08/11/2011 11:01AM

Woodbine: Hotep rounding into form for With Approval

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Michael Burns
Hotep makes his second start off a layoff in the With Approval at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Hotep finished a respectable fourth when making his turf debut and his first start in almost nine months in the seven-furlong Ontario Jockey Club here July 13. On Saturday, Hotep will be stretching out to 1 1/8 miles on the grass for the With Approval, which like the Ontario Jockey Club is restricted to Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and upward.

“He needed that last race; he got a little tired,” said Mark Frostad, who trains the homebred 4-year-old for Sam-Son Farm. “I think he ran pretty well on the turf, and he’s had three good works since then.”

Hotep, one of the top 3-year-old males in Canada, won the open 1 1/16-mile Marine and the restricted 1 1/8-mile Mobil here last year. He also finished second in the Queen’s Plate, fourth in Fort Erie’s Prince of Wales, and third in the 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby before winding up his campaign with his Mobil victory on Oct. 24.

“He had some chips taken out of an ankle, in late December, and missed a lot of time,” said Frostad. “A mile and an eighth might be a little far for him to go right now, but we’ll see.”

Hotep raced with blinkers in his last three starts but will be going without that equipment in the With Approval under regular rider Patrick Husbands.

Guipago is the only other stakes winner in the With Approval, with wins in the Halton, a yearling sales stakes, at age 4 last year and the Vice Regent, for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds. Both races were run over one mile of turf.

Owned by Ron Delmas and trained by his daughter Analisa Delmas, Guipago finished sixth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic at 1 1/4 miles on the turf last time out but is facing easier here under returning rider Jim McAleney.

Others who look to be in with a chance are Riley Ripasso, who is trained by Deborah England, and Woodbourne, from Bob Tiller’s barn.

Riley Ripasso, a distant third behind Hotep when making his stakes debut in the Mobil, has been an improved performer this year at 4. After winning his maiden over 1 1/16 miles and knocking out his first allowance condition at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, Riley Ripasso finished second in an off-the-turf allowance at 1 1/8 miles that was won by the upwardly mobile City Wolf.

Woodbourne was claimed for $50,000 last July, and went on to finish second in the With Approval and third in the Woodbine Mile. The 7-year-old gelding faded to finish third when making his second start of this season in a third-level allowance/$62,500 claiming race at 1/8 miles on turf. Favored at 1-2 that day, Woodbourne was beaten 4 1/2 lengths by the victorious Guipago.