07/29/2013 1:59PM

Woodbine: Five Iron again thrives in open company with Toronto Cup win


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Five Iron was on his game again here last Saturday, surviving a rainstorm and an inquiry involving the start to lead throughout the $127,750 Toronto Cup over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The success in an open 3-year-old stakes was the second straight for Five Iron, who had captured the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park on the main track in similar front-running fashion on June 16.

“He’s dangerous when he gets left alone,” said Brian Lynch, who conditions the Kentucky-bred Five Iron for Fred Allor. “I was thrilled with his race. I was a little nervous when they posted the inquiry, but you could see from the pan shot that he was well clear.”

Five Iron, a $17,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland, had placed in three stakes prior to making the breakthrough and now has earned $296,731. His Beyer Speed Figure for the Toronto Cup was a career-high 88.

“He’s maturing; he’s getting a lot kinder in his races,” said Lynch. “He’s taking baby steps, but whenever they can win two stakes in a row you’re doing pretty well.”

Lynch will look at both the Grade 3 Saranac, a 1 3/16-mile turf race at Saratoga on Sept. 1, and the Ontario Derby, a 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race here Sept. 15, as options for Five Iron’s next appearance.

Both the Saranac and the Ontario Derby are for 3-year-olds and are worth $150,000.

The Toronto Cup was the fourth stakes win of the meet for the Lynch barn and the 11th for jockey Luis Contreras. Those connections will team up in the next week in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Seagram Cup with Any Given Royal and Dancing Bay in Monday’s $125,000 Eternal Search.

Any Given Royal tuned up for the Seagram Cup with a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.80 under Contreras here Sunday morning, going in company with 3-year-old stablemate Plenty Elusive, who was clocked in 1:01.80.

“He’s going into the race as good as I’ve ever had him,” said Lynch. “I’m looking forward to getting him back on the Polytrack.”

Any Given Royal has started five times on the grass since running second in the Ontario Derby here last September.

Dancing Bay, owned by Dansanray Stable, will be stretching out to 1 1/16 miles for the Eternal Search after finishing a closing third, beaten a length, when making her seasonal bow in the restricted Passing Mood over seven furlongs of turf here July 13.

“She probably needed her first race,” said Lynch.

Lynch loaded for stakes

Coffee Clique and Spin the King, who gave Lynch his first two stakes wins at the meeting, also are preparing for upcoming stakes engagements.

The Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Colleen, an open one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies here Aug. 17, is Coffee Clique’s target.

Spin the King is nominated to the Aug. 11 Vandal, a $150,000 race for Ontario-bred 2-year-olds at six furlongs, but could await the Aug. 28 Simcoe, a $200,000 yearling sales stakes for Canadian-breds at 6 1/2 furlongs here Aug. 28.

“We’re on schedule for the Vandal, if we decide to go,” said Lynch, who sent out Spin the King to breeze five furlongs in 1:01 here Sunday.

Coffee Clique, a Kentucky-bred owned by John and Jerry Amerman, won the Grade 3 Selene, an open race for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles on the main track here May 19. Facing older rivals in her next start, the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, Coffee Clique finished fourth in the field of 10, beaten 4 1/2 lengths.

“She ended up on the lead, and that’s not really her style of running,” said Lynch.

Spin the King finished second in his debut, a 4 1/2-furlong Ontario-sired maiden race, and then was a game winner of the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon for Ontario-breds.

The runner-up there, Go for Greeley, came back to score impressively in the open Colin Stakes at six furlongs.

Lynch also reports that his talented sprinter Clearly Now is being freshened with an eye toward the Gallant Bob, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds at Parx Racing on Sept. 21 which offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $300,000.

Tiller’s confidence pays off

Trainer Bob Tiller had a plan for Nikkis Smartypants, and did not waver.

And, Tiller’s constancy paid off as Nikkis Smartypants, a 4-year-old filly whom he conditions for Ben Hutzel, made her turf debut a winning one here Sunday in the Grade 3, $175,500 Royal North Stakes at six furlongs with Eurico Rosa Da Silva in the irons.

“Obviously, we’re thrilled to win a Grade 3 with her,” said Tiller. “We aimed for this race, and it worked out good.”

Tiller now has several options for Nikkis Smartypants, who was making her second start of the season after taking her opener over six furlongs on the main track.

The Grade 3, $150,000 Seaway, a seven-furlong stakes here Aug. 31, is the next open sprint stakes for the filly-mare division.

But Nikkis Smarty Pants also is a product of the local yearling sale, having sold for $47,000 at a select session, and could resurface in the six-furlong Kenora, the 1 1/16-mile Algoma for fillies and mares, or even the Halton over one mile on turf on the Aug. 28 yearling sales stakes program.

“I think she’ll relax and go long,” said Tiller. “The one time I tried her around two turns last year she was all over the racetrack.”

That effort came in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette, in which Nikkis Smartypants finished last of six but was beaten just 4 1/4 lengths.

Tiller also unveiled a promising 2-year-old here Sunday in Spadina Road, who overcame a troubled start to score by 6 1/2 lengths under jockey Matt Moore in an Ontario-sired maiden race.

“You’ve got to be excited with the way he ran,” said Tiller, who trains Spadina Road for Rolph Davis. “He got body-checked leaving the gate, and once he got going he ran by them like they were standing still.

“To me, it was impressive.”

Spadina Road, a $76,000 buy at the local yearling sale, is eligible for the $200,000 Simcoe, the 6 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-olds and geldings on the Aug. 28 program. The Where’s the Ring colt also is nominated to the $150,000 Vandal, a six-furlong race for Ontario-bred 2-year-olds here Aug. 11.

Spadina Road is a half-brother to Casa Loma, a $35,000 yearling purchase who placed in three stakes and banked $275,168 for Davis.

“We had quite a bit of respect for her, and she had some issues,” said Tiller.

Casa Loma died in a freak accident early this winter when she became tangled up in a fence while turned out on the farm.

“She was mangled quite badly,” said Tiller. “They sent her to Milton [Equine Hospital], but they couldn’t save her.”

Casa Loma’s demise was all the sadder because she had suffered a life-threatening reaction to an antibiotic while still at the racetrack in late fall.

“It was touch and go for a while,” said Tiller.