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Woodbine: Hold That Echo targets sixth win of meet
By Bill Tallon
ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Heading into the weekend, Hold That Echo was the only horse to have recorded as many as five victories at the current Woodbine meeting.
On Sunday, Hold That Echo will be gunning for the six-pack in the second race, which is a $25,000 claimer for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.
Hold That Echo, who is conditioned by Steven Chircop, will be seeking her third straight victory after winning for $10,000 on Oct. 10 and then landing her first allowance condition on Oct. 26, with both races at 1 1/16 miles.
Chircop, who also owns Hold That Echo in partnership with his younger sister, Lee Ann, had claimed the 5-year-old mare for $10,000 here July 27.
“I’d been watching her early on,” said Chircop. “She’d been a consistent horse. That’s kind of what I look for.”
Hold That Echo had fashioned a career mark of 8-2-4 from 25 starts when Chircop dropped the claim slip and had finished second twice and third once for her new barn prior to her recent scores.
“She’s kind of a nervous horse,” said Chircop. “You have to take your time, but do a lot with her. After a couple of days walking, she wants to get back to the track. She loves to train, and she trains very forwardly.
“She’s kind of been the same horse all along. I don’t see any improvement, or regression.
Hold That Echo frequently has been off to poor starts and been confronted with slow fractions in her races.
“It makes it much tougher,” said Chircop. “She’s had those problems again and again.
“A couple of times, when she finished second, she might have won but she moved too early. She’s not the easiest horse to ride. “
Jesse Campbell, who rode Hold That Echo for the first time in her latest appearance, retains the mount.
‘I’d love to see her finish on top, in races won, and I think she’s in a pretty good spot Sunday,” said Chircop.
“When you’ve got a horse with confidence, it means everything.”
Kara’s Orientation needs time to recuperate
Hold That Echo is not expected to be amongst Chircop’s charges at Penn National, where he plans to campaign following the conclusion of the Woodbine meeting.
“She’s been going a long time — all last year, all winter — and she hasn’t had a break this year,” said Chircop, who also reports that stable star Kara’s Orientation is on the sidelines.
“He was hurt, in his last race,” said Chircop, who had sent out Kara’s Orientation to finish third but be placed second via disqualification in the $250,000 Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President’s Cup at Parx Racing on Sept. 15.
“He’ll need a lot of time. He’s walking here now, and we’re doing some procedures.
“Hopefully, if everything come out all right, he’ll be back.”
Kara’s Orientation, claimed for $20,000 in the spring of 2010, won the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 1/4 miles of turf here in the summer of 2011 but was blanked in six appearances this season.
Strut the Course re-routed to Ontario Lassie
Strut the Course, who had been pointing for Sunday’s $125,000 South Ocean and a rematch with Princess Elizabeth winner Nipissing, was not entered after fighting a losing battle with the virus that is making the rounds of the backstretch here.
“I scoped her after I blew her out on Friday, and she was still full of mucus,” said Barbara Minshall, who trains the homebred Strut the Course for John Unger. “I couldn’t run her like that.
“I might try to get her to the Ontario Lassie now.”
The $150,000 Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-bred 2-year-old fillies, will be run here Dec. 9.
Ariana D becomes a broodmare
Ariana D, who had been expected to return to Woodbine for next Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Bessarabian Stakes, instead will be heading to the breeding shed.
“She came out of her last race with a little problem in behind, and the owner decided to retire her,” said Laurie Silvera, who trained the homebred Ariana D for her owner, Bill Thompson Jr., during her stints at Woodbine.
“The Bessarabian would have been her last race.’
Ariana D, trained by Merrill Scherer and most recently Andrew McKeever when she raced in the United States, won the 2010 Bessarabian in her first start for Silvera and added the Avowal at the same seven-furlong distance here last year.
Bred in Pennsylvania, the 6-year-old Ariana D had become a stakes winner in the restricted Northern Fling at Presque Isle Downs in the spring of 2010.
Ariana D also finished second or third in 11 stakes races, including Keeneland’s Grade 1 Madison, the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters, two Grade 3 stakes at Arlington, and four Grade 3 stakes at Woodbine. All of her victories and stakes placings came on synthetic surfaces, at distances ranging from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles.
Her last start, a win under third-level allowance terms over 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland on Oct. 21, brought Ariana D’s career record to 9-7-9 from 33 starts for a bankroll of $707,195.
Essence Hit Man on target for Kennedy Road
Essence Hit Man, pointing for next Sunday’s Grade 3 $150,000 Kennedy Road Stakes, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 on the main track here Friday with his regular rider Jesse Campbell in the irons.
A 5-year-old gelding who is trained by his co-owner and breeder Audre Cappuccitti, Essence Hit Man, was sent home in September after coming up with a pus pocket but has been working well as he looks to defend his title in the six-furlong Kennedy Road for 3-year-olds and upward.
Essence Hit Man’s opposition in the Kennedy Road is expected to include Something Extra, winner of the seven-furlong Mt. Sassafras in his last start, and Bear Tough Tiger, who is coming off a close third-place finish in the Grade 1 Nearctic over six furlongs on turf.
Suspensions for four trainers dropped
Trainers Roger Attfield, Michael Doyle, Justin Nixon, and Claudia Rabstein all have been fined $900 but will not serve suspensions for incidents in which starters in their care came back with positive tests last year.
The matter was dealt with after an Ontario Racing Commission appeal panel approved a joint submission made by representatives of the trainers prior to a scheduled hearing on Oct. 29.
The original rulings, handed down this April 25, had called for 15-day suspensions and $1,000 fines for the four trainers with positive tests for Ketaprofen, a Class IV drug with anti-inflammatory properties.
Galan’s Wings, trained by Attfield, had won the third race here last Sept. 24. The other positives came from races at Fort Erie in September and October.
The ORC, in its ruling dated Nov. 7 but released late Wednesday afternoon, also confirmed the disqualification of the four horses for all purposes excepting parimutuel wagering.
Testimony presented by veterinarians and other witnesses and cited in the initial written rulings by the stewards had stated that the medication had been administered within the allowable limits and quantity.
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