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Woodbine: Carotene provides Awesome Fire chance to return to turf, longer distance
By Bill Tallon
ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Awesome Fire fizzled when cutting back to 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack for the Algoma Stakes here at Woodbine on Sept. 3.
As the strong second choice in the Algoma, a yearling sales stakes for fillies and mares, Awesome Fire never threatened while ending 7 1/4 lengths back as the trailer in the field of five.
“She got plagued again with a paceless race,” said Martha Gonzalez, wife and assistant to Awesome Fire’s trainer, Nick Gonzalez. “Every time we cut her back they go a half in 49, and she’s too far out of it.”
On Saturday, Awesome Fire will be returning to turf for the 1 1/8-mile Carotene Stakes, which attracted a field of eight Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies.
Awesome Fire became a stakes winner when trying turf for the first time in the 1 1/4-mile Wonder Where here July 29.
“I don’t train them on the turf so every time we run them on the turf it’s an experiment,” said Gonzalez. “I think she even might be a little better on turf, the way she ran in the Wonder Where.”
Chantal Sutherland, sister of Awesome Fire’s owner Hugh Sutherland, was aboard for the Wonder Where and has returned from California to ride here this weekend.
Nikkis Bold Gelato, coming off a front-running win over one mile of soft turf in the La Prevoyante for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, is the only other stakes winner in the Carotene lineup.
“She seemed to enjoy the soft turf. I guess a little rain wouldn’t hurt,” said Bob Tiller, who trains Nikkis Bold Gelato for owner Ben Hutzel.
“I think she’ll have a shot to go this far. It really depends on how the race is run. She’s doing great.”
Omar Moreno has picked up the mount on Nikkis Bold Gelato as David Moran, her La Prevoyante pilot, will be in New York on Saturday.
Lateegra, Black Bird Rock, Part the Seas, and Rose and Shine, the second through fifth-place finishers in the Wonder Where, also are back for the Carotene.
Rounding out the field will be last-out winners Future Surprise, who will be making her turf debut, and Queen of the Waves.
Tesseron gets class test in Grey
Tesseron, an impressive first-out maiden winner at a mile and 70 yards here Sept. 3 for trainer Josie Carroll, will be getting the acid test in Sunday’s Grey Stakes.
The Grey, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds which offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $200,000, has attracted seven entrants, including the undefeated Uncaptured, who will be seeking his fifth win.
Mark Casse, who conditions Uncaptured, also entered Indiano Jones and Star Contender in the Grey but said he would run Star Contender only in the event that Uncaptured could not participate.
The Grey field also includes Tesseron and River Seven, who finished first and second in a mile and 70-yard maiden race here Sept. 3.
Tesseron, a Kentucky-bred son of Tapit, was purchased for $357,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
“I’d always wanted to run him two turns first time out,” said Carroll, who trains Tesseron for the Donver Stable of Donna and Vern Dubinsky. “The owners have been extremely patient.
“My only concern about the Grey is his lack of experience. He’s a little unseasoned.”
River Seven, beaten a half-length by Tesseron as the 2-5 favorite when trying two turns for the first time, also is returning for the Grey.
Owned by the Tucci Stable of Carlo and Lou Tucci and conditioned by Nick Gonzalez, River Seven was making his third start that day after being beaten nine lengths by Uncaptured as the third-place finisher in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon and a length by that same rival as the runner-up in the six-furlong Vandal.
“He had a troubled trip last time,” said Martha Gonzalez. “He got trapped on the rail, and that was it.
“He’s doing dynamite. He worked a nice easy five-eighths last Saturday, with Awesome Fire.”
Eurico Rosa Da Silva was in the irons for that drill and takes over aboard River Seven for the Grey.
Road trips for multiple local jockeys
Moran, who will be riding Nancy O for trainer Carolyn Costigan in Belmont’s Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette, will be among five locally based jockeys competing in out-of-town stakes on Saturday.
Luis Contreras has calls for two Grade 1 events at Keeneland with Dynamic Sky having been entered in the Grade 1, $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity by Casse and Worthadd making his first start for trainer Brian Lynch in the Grade 1, $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile.
Alex Solis has the mount on Are You Kidding Me, who will go in the Breeders’ Futurity and is trained by Roger Attfield.
Jermaine Bridghmohan will be at Hoosier Park to pilot Stealcase for Casse in the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby and Jesse Campbell will be in Illinois to ride Cease in the Grade 2, $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup.
Pool Play, trained by Casse, also is in the field of seven for the Hawthorne Gold Cup.
Grand Adventure won’t run in Nearctic
Grand Adventure, who had been pointing for the $500,000 Nearctic Stakes here Oct. 14, will not be in the lineup.
“He took some bad steps after his last work,” said Malcolm Pierce, who had sent out Grand Adventure to breeze four furlongs in 49.60 seconds on the training track here Sept. 23. “I can’t make the Nearctic. I missed about a week with him.”
Grand Adventure, a Kentucky-bred 6-year-old horse owned by Sam-Son Farm, had finished fifth in the Grade 2 Play the King over seven furlongs of turf here Aug. 26 when making his first start in more than nine months.
“We’re just going to have to regroup,” said Pierce. “I’ll have to find another spot for him; I don’t know where. We won’t make the grass here.”
The last scheduled day of turf racing this season is Oct. 28.
The six-furlong Nearctic will be one of three Grade 1 turf stakes on the Oct. 14 program along with the $1.5 million, 1 1/2-mile Canadian International and the $1 million, 1 1/4-mile E.P. Taylor.
The Grade 3, $150,000 Durham Cup, a 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race for 3-year-olds and upward, also will be part of the Canadian International program for the first time.
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