05/24/2012 4:54PM

Woodbine: Block brings in Mister Marti Gras for Eclipse


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Chris Block enjoyed a highly successful run here at Woodbine last year with Never Retreat, who captured the Grade 2 Canadian and Grade 2 Dance Smartly and went on to be voted Canada’s champion female turf horse and Horse of the Year.

Never Retreat is retired, and in foal to Kitten’s Joy, but Block will be represented by his first starter at the meeting when Mister Marti Gras runs in Saturday’s Grade 3 Eclipse at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Mister Marti Gras, a 5-year-old gelding, became a stakes winner in the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack last September and later captured the Grade 3 Ack Ack over 1 1/16 miles of muddy going at Churchill Downs.

In his three appearances this year, all on dirt, Mister Marti Gras has finished fifth in the Grade 3 Mineshaft over 1 1/16 miles at Fair Grounds, fourth there in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at 1 1/8 miles, and third in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic at 1 1/8 miles.

“He ran back on two weeks’ rest last time, and needed a little time in between to try freshen him up,” said Block, noting that Mister Marti Gras will be making his first start in six weeks in the Eclipse. “He’s been training really well, and he appears to like the synthetic. I think it’s a good spot for him.”

Pletcher shipper familiar with track

Queen’splatekitten shipped in from Saratoga for the Eclipse but is no stranger to the Woodbine surface.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Queen’splatekitten won the Marine Stakes at 1 1/16 miles here last May and returned five weeks later to finish fifth in the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate.

In his only subsequent appearances, Queen’splatekitten ran second in the Grade 3 Saranac over 1 1/8 miles of turf at Saratoga on Sept. 4 and returned more than six months later and ran second under third-level allowance terms over the same distance and surface at Keeneland. Chris DeCarlo has the mount.