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Woodbine: Dr. Harkness looks primed to tackle winners for first time
By Ron Gierkink
ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Dr. Harkness made quite a splash in his season opener, and will be back on the grass Friday at Woodbine in the seventh race, a nonwinners-of-two allowance for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.
Dr. Harkness competed twice at 2 for Kingview Farm trainer Catherine Day Phillips. A tardy start led to a distant fifth-place finish when he debuted Nov. 6, but he rallied for second in another six-furlong maiden special for Ontario-sired runners a month later.
Day Phillips’s layoff runners have been effective at the meet, and Dr. Harkness was ready to rumble when he came off the bench May 25. After losing ground along the inside heading into the turn, he rallied down the center of the course to score by a half-length, earning a 70 Beyer Speed Figure. The third-place finisher, Drink Or Sink, came right back to graduate in another maiden special.
Patrick Husbands retains the mount on Dr. Harkness, who is a half-brother to Canadian champion 2-year-old filly Van Lear Rose, a Grade 3 stakes winner.
King Forester should be a factor in the 1 1/16-mile feature. He came from seventh to win his debut going five furlongs on the Polytrack on May 5. A month later over yielding turf in the six-furlong Bold Ruckus Stakes, he broke slowly before making up some ground to finish seventh in a good 10-horse field of Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.
David Moran will get a leg up from trainer Danny O’Callaghan on King Forester, who is bred to be a turf miler.
Seen It All Before has not raced on grass, but his full sister, Reconnect, won last year’s La Prevoyante Stakes over Woodbine’s expansive course.
Seen It All Before ran big when going long in Ontario-sired company at 2. He hasn’t started since Oct. 27, when he was a close second in an allowance to Run in Aruba, who subsequently took the Kingarvie Stakes.
Seen It All Before is trained by Ashlee Brnjas, who also sends out the maiden Fire Exit.
Westdale Warrior, like Fire Exit, is a son of turf expert Strut the Stage, a multiple Grade 2 stakes winner.
Westdale Warrior earned his diploma against $25,000 maidens in his seasonal bow on the Polytrack, over which he ran third in a nine-furlong allowance June 3. His dam won on the grass.
The unraced Bare Is Best has an excellent turf pedigree. A son of Best of the Bests, Bare is Best is out of a mare who was unbeaten in three grass starts. She has thrown two turf winners, including Flashy Dream, who won nine times on grass.
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