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Woodbine: Count on Marketing Mix returning for Canadian
By Bill Tallon
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Marketing Mix definitely has found a second home at Woodbine.
Trained by Tom Proctor, the 4-year-old Marketing Mix has been based mainly in Kentucky and Illinois but now has made six of her 13 career starts here.
And, after recording her second consecutive Grade 2 turf stakes win here in Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly, Marketing Mix now has earned more than $1 million with $582,000 of that total coming via her 3-for-3 record over the local turf course.
Bred by Sean Fitzhenry, Marketing Mix picked up not only the $180,000 winner’s shares of both the June 2 Nassau and the Dance Smartly but also collected $36,000 in bonuses for Ontario-breds.
While the money certainly is a major consideration, Proctor has other reasons for enjoying the trips to Woodbine.
“For training a horse, this is one of the best places in North America,” said Proctor, who had sent Marketing Mix here four days prior to the Nassau and left her here in the care of his assistant Nicky Carrillo for the five weeks leading up to the Dance Smartly. “We beat the weather down south. It’s just been brutal.”
While the temperatures here have not exactly been chilly Marketing Mix obviously thrived in her temporary surroundings and produced a 1 3/4-length victory in the Dance Smartly.
“I was a little concerned when she got pushed over up that other filly’s rear end,” said Proctor, with reference to some traffic problems encountered by Marketing Mix in the stretch.
Julien Leparoux, who is the regular rider of Marketing Mix, reacted quickly and switched his mount to the inside where she prevailed with a sustained rally.
Leparoux was recording his fifth graded stakes win here at Woodbine, including Turallure in last year’s Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and Never Retreat in the same day’s Grade 2 Canadian Stakes.
And, all being well, Leparoux and Marketing Mix will be back for the Sept. 16 Canadian Stakes, a 1 1/8-turf race for fillies and mares which offers a purse of $300,000.
The Canadian also is the major local stakes stepping-stone to the Oct. 14 E.P. Taylor Stakes, a Grade 1, $1 million turf race for the same set.
In the meantime, Marketing Mix was slated to ship out for Arlington Park on Tuesday with her immediate target being the Grade 1, $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes, a 1 3/16 mile turf race for fillies and mares on Aug. 18.
Dene Court handles extra distance
Dene Court, who is owned by Eugene Melnyk, had never raced beyond seven furlongs and there were those who questioned her ability to stay the trip in last Saturday’s Ontario Damsel over one mile of turf.
The skeptics were soundly silenced, however, after Dene Court led throughout the $150,000 Ontario Damsel and while her winning margin was 1 1/4 lengths the filly earned a rare “won easily” comment from Equibase chartcaller Paul Turney.
“She was on the lead in her last race, and it might have looked like she just held on,” said Mark Casse, who had sent out Dene Court to prevail by a neck in the Alywow Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf here June 3.“But, that wasn’t the case. She would never have let those horses by her. Her breeding says she’ll run all day. I may even run her in the Wonder Where.”
Casse now has won the three editions of the Ontario Damsel since the race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies was lengthened from 6 1/2 furlongs to one mile and positioned as a prep for the 1 1/4-mile Wonder Where.
The $250,000 Wonder Where, a turf race which is the final leg of the triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be run here July 29.
Jim Dandy next for Prospective
Casse also was a stakes winner on the road last Saturday, as Prospective, the Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-old colt whom he trains for John Oxley, captured the Grade 3, $100,000 Ohio Derby over 1 1/16 miles at Thistledown.
Woodbine-based rider Jermaine Bridgmohan was aboard Prospective for the first time as the colt scored by 21/2 lengths while defeating just three rivals.
“He ran well, and he ran fast, and they came home really quick,” said Casse. “It was a typical Prospective kind of deal. He made the lead, then was pricking his ears back and forth. He kind of does what he has to do.”
Casse is hoping that the Ohio Derby will serve as Prospective’s springboard to Saratoga’s July 28 Jim Dandy, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds which offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $600,000.
“That was kind of my reasoning in going to Ohio – to get another dirt race into him, to help him get ready for the next race.’
Prospective ran three times on the dirt at Tampa Bay Downs this past winter, sandwiching wins in the seven-furlong Pasco and 1 1/16 mile Tampa Bay Derby around a second-place finish in the 1 1/16 mile Sam Davis.
Man Stuff wins Sweet Briar Too
Man Stuff, who was coming off a third-place finish in the Alywow, was the only 3-year-old in Saturday’s $104,000 Sweet Briar Too but led throughout the seven furlongs under jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva.
Roxy Gap, the multiple-stakes-winning 4-year-old filly who is trained by Casse for owner/breeder Eugene Melnyk, ended second as the 2-5 favorite after chasing along the rail off a slow pace.
Man Stuff, a Kentucky-bred who was a $16,500 yearling purchase, was recording her third win in four starts and bringing her bankroll to $137,200 for owners Mike Coll and Martha Gonzalez.
“She ran pretty much the way I thought she’d run,” said Gonzalez, who also is the wife and assistant to Man Stuff’s trainer, Nick Gonzalez. “She’s a good filly, in good order. And, it was nice being the lone speed. I tell you, I don’t think she ever got out of low gear. Eurico never asked her. I think if [Roxy Gap] had engaged her, she just would have gone on with it.
Gonzalez had been looking for a race to help get Man Stuff to the $150,000 Duchess, a seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-old fillies here July 28.
And, after a straight 3-year-old allowance race one week earlier failed to fill, the Sweet Briar Too became the spot of choice.
“The timing of it was perfect,” said Gonzalez. “She’s maturing an awful lot. She’s really relaxed, and settled.”
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