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Woodbine: Frostad shifts gears for Bessarabian
By Bill Tallon
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Mark Frostad initially planned to run Chokurei in Saturday’s Grade 3 Bessarabian, a $150,000 race for fillies and mares.
But Frostad called an audible this week, electing to reserve Chokurei for a stakes appearance early in the Gulfstream meeting and supplementing Stars to Shine to the Grade 3, seven-furlong Bessarabian.
Stars to Shine, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old who races for The Grange House Partnership, is coming into the Bessarabian after stalking the pace but fading to finish last of eight in the Maple Leaf Stakes over 1 1/4 miles here Nov. 3.
“She didn’t run at all,” Frostad said. “I don’t know what happened to her.”
Stars to Shine, who is entered in January’s Keeneland horses of racing age sale, was returning to Polytrack for the Maple Leaf after tackling some solid international turf company in Woodbine’s Grade 1 E.P. Taylor and Grade 2 Canadian and in Arlington’s Grade 1 Beverly D.
Before that, Stars to Shine had captured her first two starts of the season while racing on the main track in the 1 1/8-mile Trillium and the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron.
And while Stars to Shine’s only previous one-turn tries have come here on the turf, her trainer is optimistic that she’ll be suited to the Bessarabian distance.
“She’s been training well,” Frostad said. “She’s pretty sharp. “She’s got a good turn of foot – she can run her race.”
Alex Solis, who had been Stars to Shine’s rider while based at Woodbine this year, has called it a meeting and will be replaced by Todd Kabel in the Bessarabian.
Chokurei, an Irish-bred 4-year-old who is owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa al Nayan, made the first 10 starts of her career in England and joined Frostad here this spring.
In her local debut, Chokurei finished sixth, beaten just three lengths, in the Belle Mahone over 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack on Aug. 19.
Her two subsequent outings here, also in overnight stakes, yielded a second-place finish behind Bessarabian entrant Magic Broomstick in the Avowal over seven furlongs on grass and a close third behind that same winner in the River Memories, which was run over a mile and 70 yards on the main track after originally having been scheduled for one mile on turf.
Chokurei’s target at Gulfstream is the Dec. 9 South Beach, a $100,000 turf race for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.
Kingarvie on the map for ‘Pyrite’
Frostad also is looking forward to the Dec. 2 Kingarvie Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds that is the next scheduled appearance for Pyrite Mountain.
“He’s training great,” Frostad said. “It looks like he might be a nice horse.”
Owned by a Frank Stronach-formed syndicate, Pyrite Mountain was a $50,000 purchase at the select local yearling sale and closed strongly to be beaten a head as the runner-up when debuting in an open seven-furlong maiden race here Nov. 4.
“I expected him to run well,” Frostad said. “One more jump and he was going to win the race.
“I could have waited and run him in an Ontario-sired race, but then we were going to miss the Kingarvie.”
Frostad also had nominated Pyrite Mountain to the Dec. 1 Display, an open 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds that offers a purse of $150,000 and $30,000 in bonus money for Ontario-breds.
“That would have been for $180,000 as opposed to $125,000 for the Kingarvie,” Frostad said. “But you’ve got to go to the right spot.”
Frostad, who expects his barn to be down to a dozen horses by the weekend, will be returning to Palm Meadows this winter and currently has 25 stalls there.
“We’ll be doing some racing at Gulfstream,” Frostad said.
Ultimate Destiny changes hands
Ultimate Destiny, runner-up in this summer’s 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, was sold privately last weekend and now is owned and trained by Alec Fehr.
“He definitely comes out to play. He tries every time,” Fehr said. “He’s been stakes placed on every surface.”
Ultimate Destiny, an Ontario-sired 3-year-old gelding who was purchased for $16,000 at the local yearling sale, had finished second in last year’s Kingarvie, was beaten a length when facing fellow Canadian-breds on the dirt in the Prince of Wales, and ended up the runner-up once again here in the restricted Vice Regent over one mile on turf.
In 13 career starts for trainer Mike Keogh and owner Brenda Selwyn Waxman, Ultimate Destiny compiled a record of 2-5-1 for earnings of $273,454.
Ultimate Destiny last saw action here Nov. 11, finishing game third in a restricted second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles. Fehr is hoping to run back his new acquisition under the same terms before meet’s end.
“After that, he’ll need some time off,” said Fehr, who winters his stock on the farm in nearby Hillsburgh. “With a little bit of luck, he’ll be as good or better next year.”
Cotey taking over for Cappuccitti
Dave Cotey will be the trainer of record for the barn of the late Audre Cappuccitti, who died Monday at age 75.
Cotey will send out Rockabyebaby for the estate of Audre Cappuccitti here in Friday’s fourth race, a $20,000 conditioned claimer for fillies and mares.
On Sunday, Cotey should be putting the tack on Essence Hit Man for the Grade 3 ,$150,000 Kennedy Road Stakes.
Da Silva New Orleans-bound
Eurico Rosa da Silva will be at Fair Grounds on Friday to ride Aldous Snow and Fighter for trainer Malcolm Pierce.
Aldous Snow, a homebred who races for Sam-Son Farm, is entered in the $75,000 Woodchopper, an about one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds.
Fighter, a Kentucky-homebred 3-year-old owned by Pin Oak Stable, will run in a first-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up over about 7 1/2 furlongs of turf.
◗ Friday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs also features some Canadian connections.
Pool Play and Stealcase, both trained by Mark Casse, are among the 14 entrants for the 1 1/8-mile Clark and Eye of the Leopard, a Sam-Son Farm-bred 6-year-old who was solid privately this fall, will make his second start for trainer Wayne Lukas.
◗ Tesseron, trained here by Josie Carroll, is at Churchill Downs for Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. A Kentucky-bred who is owned by the Donver Stable of Donna and Vern Dubinsky, Tesseron won at first asking here over 1 1/16 miles and then finished second in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at the same distance.
His opponents in the Grade 2, $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club include Uncaptured, a Canadian-bred trained by Casse who suffered his first defeat when fifth in the Grey but came back to take the Grade 3, one-mile Iroquois at Churchill Downs on Oct. 28.
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