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Woodbine: Gonzalez loads up in Whimsical Stakes
By Ron Gierkink
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Nick Gonzalez will take three shots at Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Whimsical Stakes when he runs Evil Kitten, Man Stuff, and Starship Universe in the six-furlong dash for fillies and mares at Woodbine.
Evil Kitten and Man Stuff are both making their first start of the year and have been breezing together, according to Gonzalez.
“They’ve worked together five or six times,” Gonzalez revealed. “They’ve been working lights out. I can’t really say that one got the better of the other. They both won their first start last year. They both run good fresh. I know it’s an ambitious spot, but they’re two decent fillies.”
Evil Kitten was competitive in each of her five stakes outings in 2012, during which she won two allowances under Eurico Da Silva, who has the mount.
The speedy Man Stuff tailed off in the fall, after capturing the Sweet Briar Too Stakes in July. Jermaine Bridgmohan will ride her.
Starship Universe ships in from Gulfstream Park off a victory in a five-furlong conditioned claimer on the grass and is debuting off the $30,000 claim.
“I like everything about her,” Gonzalez said. “It’s kinda crazy running a filly who’s eligible for nonwinners of three in a stakes, but she’s doing great. She’s a fit horse, and if you’re ever going to take advantage of her fitness, I guess now’s the time to do it. She was good on the turf and might convert that over to the Polytrack.”
Sisterly Love, Northern Passion, and Acting Naughty were supplemented to the Whimsical for $3,000 apiece.
Sisterly Love prevailed in each of her first three races late last year before checking in third in the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic in January. She has been freshened since ending up fifth in the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap on March 2 at Aqueduct, and this will be her first start on Polytrack.
Trainer Mark Casse sends out Sisterly Love and Grade 3 stakes winner Northern Passion, who’s been idle since her runner-up placing behind Irish Mission in the June 3 Woodbine Oaks.
Acting Naughty has worked quickly for her first appearance since she ran second to Evil Kitten in a Dec. 9 optional claimer. She was previously a close second in the restricted Jammed Lovely Stakes.
Silent Serenity will be prominent from the outset. She captured the Oct. 13 Ruling Angela Stakes in front-running fashion, but then failed to keep up in two subsequent stakes before going to the bench.
Rounding out the field are Distracting, who won a second-level allowance Feb. 21 at Santa Anita, and Katie Get Excited.
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