05/20/2011 12:56PM

Woodbine: Daniel Be Good can boost Gonzalez stable


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Nick Gonzalez stable has endured more than its share of bad luck here this spring, winning with just one of its first 36 starters while watching nine end second and seven third heading into Friday’s program.

But a breakout can’t be long in coming, and the barn could get a big boost on Sunday from Daniel Be Good, who will start in the $125,000 New Providence Stakes.

Daniel Be Good, a homebred who is owned by the Terra Farm of Dom Romeo, has finished third in four stakes, facing Ontario-sired opposition on three of those occasions and Ontario-foals on the other.

The 5-year-old gelding came close to getting that elusive stakes success here on opening day in the Debut, a five-furlong stakes for Ontario-sired horses.

Breaking from the 10 post in a field of 11, Daniel Be Good pressed the pace and assumed command in midstretch only to yield to the late charge of Don’s Folly, who also is back for the New Providence.

A subsequent appearance was not as rewarding, as Daniel Be Good came back four weeks later to set a rapid pace only to tire in the final furlong to finish seventh, beaten 4 3/4 lengths, in an open second-level allowance/$62,500 optional claimer

“He ran a very, very hard race first time out,” said Nick Gonzalez, who also trains a large string at Fort Erie while his wife and assistant, Martha, oversees most of the daily doings here.

“We tried to give him a lot of time, with the New Providence in mind. But in that allowance race, three weeks ago, it wasn’t a speed day, and he pressed through some hot fractions.”

While his speed may have led to his downfall that day, Daniel Be Good could be looking at a much more favorable pace scenario this time around.

“When Daniel gets his own way, he’s a lot better horse,” said Gonzalez.

Big Red Mike doesn’t look the same

Team Gonzalez and the Romeo family were front and center at the Sovereign Award ceremony here this April as Big Red Mike parlayed his scores in the Plate Trial and Queen’s Plate into a divisional title.

Big Red Mike has yet to replicate those heroics, however, and was a disappointing last of six when he made his seasonal debut in a difficult seven-furlong allowance spot here April 30.

“He didn’t get enough out of that race to move forward,” said Gonzalez, who nominated Big Red Mike to next Saturday’s Eclipse and Sunday’s Connaught Cup but also will be exploring other options.

“His blood is 100 percent, but his coat is kind of flat.”

The Grade 3 Eclipse will be run over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack, while the Grade 2 Connaught Cup is scheduled to be the first turf race of the season and will go at seven furlongs.

Both stakes are for 4-year-olds and upward and offer purses of $150,000.

DiPasquale off to hot start

Trainer Sam DiPasquale has been quick off the mark here this spring, fashioning a record of 7-6-2 from 32 starters heading into Sunday’s program.

On Monday, DiPasquale will be looking to put an exclamation mark on his record when he sends out Robnpetertopaypaul for the $125,000 Lady Angela, a seven-furlong stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

“I think seven furlongs will be perfect for her,” said DiPasquale, who trains Robnpetertopaypaul for Frank Panza.

Robnpetertopaypaul debuted here last Oct. 9 and was an impressive winner of a restricted maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs.

But in her next start, which came in the restricted South Ocean over 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 9, Robnpetertopaypaul faltered to finish fifth after leading late into the final turn.

“She really didn’t want to run a mile and a sixteenth,” said DiPasquale. “She wasn’t 100 percent ready, but I gave her the shot.”

After wintering in Ontario and starting up on owner/trainer Paul Buttigieg’s farm, Robnpetertopaypaul resurfaced here April 15 and was a sharp winner of a first-level allowance race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies at five furlongs.

“Right after she won her opener, I started looking at the Lady Angela,” said DiPasquale, who has 26 stalls here and wintered the majority of his horses in Florida.

“I’d hoped to get one more into her, but it didn’t work out. She had some little issues. But, everything’s good now.

Tough finding spot for I Fly High

DiPasquale trains another promising 3-year-old filly in I Fly High, who is undefeated in two career starts for owner Murray Stroud.

I Fly High’s successes came in a maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs, in her debut here last July 17, and in a first-level allowance at five furlongs on April 2.

Being a Florida-bred, however, I Fly High’s opportunities here are not plentiful.

“I entered her the other day but the race didn’t fill,” said DiPasquale. “She’s shown indications that she can go five furlongs to seven furlongs."

DiPasquale is pointing I Fly High for the Alywow, an open overnight stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf here June 5.

Attfield charges get in works

Trainer Roger Attfield sent out Hollinger and Society’s Chairman to breeze six furlongs in 1:12.40 here Friday.

Hollinger, who had Tyler Pizarro in the irons, is slated for the Connaught Cup, while Society’s Chairman, who had Jono Jones aboard, is targeting the Grade 2, $250,000 King Edward, a one-mile turf stakes on June 25.

Check Your Soul and Mekong Melody also breezed in company for Attfield, getting five furlongs in 1:01.20.

Patrick Husbands rode Check Your Soul, who remains on target for the $150,000 Plate Trial here June 5. The Plate Trial, for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, goes at 1 1/8 miles.

Richard Dos Ramos did the honors on Mekong Melody, who is eyeing the Grade 2, $300,000 Nassau for fillies and mares over one mile of turf here June 4.

Jockey Club courts new owners

The Jockey Club of Canada will be hosting an evening at the races for potential new owners beginning at 6 p.m. here Wednesday, June 1.

The $25 per-person cost includes dinner in the Woodbine Club, a tour of the saddling enclosure, and a winner’s circle presentation and photo.

Guest speakers will discuss subjects including partnerships, syndicates, and auctions.

Tickets are available by phone at 416 675-7756 or by e-mail at jockeyclub@bellnet.ca. Space is limited and the deadline for booking is May 26.

* A memorial service for former trainer Bill Marko will be held at noon here Thursday in the backstretch recreation room

Marko died of a heart attack in the backstretch kitchen here n Aprll 23. He was 73.