstormbrewin’ looks set for top outing


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Bigstormbrewin’ seems poised for a peak effort Friday at Woodbine in the third race, a third-level optional claimer scheduled for seven furlongs on the grass.

Bigstormbrewin’ had a brief but fruitful 2012 campaign for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Malcolm Pierce. He scored twice and recorded two seconds from four starts, while putting more than $100,000 in the bank. The highlight of that campaign was a front-running tally in a seven-furlong optional claimer, for which he received a career-high 95 Beyer Speed Figure.

Bigstormbrewin’ had been idle for more than 10 months when he ran strongly in the June 15 allowance prep for the Highlander Stakes. He saved ground at the back of a tightly bunched five-horse field in that six-furlong sprint and then closed for third behind the classy Fatal Bullet, who had something left in the tank after setting a slow pace.

Justin Stein has the mount on Bigstormbrewin’, who runs with an $80,000 claiming price in the five-horse feature.

Excaper, who will not compete with a selling price, is returning from an eight-month layoff. The 4-year-old showed considerable promise at 2, when he wound up second in both the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and the Grade 3 Summer Stakes.

Excaper performed well in five of his six outings last year. After ending up second in both the Charlie Barley and Toronto Cup Stakes, he captured a first-level allowance over a mile here in July. In September, he checked in a close fifth in the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga and was second to Optimizer in the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware. His last race, an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill, was the worst performance of his career, although he did get hung out four wide on the first turn in that Nov. 17 stakes.

Leading jockey Luis Contreras will ride Excaper for trainer Ian Black, who possesses solid numbers with six-month-plus comebackers.

The Sid Attard-trained Danger Bay was second against easier optional-claiming opposition in each of his two outings this year. The horse who beat him in a June 1 turf sprint, So Long George, subsequently ran fourth in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes.

Trainer Mike Keogh entered two horses for a $75,000 claiming price, Say No More and Welloiledmachine.

Say No More faded to fourth behind So Long George and Danger Bay after establishing soft fractions when he started last on June 1.

Welloiledmachine is shortening up off a fading third going about nine furlongs June 23, when he ran with a $60,000 claiming price. He hasn’t shown much since his victory in the restricted Halton Stakes in early September.