08/19/2011 2:04PM

Woodbine: Frostad, Sam-Son forced to change plans


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Mark Frostad and owner Sam-Son Farm, who were in the spotlight at the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Thursday evening, had been hoping to make a big splash on Sunday’s card.

Windward Islands had been headed for the Grade 2, $250,000 Sky Classic, Forest Uproar for the $100,000 Belle Geste, and Magic Broomstick for the $89,400 allowance prep for the Canadian Stakes.

But when Sunday’s overnight came out, only Forest Uproar was among the day’s entrants, listed to face five other Ontario-foaled fillies and mares in the $100,000 Belle Geste over seven furlongs of turf.

“We decided Windward Islands needed more time between races,” said Frostad of the 7-year-old gelding who has started just 23 times. “He’s old. He has arthritic joints.”

Magic Broomstick was among just four fillies and mares entered for the Canadian prep, which will be offered again for Wednesday’s card.

The Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race, will be run here on Woodbine Mile Day, Sept. 18.

Meanwhile, Forest Uproar will be racing at a distance shorter than one mile for the first time in her career, with her 14 starts having come on turf courses at Woodbine, Fair Grounds, and Keeneland.

“Hopefully, she’s got enough speed to cut back to seven-eighths,” said Frostad.

Forest Uproar has raced forwardly in the majority of her best efforts, which include a victory in the Marie Krantz Memorial over 1 1/6 miles on turf at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 29.

Moonlit Beauty is the only other turf stakes winner in the lineup, having captured last year’s seven-furlong Zadracarta for Ontario-foaled fillies and mares.

That was Moonlit Beauty’s third consecutive win, but she was been well beaten in two more outings last season and in her two appearances in 2011, with the latest being a 10th-place finish in the Zadracarta back on June 18.

“She got bumped around pretty good in there,” said John LeBlanc, who trains the homebred Moonlit Beauty for owner Bill Gierkink. “She just jarred herself.

“We had to give her a little time off, and we’ve cautiously moved forward. She’s come back with some decent workouts. I believe I’ve got her tight enough.

“It’s her distance and surface.”

Rounding out the field will be Amiable Grace, Euro Platinum, Moment of Majesty, and Retraceable.

Amiable is a seven-furlong specialist who became a stakes winner last time out in the Sweet Briar Too. She has run just twice on turf, however, finishing fifth on each occasion for trainer Mike Doyle.

Looking to celebrate anniversary

Trainer Steven Chircop was involved in the most important race of his career last Aug. 21, sending out Kara’s Orientation to finish second in the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby over 1 3/8 miles on dirt at Northlands Park.

Fast-forward one year to the day, and Chircop and Kara’s Orientation will be returning to stakes company for their biggest tests to date here in the Sky Classic.

“The horse is doing good. He worked phenomenally the other day,” said Chircop, who sent out Kara’s Orientation to breeze five furlongs in 59.80 seconds on the training here last Saturday.

Kara’s Orientation is owned by Max Berketa and Pinnacle Racing, a group headed by one of Chircop’s uncles, Joe Chircop.

The 27-year-old Steven Chircop has other well-known relatives in the racing game, as he is a nephew of Tino Attard’s and thus a cousin to Tino’s son, Kevin, both of whom are among the six training Attards based here at Woodbine.

“I was coming out here to work with Tino since I was 12 years old, in the summers,” said Chircop, who went on to serve as an assistant trainer in the barn before taking out his trainer’s license in 2009.

Chircop, operating with a small stable of mostly lower-end horses, toiled in relative anonymity through his first season but his fortunes began to change the following summer when he claimed the 3-year-old Kara’s Orientation for $20,000.

“He came to me in good shape, from Mike McDonald,” said Chircop.

“But, he had a lot of issues at the gate. I started taking him there, schooling him. The first three times, he washed out badly.

“I kept working with him, and he was getting better and better. Mentally, it helped him out a lot.”

Kara’s Orientation finished second when he made his first start for his new connections in a first-level allowance race at 1 1/8 miles and then won a $40,000 claiming race for nonwinners of three at 1 1/16 miles.

Chircop then took the plunge and entered Kara’s Orientation in the Toronto Cup, an open 1 1/8-mile turf race in which the colt fought hard before going down to half-length defeat as the runner-up to Stormy Lord.

Following his trip to Edmonton, Kara’s Orientation finished fifth here in the 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby and later wound up his campaign with a second-place finish in a first-level allowance race run over one mile on yielding turf.

And Kara’s Orientation came back running this spring, winning a difficult $20,000 starter allowance at seven furlongs.

Two starts later, Kara’s Orientation returned to the turf for a first-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles and finished second, beaten a neck. The winner, Riley Ripasso, won the restricted With Approval at the same distance here last weekend.

Most recently, Kara’s Orientation stalked the pace and then took charge for a three-length win under regular rider Emile Ramsammy to knock out his first allowance condition in another 1 1/8-mile turf race.

“It’s quite an accomplishment, to come from where he was to where he’s at now,” said Chircoop.

Still, Chircop appreciates the fact that Kara’s Orientation will have his work cut out when he meets some of the top turf males on the grounds here in the Sky Classic.

“He’s maybe not at this level now, but every time he goes over there he gives 110 percent,” said Chircop.

“He’s a speed horse, with such a big stride. Obviously I’m concerned that there’s other speed in here, with Fifty Proof

“But, I’m not going to change the game plan. It’s the wrong kind of race to try something new.”