11/23/2011 3:11PM

Woodbine: Laurin enjoying his modest success


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Roger Laurin can look back on a rich history in the racing game.

The son of Lucien Laurin, of Secretariat fame, Roger Laurin was highly successful in his own right with his numerous major stakes winners, including 2-year-old champion Chief's Crown, winner of the very first Breeders' Cup race in 1984; Numbered Account, the Eclipse Award-winning filly in 1971; and Drumtop, who won the Canadian International here in 1970.

Laurin has trained fewer horses since Chief's Crown retired in 1985, including a period of 11 years in which he was not credited with a single starter. But now, after coming into this season with a total of 2 wins from 19 starts since 2006, Laurin has been back in business at Woodbine and is enjoying a productive year with his three-horse string. As of Wednesday, he had 9 wins from 39 starts and earnings of $154,062.

"I took some time," said the 76-year-old Laurin, who was born in Montreal. "I'd been doing it since I was 17. It seemed long enough."

Laurin had kept his hand in as a breeder, however, and that brought him back to the racetrack.

"I started having more and more mares, and more foals," said Laurin, who is assisted here by his son, 46-year-old Rob Laurin.

Two of those foals, the 4-year-old gelding Langfuhr Country and the 3-year-old filly Stage Trip, have contributed eight wins to the Laurin cause this season, with each horse winning three races here and one at Fort Erie.

Langfuhr Country's dam is Country Stage, who gave Laurin his most recent stakes win here in the 1992 Victoriana. Stage Trip is out of At a Stage, a daughter of Country Stage.

Langfuhr Country, who has earned $52,660 in 15 starts this year, will see action on Saturday's program.

After winning an $11,500 claiming race at 1 1/16 miles here last Friday, Langfuhr County is dropping to $10,000 to compete at the same distance in Saturday's sixth race.

Stage Trip, who has banked $61,135 from 12 outings, is ready to run back if the opportunity arises.

And another Laurin runner, Stage Best, runs in Saturday's $125,000 Kingarvie Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

Stage Best, a half-sister to Stage Trip, showed little in his first three starts but came to life in his second try around two turns, rallying from last place to score by two lengths as odds of 32-1.

In a subsequent outing, Stage Best again trailed early after being steadied just after the start but made up some ground to finish a well-beaten fourth in a wide trip.

"He's a better prospect long-term," said Laurin. "I think he wants to go a route of ground, but he's got to mature a whole lot. We'll get this race into him, get him down south for the winter, and then bring him back in the spring."

Laurin, who has a farm in Ocala, Fla., will have plenty to keep him occupied over the winter.

"We have a couple of nice 2-year-olds, which because of one thing or another wouldn't have been ready in time," said Laurin. "And I'll be breaking five yearlings, all horses that I've bred."

Laurin has other plans for his seven-strong broodmare band, which includes At a Stage and her full-sister At a Country.

"They're staying here in Canada, at Silver Duck Farm," he said. "Every foal's going to be Ontario-sired."

J J for Dave breezes for stakes

J J for Dave breezed five furlongs in 1:00 here Wednesday morning in preparation for the next week’s Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up that will be the final Wednesday-night stakes race of the meeting.

Exercise rider Tyler Gaskin was aboard for the drill, which was the fastest of 12 at the distance.

“It was a little quicker than I wanted,” said trainer Ian Black. “But he went nice and even, but he looked good doing it.”

J J for Dave, a homebred 5-year-old gelding who races for J & J Stables, would be seeking his first stakes win in the Sir Barton and should be solidly supported in a race that looks to be up for grabs.

Pender Harbour, the leading candidate for a Sovereign Award as Canada’s top 3-year-old male, was nominated to the Sir Barton but was sent to the farm after finishing second in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes for 3-year-olds and up here Nov. 12.

Black pair to see Florida action

Stormy Lord and Excaper, both Sovereign Award candidates for the Black barn in their respective divisions, checked into Payson Park on Monday and are scheduled to see action in Florida next month.

“As long as they shipped well, and continue to train well, they’ll be running,” said Black, who will be sending out the maiden Thatboathassailed in the Kingarvie.

Stormy Lord is being pointed for the Tropical Turf Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $100,000 and will be run on the Dec. 2 closing-day card at Calder.

A leading candidate for turf male championship honors, Stormy Lord won three stakes here and another at Parx Racing in Philadelphia.

Excaper’s target is the $100,000 Dania Beach, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds on Dec. 18 at Gulfstream.

While he will be seeking his first stakes win there Excaper is coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 1, one-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs and also was the runner-up here in the Grade 3 Summer Stakes over one mile on grass.

◗ There will be Canadian content in Calder’s Grade 2, $150,000 W. L. McKnight Handicap at Calder with Musketier, Simmard, and Gondorf in the field of 11 for Saturday’s 1 1/2-mile turf race.

Musketier and Simmard, both trained by Roger Attfield, finished sixth and 13th, respectively, when they made their last starts here in the Grade 1 Canadian International.

Gondorf, trained by Brian Lynch, is coming off a front-running win in a 1 3/4-mile starter allowance that was the longest turf race of the Woodbine meeting.