08/15/2012 2:10PM

Woodbine: Fractured sesamoid ends Simmard's career

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Barbara D. Livingston
Seven-year-old Simmard has been retired due to a fractured sesamoid.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Roger Attfield had been planning to ship Simmard to Saratoga for Saturday’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational. But, in a very unfortunate and sudden turn of events, Simmard’s racing days have come to an end.

“He’d worked very well Monday morning,” said Attfield, who watched Simmard breeze five furlongs in 1:01. “But later on in the day we discovered that he’d fractured his sesamoid. It’s very bad news.”

Simmard, a 7-year-old horse, had been owned by Attfield and Bill Werner but was sold to Antonio Francesco this spring. His only start for Francesco wound up being the June 24 Singspiel, a 1 1/2-mile turf race in which he was beaten a head following a long duel with stablemate Musketier.

This year’s campaign had already been the best to date for turf runner Simmard as he won the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida over 1 3/8 miles at Gulfstream and the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap over 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs.

Simmard retires with a record of 7-5-4 for earnings of $649,003 from 32 starts. He also won the listed Chief Bearhart and placed in five graded stakes, including last year’s Grade 1 Northern Dancer here at Woodbine.

Musketier targets Northern Dancer

The 10-year-old Musketier, who followed up his win in the Grade 3 Singspiel with a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes over 1 1/2 miles of turf at Arlington, is being freshened with an eye toward the Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race which will be run on Sept. 16.

The $500,000 Northern Dancer is the major local stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Canadian International on Oct. 14. Both the Northern Dancer and Canadian International are 1 1/2-mile turf races.

Spice Route finished fourth in the 2010 running of the Northern Dancer and has not raced since then but is back in training with Attfield at age 8.

On Wednesday morning Spice Route had his first recorded breeze, working a leisurely three furlongs in 39 seconds on the main track.

German import may stay for three stakes

Scalo, who is headed for Sunday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Sky Classic Stakes, arrived from Germany very early Wednesday morning in company with stablemate Lacara.

Trained by Andreas Woehler, the 5-year-old Group 1 winner Scalo will be looking to stay on following the 1 1/4-mile Sky Classic with an eye toward the Northern Dancer and Canadian International.

Lacara, a 3-year-old filly, is a maiden who has finished second in each of her three starts.

Stars to Shine set for Beverly D.

Stars to Shine, trained by Mark Frostad, arrived at Arlington early Wednesday morning for Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Beverly D.

Accompanying Stars to Shine were Sarah Ritchie and Brad Nicholds. Both hold assistant trainer’s licenses with Ritchie doubling as a groom and Nicholds as exercise rider.

The Beverly D., a 1 3/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $750,000.

Stars to Shine, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old, has started twice this year, winning the listed Trillium at 1 1/8 miles and the Grade 3 Ontario Matron at 1 1/16 miles with both races coming on the main track.

Her last turf outing came here in last fall’s Grade 2 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile race in which she was beaten 1 1/2 lengths as the third-place finisher behind Never Retreat and Perfect Shirl, both of whom were Grade 1 winners in their next outings.

Star to Shine is owned by The Grange House Partnership, a group which includes trainer Ed Vaughan, who is based in England.

Alex Solis, who is based here at Woodbine but makes frequent forays south of the border, retains the mount on Stars to Shine.

Black has pair for turf stakes

Trainer Ian Black’s stable should be represented in two turf stakes here this weekend with Niigon’s Princess entered in Saturday’s $125,000 Victoriana and Stormy Lord slated for Sunday’s Sky Classic.

Niigon’s Princess, owned by Joe and Ellen McLellan’s Ellie Bojie Farm in partnership with Jim and Jean McClellan, will be seeking her third straight win and first stakes success in the 1 1/16-mile Victoriana for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

Stormy Lord, a 5-year-old gelding who is owned by his breeder, David Willmot, in partnership with the Hat Trick Stable of Doug Murphy and partners, will be looking for the fifth stakes score of his career.

Niigon’s Princess, a 4-year-old who was bred by George Bigliardi and sold for $40,000 at the local select yearling sale, had shown flashes of ability but was 1 for 4 heading into the current meeting with her only win having come in a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles of turf.

This year, after finishing second and then fifth in restricted allowance races over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack, Niigon’s Princess moved back to the turf and landed her first two allowance conditions in front-running fashion at 1 1/16 miles.

“We were just really waiting for turf with her,” said Black. “She definitely appears to be much better on it.”

Emma-Jayne Wilson returns aboard Niigon’s Princess.

Stormy Lord disappointed in his first two starts this season, finishing last in both the seven-furlong Connaught Cup and the one-mile King Edward, and then was entered for the $80,000 price in an optional claiming race at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

That July 14 race turned out to be stakes-caliber as a revitalized Eye of the Leopard, who also is on target for the Sky Classic, rallied to defeat Stormy Lord by a half-length.

Stormy Lord was a clear second and the third-place finisher, Alpha Bettor, came back to upset the Seagram Cup over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack.

“I hope that race has given him some confidence,” said Black, who watched Stormy Lord stalk the pace from second place that day. “He’s trained back well.”

Stormy Lord has traveled as far as 1 1/4 miles just once, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Miami Deco as the runner-up in the Breeders’ Stakes over 1 1/2 miles of turf here Aug. 15.

‘The bottom line is that whether he gets the trip is dependent on pace,” said Black.

◗ Renowned handicapping author Steve Davidowitz will be on hand here Saturday for a one-hour seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand. Davidowitz’s focus will be on playing top-level simulcast stakes and the first 200 registrants will receive a free copy of his book “Betting Thoroughbreds in the 21st Century.”

Pre-registration is available at woodbineentertainment.com.