06/08/2012 1:01PM

Woodbine: Consistent claimer Consolidadtor Joe honored by racing club


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Consolidator Joe is in with a fighting chance to win his second straight race of the Woodbine meeting Sunday when he races for a $60,000 price in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint also open to second-level allowance horses.

But Consolidator Joe will be a guaranteed winner one week later, as he has been named the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club’s “claimer of the year” for 2011 at the group’s annual awards day here next Sunday.

Other TTRC award recipients will be Luis Contreras, outstanding jockey; Danny Dion’s Bear Stable, outstanding owner; and Roger Attfield, outstanding trainer.

The winners were determined through a vote of the TTRC’s board of directors.

Consolidator Joe scored in 5 of 7 starts last year, finishing second and third in his other outings while earning $179,676. Four of his wins came for claiming prices ranging from $40,000 to $50,000.

“He’s a tough little horse,” said Syd Cooper, who owns and bred Consolidator Joe under his RMC Stable banner. “He’s got a lot of heart, lots of guts.”

Consolidator Joe won his first career start for $47,500 here last May and wound up his campaign with a win for $50,000 on Nov. 6.

“We took him down to Ocala, where he spent the winter,” said Cooper. “He deserved the rest; he’s been very good to us.’

Consolidator Joe finished third when running at the same level as Sunday’s race here on May 6 and was successful under the same terms when returning to action slightly more than two weeks later.

Contreras was the runaway leading rider here last year, taking his first Woodbine title by winning 212 races for purse money of $11,563,915.

With 23 stakes winners, Contreras tied for the lead in that department with Patrick Husbands. His wins included a Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate with Inglorious and a Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes with Pender Harbour.,

Contreras, a 26-year-old native of Mexico who began riding here four years ago, also was an almost unanimous choice in the Sovereign Award balloting for Canada’s outstanding rider.

Bear Stable, the nom du course of the Alberta-based Dion, took home the Sovereign Award as outstanding owner in 2008 and has been a finalist in each subsequent season.

The outfit was the leading owner in races won here last year with 33 and finished second in money won with $1,581,254.

Bear It’s Time was Dion’s leading performer with three stakes wins and earnings of $326,650.

Attfield did not win a Sovereign Award in his category last season, finishing second in the voting behind leading trainer Mark Casse.

But the 72-year-old Attfield won a pair of Grade 1 stakes, here in the E.P. Taylor with Miss Keller and at Churchill Downs in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with Perfect Shirl. He also trains Sovereign Award turf male Musketier.

Attfield, who has been in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame since 1999, was one of this year’s inductees into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Colleen’s Sailor tunes up for Plate

Colleen’s Sailor, who is Attfield’s candidate for the $1 million Queen’s Plate here June 24, drilled six furlongs in 1:13.40 on the training turf course here Wednesday morning.

Working over a firm course with the dogs out and Patrick Husbands in the irons, Colleen’s Sailor went in company with older stablemates Good Better Best and Forte dei Marmi.

Good Better Best was clocked in 1:13.40 under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson while Forte dei Marmi went in 1:13.20 under exercise rider David Williams.

Colleen’s Sailor, a relatively recent addition to the Attfield stable, had won his second start for his new barn in a 1 1/8 mile first-level allowance for 3-year-olds here May 27.

Attfield had sent out Colleen’s Sailor to work five furlongs in 59 seconds four days prior to that effort.

“It’s good to mix it up for them, keep them happy,” said Attfield.

Good Better Best, a 4-year-old who returned from a 13-month absence to just miss in a second-level optional claiming race over 1 1/16 miles of turf here May 26 and is among the nominees for next Sunday’s $125,000 Steady Growth Stakes.

Others eyeing the Steady Growth, which is for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward, include last year’s champion male 3-year-old Pender Harbour.

King Edward next for Forte del Marmi

Forte dei Marmi, a 6-year-old, finished a closing third in the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Dixie Handicap over Pimlico’s turf course on May 19.

Attfield has penciled in the June 24 King Edward Stakes, a one-mile turf race which offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $250,000, for Forte de Marmi’s next appearance.

Musketier and Simmard breezed five furlongs for Attfield on the training turf course, going in company and finishing in 1:00.40.

Both horses are candidates for the June 24 Singspiel, a 1 1/2-mile turf stakes which offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

Musketier, a 10-year-old who has won the last two runnings of the Singspiel, was scratched from last Sunday’s allowance prep when the race came off the turf.

Simmard, age 7, won the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap over 1 1/2 miles of turf at Churchill Downs in his last start May 26.

“Everything went nicely this morning,” said Attfield. “There were no surprises.”

Pool Play working toward comeback

Pool Play, who was injured and being considered for a career at stud after winning the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs late last spring, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 on the main track here Friday.

“He’s been breezing down in Ocala, getting ready,” said Casse, who trains the 7-year-old Ontario-bred Pool Play for Bill Farish Jr. and notes that the first anniversary of his Stephen Foster win is coming up June 18.

“His injury wasn’t really that bad,” said Casse. “To be honest, we were looking to see if there was any interest in him as a stallion, and there wasn’t much. He’s come back healthy and happy.”

Dixie Strike possible for Queen’s Plate

Casse also reports that Dixie Strike, fifth as the favorite for last Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks, is still a candidate for the Queen’s Plate.

“She’d missed a few days of training, with a tooth abscess, and things didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped they would,” said Casse.

“She came out of the race good, and I still think when she’s right she can be competitive with any of these.”

Making Amends, who finished sixth in last Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, and Golden Ridge, an impressive maiden winner at 1 1/16 miles in his last start May 13, also are scheduled to represent the Casse barn in the Queen’s Plate.