11/15/2012 2:07PM

Woodbine: Ex-claimer Acting Naughty tries to win Jammed Lovely for MacRae


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Don MacRae visited Woodbine’s stakes winner’s circle for the first time in the summer of 2010 after sending out Hooh Why to capture the Grade 3 Seaway.

That was the one and only time that Hooh Why would run under the name of MacRae, however, as he basically was deputizing for the barnstorming Mark Hoffman, co-owner and sometime trainer of that durable 6-year-old mare.

On Saturday, MacRae will be looking to take down the top prize with Acting Naughty in the $150,000 Jammed Lovely, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-bred 3-year-olds fillies which attracted a field of seven,

“Any stake would be good, for sure,” said the 36-year-old MacRae, who conditions Acting Naughty for the Love 2 Win Stable of John and Marilyn Hillier. “But this is with a horse we claimed and moved up the ladder. She’s definitely done well.”

MacRae began training in 1995 and his other previous stakes wins came with horses he had acquired through the claiming box.

Bent Attorney, claimed for $50,000 here in October 2008, went on to win Fort Erie’s $50,000 Ernie Samuel Memorial and $125,000 Rainbow Connection before being haltered for $32,000 in July 2011.

Pembroke Hall, who had been claimed for $25,000 at Fort Erie in July 2003, won 5 of 7 starts for MacRae, including Calder’s $50,000 Rocket Man, and was taken from his seasonal bow at the $12,500 level the following season.

Acting Naughty was claimed for $40,000 when making her fourth start here last fall, then finished last of 12 in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Mazarine before winding up her first campaign with a win at the $32,000 level.

After wintering at MacRae’s Onemoretime Racing Stable in the Niagara Falls area, Acting Naughty returned to action here in a first-level allowance at six furlongs and was beaten a nose as the runner-up at 22-1.

In six subsequent efforts, all at distances ranging from six to seven furlongs, Acting Naughty has compiled a record of 3-1-1. She is coming into the Jammed Lovely off a smart four-length score in a 6 1/2-furlong first-level allowance for fillies and mares which yielded a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 80.

“It was pretty much after her last race that we decided to look at the Jammed Lovely,” said MacRae. “We’ve changed a couple of things on her and she’s really started to develop into a nice little horse.

“She really fits right in this category – Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs. This is definitely a step up, but she deserves a shot.”

Tyler Pizarro, who has been in the irons for all but one of Acting Naughty’s starts this year, also has MacRae’s vote of confidence.

“Tyler gets along with her perfectly,” said the trainer. “She has one kick. You can’t leave it too late.”

Firewithdesire improves with distance

Trainer Steve Attard has had a solid meeting, with 19 wins and earnings of $827,605 heading into Saturday’s program.

But, Attard has yet to register a stakes victory this season and will be looking to rectify that situation when he sends out Fiirewithdesire for Sunday’s $125,000 South Ocean.

“She’s training really good,” said Attard, who also owns Firewithdesire in partnership with Sheldon Pettle and Sam and Sammy Herzog. “She’s in great shape.”

Firewithdesire, a half-sister to last year’s Canadian champion 3-year-old Pender Harbour, was purchased for $42,000 at the select yearling sale here last September.

After picking up minor awards in her first three starts, racing at distances ranging from five to seven furlongs, Firewithdesire tried two turns for the first time on Sept. 14.

“Her form really changed big-time when she went long,” said Attard, who had watched Firewithdesire rally to score by 2 1/2 lengths with Eurico Rosa Da Silva in the irons for the first time. “It seems as though she’ll run all day.”

The South Ocean, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies, attracted a field of five headed by Nipissing, who is perfect in three starts, including the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies at the same distance here Oct. 28.

Firewithdesire, a half-sister to last year’s Canadian champion 3-year-old Pender Harbour, was purchased for $42,000 at the select yearling sale here last September.

Top Rod stretches out for Kingarvie

Attard also is looking forward to trying two turns with Top Rod, a 2-year-old gelding who races for the same partnership.

Top Rod, who finished third in the six-furlong Bull Page for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds in his last start here Oct. 8, is pointing for the $125,000 Kingarvie, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for the same division here Dec. 2.

“He ran very well in the Bull Page,” said Attard, noting that Top Rod had been beaten just 1 1/2 lengths by runner-up Honorable Guest, who came back to capture the restricted Frost King at seven furlongs on Nov. 7. “He would have run good in the Frost King, but he got sick. He overcame that, but not enough to be ready to run there.

Pair of locals in Churchill stakes

Lateegra and Excaper shipped out for Kentucky early Thursday morning with an eye toward stakes races at Churchill Downs this Saturday.

The Mrs. Revere, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies which offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $175,000, is Lateegra’s target.

Excaper has been entered in the Grade 3, $100,000 Commonwealth, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds.

Lateegra became a stakes winner here last time out in the Carotene, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies, and will be ridden by Brian Hernandez of recent Breeders’ Cup Classic fame.

Excaper, who was placing in a stakes race for the sixth time when second in Delaware’s Grade 3 Kent over 1 1/8 miles of turf in his latest, is to be ridden by David Cohen.

Trainer Brian Lynch, who has been dividing his time between Woodbine and Churchill Downs, has entrants in both stakes on the Saturday evening card in Louisville with Any Given Royal in the Commonwealth Turf and English Class in the Mrs. Revere.

Any Given Royal, who dead-heated for third in a second-level allowance race over a mile of turf at Keeneland last time out, will be looking for his first stakes score in the Commonwealth.

English Class was beaten a neck as the runner-up at 35-1 when making her last start in a division of the Grade 3 Valleyview over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Keeneland and also will be looking for her first stakes win.

Lynch will be at Woodbine this weekend, however, to saddle Blue Heart in the Jammed Lovely and Dancing Bay in the South Ocean.