10/27/2011 2:39PM

Woodbine: Blue Heart looking to claim championship


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Blue Heart will stake her claim for the Sovereign Award as champion 2-year-old filly while trying to remain unbeaten in Saturday’s $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Woodbine. Post time for the first of nine races is 12:30 p.m.

Blue Heart, a $375,000 yearling purchase, notched her debut in a six-furlong maiden special Aug. 20. She never saw action again until Oct. 8, when she polished off a good field over 1 1/16 miles in the Mazarine Stakes.

Trainer Brian Lynch said he was concerned when Blue Heart drew post 12 in the $232,600 Mazarine.

“When you have a 2-year-old stretching out for their second start, you’re wondering if they’ll get the two turns,” Lynch explained. “Being drawn out like that, she’s going to get the worst of it, so you have to either go with her a bit early, and hope that she’s tactical enough to lay close, or take back. We opted to put her in the race. She did a lot of the grunt work to open up on them at the quarter pole, and got a bit tired late, but it didn’t take anything out of her. She moved forward off it. She’s an easy filly to read, and all indications are she’s doing well.”

Seven others were entered in the 66th running of 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth, including Rose and Shine, Dixie Strike, Casa Loma and Harlan’s Panther.

Rose and Shine prevailed in the $200,800 Muskoka Stakes over seven furlongs in September. Trainer Ralph Biamonte said he was content with her fifth-place finish against open company in the Mazarine.

“I thought she ran a pretty good race, against that kind,” said Biamonte. “She didn’t embarrass herself. We’ll see how she does against her own type. We’ve got Luis Contreras on this time. I think he’ll be an excellent fit for her. He’s patient. I think she’ll run big. She’s feeling good. She’s still on her game.”

Dixie Strike is a half-sister to this year’s Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate winner, Inglorious. After ending up second when she debuted in the restricted Muskoka, Dixie Strike won a 1 1/16-mile maiden special with a six-wide rally.

Casa Loma is going long for the first time, off a workmanlike allowance victory traveling seven furlongs.

Harlan’s Panther was a well-beaten 10th in the Mazarine, in her second try off the $40,000 reclaim.