08/17/2012 3:00PM

Woodbine: Juanita gives Polytrack a shot in Belle Mahone

Tom Keyser
Juanita, winning the La Troienne, ships in from Kentucky for Sunday's Belle Mahone.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario − Juanita, who was scratched from last Saturday’s Gardenia at one mile at Ellis Park, is shipping to Woodbine from Kentucky for Sunday’s Belle Mahone at 1 1/16 miles.

The Gardenia was a Grade 3 race, and the Belle Mahone is an overnight stakes. Both are $100,000 races for fillies and mares.

Juanita last raced May 28, when she finished last of five in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap over 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park. One race before, she won the Grade 2 La Troienne at Churchill Downs over 1 1/16 miles May 4.

The Belle Mahone will be Juanita’s first start on a synthetic surface. She has not recorded a workout on a surface other than dirt.

“I’m not worried about that at all,” trainer Mike Maker said. “We’ve been wanting to get a race on Polytrack for her.”

Maker said the gap between starts is by design and not due to adverse circumstances.

“She’s not the biggest horse in the world,” Maker said. “Her last couple of races had been hard on her, so we gave her a little break.”

Locally based rider Justin Stein has picked up the mount on Juanita, who will break from the outside post in the field of nine fillies and mares.

Trainer Roger Attfield will send out Smart Penny for Stronach Stable and Ima Soul Miss for Chuck Fipke in the Belle Mahone.

Smart Penny, a 4-year-old, was well backed in the Grade 3 Ontario Matron here July 22, but she acted up in the gate, was unprepared when the latch was sprung, and was pulled up by her rider, Patrick Husbands.

The stewards ruled that Smart Penny had an unfair start and declared her a non-starter.

“I think she’s a really, really nice filly,” Attfield said. “She just hadn’t had a chance to get her career on track.”

Ima Soul Miss, a 6-year-old who was making her local seasonal bow in the Ontario Matron, finished sixth after pressing the pace.

Husbands retains the mount on Smart Penny. Jesse Campbell takes over aboard Ima Soul Miss.

Ariana D, third in the Ontario Matron, can be expected to deliver her usual honest effort. A 6-year-old trained by Laurie Silvera, she has yet to win around two turns but has placed in stakes in four of her five attempts at a middle distance on synthetic surfaces, including last year’s Belle Mahone.

“I think if we’d had a well-run race last time it would have been a different story,” Silvera said. “Ariana needs pace in a race; that race was void of pace.”

Omar Moreno retains the mount on Ariana D, winner of the seven-furlong Avowal in 2011 and the seven-furlong Bessarabian here the previous season.

Also meriting respect is Moment of Majesty, who is coming off a second-place finish here in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

A 5-year-old trained by Sue Leslie, Moment of Majesty became a stakes winner in her start before the Dance Smartly, capturing the restricted Zadracarta over seven furlongs on turf.

Moment of Majesty also has been effective here on the main track, finishing a close second in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks and third in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette as a 3-year-old.

Forte Dei Marmi back in Sky Classic

Attfield also will be looking to do some damage in Sunday’s Grade 2 Sky Classic with Forte Dei Marmi, who makes his first local appearance of the season.

The Sky Classic is a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.

Forte deiMarmi, whose debut for Attfield was a 10th-place finish in last year’s Woodbine Mile, won a classified allowance race over one mile at Keeneland this spring and then finished a closing third in Pimlico’s 1 1/8-mile Dixie Handicap.

In his last start, which came over 1 3/16 miles in the Colonial Turf Cup, Forte de Marmi failed to threaten and finished sixth.

“He didn’t ship well down there, and he didn’t act right in the post parade,” Attfield said. “He was all worked up, and all worked up for quite a while after that. It jarred him up a bit, with the firm turf in his last couple of races. He seems to be back to his true self now. But he’s a bit of a difficult horse to get a handle on, because he’s a very lackadaisical training horse. If I’ve got him back to where he was in the spring he’ll be very tough in this race.”

Alex Solis will ride Forte Dei Marmi for the first time in the Sky Classic, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.

Smart Bid seeks second straight

The Colonial Turf Cup already has produced four next-out winners. Turbo Compressor, the winner, won the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap at Atlantic City; third-place Rahystrada won the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap; fourth-place Smart Bid won the listed East Hanover Stakes at Penn National; and 10th-place Tilden Lane won a first-level allowance race at Ellis Park.

Smart Bid, who finished second behind front-running upsetter Kara’s Orientation in last year’s Sky Classic, returns for Sunday’s running after scoring a head victory in the East Hanover, a 1 1/2-mile race on turf.

“He just really seemed to come out of his last race well,” trainer Graham Motion said. “I think he’s a horse that really benefits from running on firm ground, and I just get anxious, as we get into the fall, that there are less opportunities for him. And he ran so well in this race last year that it just seemed like it made sense. He’s such a consistent horse.”

Jeremy Rose was aboard Smart Bid at Penn National, but Edgar Prado, his regular rider, returns in the Sky Classic.