11/09/2011 3:29PM

Woodbine: Eagle Poise a player in Valedictory prep


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The classy U.S. invader Eagle Poise is among a diverse field of eight in the $89,400 prep for the Grade 3 Valedictory Stakes at Woodbine Friday. The 1 5/8-mile allowance also attracted champion Eye of the Leopard, along with the popular gelding Helicopter.

Eagle Poise is winless since he romped home on top by eight lengths in the 2009 Valedictory prep. He went on to finish second to Cloudy’s Knight in the 1 3/4-mile Valedictory itself.

Bill Mott trained Eagle Poise throughout 2010, during which he ran in a host of graded stakes, without much luck. He has had two starts this year for trainer Graham Motion, which included a second following a long layoff in a Sept. 1 allowance at Presque Isle Downs.

Most recently in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland, Eagle Poise flattened out to finish sixth after a stalking trip in the 13-furlong Polytrack event. Patrick Husbands, who rode him when he was on top of his game late in 2009, has the mount.

Eye of the Leopard was Canada’s champion 3-year-old in 2009, during which he won the prestigious Queen’s Plate and the Plate Trial Stakes, before ending up third in the Prince of Wales Stakes.

Eye of the Leopard finished a close second in last year’s Valedictory behind Pool Play, who eventually captured the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill. In his lone outing this year here Oct. 2 in the nine-furlong Durham Cup Stakes, he tracked a moderate pace before fading to fourth.

Leading rider Luis Contreras takes over on the Mark Frostad-trained Eye of the Leopard.

The Chicago-based Helicopter never challenged as the favorite in a 1 3/4-mile starter on the grass here Oct. 9. The 19-time winner found the mark in his two previous races at Arlington, including in a long $25,000 claimer on the turf.

Brandon Meier was named on Helicopter by trainer Larry Rivelli.

Trainer Scott Fairlie sends out the entry of Holy Schneikies and Tierra Del Tigre.

Holy Schneikies competed in several lengthy starters at the meet, winning two of them on the grass in July. He was a minor player on Polytrack and turf in his last two engagements.

Tierra Del Tigre figures to set the pace, in his first try beyond a middle distance. He has maintained good form since Fairlie claimed him for $50,000 in June.

Serious Indeed recently found his calling over marathon distances, and could threaten at a square price.