11/15/2011 1:57PM

Woodbine: Hank's Hill wins six at meet, looking for more


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – You won’t be hearing his name in connection with the Sovereign Awards, but Hank’s Hill could stake his claim to fame in an important category here at Woodbine this year.

Hank’s Hill, haltered for $12,500 by trainer Will Armata here Aug. 19, has scored in four of six starts for his new barn to bring his total to a meet-leading six victories.

His latest success came here last Friday when regular rider Emile Ramsammy rallied Hank’s Hill from just off the pace to score by a convincing 2 1/4 lengths for a $9,500 claiming price at six furlongs.

A 3-year-old gelding who was bred in Florida by his original owner, Gilbert Campbell, Hank’s Hill had won his local seasonal bow over 6 1/2 furlongs at the $32,000 level and won at six furlongs on the evening that Armata dropped the claim slip.

“One night when he ran for $16,000, he got beat a nose,” said the 29-year-old Armata, who is in his fourth year as a trainer after working as an assistant to his father, Vito Armata. “When Mark put him in for $12,500, I thought he’s be a good purchase. He’s got a lot of pump, that horse.”

Running back five days off the claim, Hank’s Hill finished third for a $23,500 price at five furlongs. Hank’s Hill then knocked out a triple when winning for six and seven furlongs for $23,500 and at seven furlongs for $20,000 before the bubble burst on the evening of Oct. 19.

“I don’t really like to make excuses, but I think the track was to blame for ruining his streak,” said Armata, who had watched Hank’s Hill finish sixth when traveling six furlongs at the $16,000 level. “They canceled the races the next day.”

Armata entered Hank’s Hill for $12,500 on Oct. 29, but the horse was scratched.

“I felt he needed a little more time,” said Armata, who trains Hank’s Hill for his cousin, Pietro Armata. “When I ran him last Friday, it was 24 days exactly from his last race. I should be able to bring him back in a couple of weeks.”

Hank’s Hill is one of 10 horses in the Armata barn here, and all are scheduled to see action before the meeting winds up Dec. 4.

Five of those horses were acquired via the claiming route, and Captain Raucous, claimed for $12,500 here Aug. 5, also has more than paid his way with wins for $19,000 and $12,500 and three third-place finishes for prices ranging from $15,000 to $23,500 in six starts.

“I’ll rent stalls and take care of them all winter,” Armata said. “You have to make sure the horses have a good winter.

“When they open the gates here in February, I’ll be back.”

Atlantic Hurricane seeks sixth win of meet

Atlantic Hurricane, Quick Joe, and Consolidator Joe all have won five races at the meeting. But only the 4-year-old filly Atlantic Hurricane will be getting a shot at No. 6 as she is slated to see action in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Bessarabian at seven furlongs.

“She’s good to go,” said Stuart Simon, who claimed Atlantic Hurricane from a winning effort for $40,000 back on June 10 and has sent her out to win four of five starts, including the Seaway and Ontario Fashion. “She breezed well the other day.”

That move came here last Saturday, when Atlantic Hurricane was clocked in 1:01 for five furlongs.

Quick Code, a 3-year-old gelding who debuted with a winning effort at the $32,000 claiming level for trainer Mike DePaulo here this spring, went on to win four more races, including the six-furlong Kenora Stakes for products of the local yearling sale.

In his most recent appearance, Quick Code finished fourth as the favorite when racing under the third-level allowance clause in an optional $80,000 claiming race.

“I was thinking of taking him to Florida,” said DePaulo, who does not envision finding an appropriate race here for Quick Code through the balance of the meeting. “But I’m going to send him to the farm here for the winter and have him fresh for next year.”

Consolidator Joe, a 3-year-old gelding trained by Norm McKnight, won his first lifetime start here this summer when tagged for $47,500. In six subsequent appearances, Consolidator Joe has won his first allowance condition and for claiming prices of $40,000, $47,500, and $50,000, with those last three wins coming in succession.

“He had a good season,” McKnight said. “He’s got some issues. He’s going to the farm for a rest.”

Fifty Proof ‘healing up nicely’ on farm

Fifty Proof, who was sidelined by a tear in a suspensory this summer, has been recuperating at David Willmot’s Kinghaven Farm and underwent an ultrasound examination there Tuesday.

“It’s healing up nicely,” said Ian Black, who trains Fifty Proof for the partnership of Willmot, John Fielding, and Ben Hutzel. “We’re looking at the New Year. We’ll give him another month to six weeks before we start him up.”

Fifty Proof, an Ontario-sired 5-year-old gelding, had emerged as an elite performer when finishing a lapped-on second in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer and a close fifth in the Grade 1 Canadian International.

Continuing in a similar vein this spring, Fifty Proof became a stakes winner in the Grade 3 Eclipse on the main track and then finished a close second in both the Grade 2 King Edward and Grade 2 Nijinsky on the turf course.

Stormy Lord set for Calder’s Tropical Turf

Stormy Lord, a leading candidate for the Sovereign Award as champion male turf horse, is scheduled to make his final appearance of the season in Calder’s Grade 3, $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on Dec. 2.

Black, who trains Stormy Lord for Kinghaven and Hat Trick Stable, originally had been looking at this Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 River City at 1 1/8 miles on Churchill Downs turf course

“We decided to give him a little more time,” said Black, who sent out Stormy Lord to record his fourth stakes win of the season in the Labeeb over one mile of yielding turf here Oct. 30.