10/29/2012 12:35PM

Woodbine: Halden gets first stakes win as trainer in Princess Elizabeth

Michael Burns
Nipissing wins the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth Stakes by a half-length over Strut the Course.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Rachel Halden is no stranger to a good horse, having spent 10 years as an assistant to Roger Attfield, managing a satellite division here for Bill Mott, and working with Ian Black in recent winters at Payson Park.

But Halden was saddling her first stakes winner in her own right here Sunday when she sent out Nipissing, a homebred daughter of Niigon who races for Chiefswood Stable, to capture the $250,800 Princess Elizabeth for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Remaining undefeated after three starts while trying two turns for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth, Nipissing had to work hard to catch longshot Strut the Course, but was up in time for a half-length victory under her regular rider, Steven Bahen.

“Her other starts, she won very easily,” said the 40-year-old Halden, who went out on her own for the first time in 2008. “I think it was the first time Stevie cocked his stick on her. She seems to be one of those horses who does her running down the lane. She switches leads and kicks on.

“I’m delighted for the filly and for the connections, who have been really supportive of me.”

Nipissing’s Princess Elizabeth win also was a bittersweet moment for Bob and Mark Krembil, masters of Chiefswood Stable, as Niigon died earlier this month at age 11. The 2004 Queen’s Plate winner had been standing at Colebrook Farm as the property of Chiefswood Stable.

Born and raised in England, Halden first became involved with Thoroughbred racing at age 13 and was riding steeplechase races there three years later. She has five horses here for the Krembils and is eager to add to her current six-horse stable.

“I’d been on my own for a time when Bill [Mott] asked me to do that thing for him here,” Halden said. “Then I went back out on my own, to try to build a clientele.”

This winter, Halden plans to be back at Payson Park.

“The last couple of years, I’ve helped Ian and had some horses of my own,” Halden said. “That’s worked out well.”

Nipissing is slated to be among Halden’s charges in Florida, but in the meantime the filly could make one more appearance at Woodbine this fall.

“If she comes out of this in good shape, we’ll think about the South Ocean,” Halden said.

The $125,000 South Ocean, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies, will be run here Nov. 18.

Change of plans pays off for Pierce

Malcolm Pierce had planned to scratch Magic Broomstick if last Saturday’s River Memories, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares, was taken off the turf.

But Pierce, who conditions the Kentucky-bred Magic Broomstick for Sam-Son Farm, had a change of heart and was rewarded when the 6-year-old scored by a half-length under her regular rider Emma-Jayne Wilson when the River Memories was moved to the main track at a mile and 70 yards.

“I didn’t know what we were going to do,” Pierce said. “But looking back, she’d won an a-other-than here on Poly. This was definitely a tougher group, but we decided to give it a whirl. And it worked out, thank goodness.”

Magic Broomstick returned from an 11-month absence to become a stakes winner in the Sept. 30 River Memories, a seven-furlong overnight turf stakes for fillies and mares.

The Nov. 10 Cardinal Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs that was Pierce’s original Plan B for Magic Broomstick, now is off the table, but an appearance in the Blushing K.D. Handicap at Fair Grounds on Dec. 22 is a possibility.

The $75,000 Blushing K.D., an about 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, could be the swan song for Magic Broomstick, if in fact she has not already been retired to the breeding shed before that date.

Forest Uproar, originally scheduled to be Pierce’s only representative if the River Memories was moved to the main track, was taken out of her game when bumped at the starting gate and finished seventh, beaten 6 3/4 lengths, in the field of 11.

“She didn’t run a bad race,” Pierce said. “She could be looking to go to the Blushing K.D., too.”

Forest Uproar, whose lone stakes win came at Fair Grounds in the $58,200 Marie Krantz Memorial in January 2011, also is scheduled to join the Sam-Son broodmare band in the near future.

Something Extra comes back a winner

Something Extra appeared to be headed for a big year when he was a convincing winner of the Grade 2 Connaught Cup over seven furlongs of turf here May 27.

But Something Extra came out of the Connaught Cup with a fractured splint bone that required surgery, six weeks of stall rest, and methodical program of walking, plenty of jogging, galloping, and breezing that culminated in his return to action in the Mt. Sassafras Stakes here last Saturday.

Something Extra repaid his trainer’s patience with a front-running three-quarter-length victory in the $100,200 Mt. Sassafras under Eurico Rosa da Silva, who was riding his 15th stakes winner of the meeting.

“He wasn’t as tired as I had expected,” trainer Gail Cox, who also owns the 4-year-old gelding Something Extra in partnership with John Menary, said Sunday morning.

“Sometimes after his races, he’s been exhausted. He seems to put everything into his races. He’s a very quiet horse around the barn.”

Something Extra now will point to the Nov. 25 Kennedy Road Stakes, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

“That gives him lots of time, and he’ll love the distance,” said Cox, who then plans to have Something Extra amongst her off-season contingent at Payson Park.

“Hopefully, he’ll have a run at Gulfstream. He deserves that.

“He hasn’t run on dirt, but I sort of think he’d run well on it. I think he’d run on anything, although he doesn’t particularly like soft turf.”

Hard Not to Like now with Matz

Hard Not to Like, who had defeated males in the Cup and Saucer and then finished a close fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf for Cox last year, was sidelined this spring and missed out on potential engagements in the Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate.

The homebred Hard Not to Like, off since finishing sixth for owner Garland Williamson in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 4, was transferred to Michael Matz this summer and has been breezing at that trainer’s Fair Hill, Md., base.

◗ David Garcia has appealed a suspension of 10 calendar days, which would have started Thursday, for his ride aboard Charlie Bull here in last Saturday’s fifth race. The stewards ruled that Garcia had come in with his mount and caused Big Time, who was ridden by Tyler Pizarro, to clip heels and fall. Pizarro did not ride for the balance of the weekend.