08/26/2013 10:01AM

Woodbine: Go Greeley, On Rainbow Bridge in spotlight in juvenile stakes

Michael Burns
Go Greeley (inside) beat Heart to Heart by a nose in the Vandal Stakes last out, and the two get a rematch in Wednesday's $200,000 Simcoe Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Six stakes for graduates of local yearling sales are on tap Wednesday at Woodbine as a prelude to the Canadian premier yearling sale at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion on Sept. 3 and Sept. 7. Billed as Canadian Millions Sales Stakes Day, the races will be broadcast on Sportsnet ONE from 7-10 p.m. Eastern.

The two 6 1/2-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds are worth $200,000 apiece. Go Greeley should be favored in the Simcoe for colts and geldings, and On Rainbow Bridge is the one to knock off in the Muskoka for fillies.

The four $125,000 stakes for older horses are the Algoma, Halton, Kenora, and Elgin.

Go Greeley is a nose away from being unbeaten in four outings. He won the open Colin Stakes on July 20, then took the restricted Vandal Stakes by a nose Aug. 11 after dueling all the way with the diminutive Chicago shipper Heart to Heart.

Trainer John Ross said he loved the grit that Go Greeley showed in the six-furlong Vandal.

“He ran a courageous race,” Ross said. “I had heard that [Heart to Heart] was a pretty nice horse, and I was very proud of the way [Go Greeley] dug in down the lane. He came out of it so good and has been training beautifully. He’s a big, strong, mature horse. When you look at him, you wouldn’t know he’s a 2-year-old. He looks like a 3-year-old.”

Heart to Heart graduated at first asking at Arlington for trainer Mike Stidham. He has remained at Woodbine since the Vandal, with the Simcoe as his target, and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson has been galloping him.

“He’s a really cool little horse,” Wilson said. “Excuse the pun, but he was all heart in the Vandal. It was a really gutsy effort. To go head-and-head with Go Greeley – the size difference is immense. I think I won the bob, but I would have had to have been a half-length in front to win.”

Muskoka: On Rainbow Bridge favored

On Rainbow Bridge goes for her third straight stakes win in the Muskoka. She lagged far behind the rest of the field before closing furiously for third in her debut against maidens. She subsequently won both the 5 1/2-furlong Shady Well Stakes and the six-furlong Nandi Stakes from a stalking position.

“I think she’ll be tough,” trainer Dave Cotey said. “She’s run three winning races.”

Paladin Bay checked in second in both the Shady Well and the Nandi, but Skylander Girl should be the second choice in the Muskoka.

Owned and trained by Alex Patykewich, Skylander Girl graduated in her second start in the five-furlong My Dear Stakes on July 6. After ending up fourth just eight days later in the Shady Well, she won the open Ontario Debutante Stakes over six furlongs.

Skylander Girl worked a half-mile in 48.20 seconds on the turf training course last Wednesday under regular rider Jim McAleney.

“I was very happy with her last breeze,” McAleney said. “She’s a very talented, very smart filly. It’s amazing how much she’s grown over the summer. She’s gotten thicker and taller.”

Ross sends out longshot Lexie Lou in the Muskoka. She showed marked improvement with the addition of blinkers in the Nandi.

“She broke sharp in the Shady Well and got caught up in a speed duel,” Ross said. “She was in the middle of it, didn’t like it, and took herself out of there. When we took her back in the Nandi, she responded so much better. She finished fourth and galloped out real good.”