11/28/2011 2:42PM

Woodbine: Maritimer caps season with a flourish

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Michael Burns
Maritimer, with Luis Contreras riding, wins the Display.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – In the immediate wake of Maritimer’s win in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity here Nov. 6, his connections had stated that the colt was through for the season.

But circumstances alter cases, and in the days immediately following the Coronation Futurity, Maritimer’s connections changed course.

“At first we’d said we’d put him away, but he came back so good,” said Sid Attard, who trains Maritimer for owner/breeder Howard Walton. “You’ve got to run them when they’re good.”

Maritimer, making his sixth start of the season, came up with what probably was the strongest performance of his first campaign here in Sunday’s $175,300 Display Stakes.

With regular rider Luis Contreras in the irons, Maritimer stalked the pace and then rallied for a convincing 5 1/2-length victory, which yielded a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

“Sid had called me, and he said that it was like he had never even ran last time,” said Walton, whose nom du course is Norseman Racing Stable.

“Obviously, he was right. The horse certainly didn’t show any signs of fatigue.”

After bringing his record to 3-2-0 from his six starts and earnings of $361,140 in his first campaign, Maritimer now will head to Florida as a leading candidate for a Sovereign Award in his division and an obvious prospect for next year’s Queen’s Plate.

“The mile and a quarter of the Plate should definitely suit him,” said Walton. “He doesn’t seem to have any distance restrictions.”

Maritimer is scheduled to spend a month at Paul Sharp’s Ocala-area farm, along with several other Walton horses including his stakes-winning stablemate Buongiorno Johnny. He then will join Attard’s son, Paul, at Palm Meadows.

“He’ll start training there, nice and easy, same as last year, and probably work a few times,” said Sid Attard.

Biamonte booming

The Ralph Biamonte barn’s dream season continued here last weekend.

On Saturday, Run in Aruba delivered the stable’s eighth 2-year-old stakes win in the $125,000 Kingarvie.

And on Sunday, Menlo Castle, who had won the Muskoka and was the runner-up the Coronation Futurity, again was no match for Maritimer but brought his bankroll to $270,811 with another second-place finish in the Display.

Run in Aruba had come into the Kingarvie as the supposed second-stringer behind Jenna’s Wabbit, who had won the previous two sprint stakes for the Ontario-sired 2-year-old male division but was stretching out for the 1 1/16-mile Kingarvie.

Meanwhile, Run in Aruba was coming off a restricted allowance win over a mile and 70 yards in which he had stalked the pace before taking charge and holding on to score by a head.

“I wasn’t surprised that he won on Saturday,” said Biamonte, “but, I was surprised at the way he won.”

Run in Aruba, with Contreras in the irons, had trailed the field of seven into the far turn before launching an impressive bid that carried him to a going-away 3 1/2-length victory.

“I’d said before the race that he was acting like the star of the barn,” said Biamonte. “I wasn’t so sure about ‘Jenna’ at the mile and a sixteenth.

“The speed wasn’t holding, but I don’t think they were going to beat Run in Aruba, anyway.”

Jenna’s Wabbit had led into the final furlong before faltering to wind up fifth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths.

“He came back a little tired,” said Biamonte. “He ran the whole race on the same lead, and you’re never going to win at two turns doing that.

“It was a little disappointing, but I’m not disappointed with his year. And, any disappointment was more than balanced by the joy of the other owner.”

Run in Aruba, who had been purchased for $5,000 at the preferred local yearling sale, is the first horse owned by Donna Blake.

“I bought a Canadian-bred here and a Florida-bred in Ocala for her husband,” said Biamonte. “He gave this horse to her.”

Katz With A K, the Florida-bred, earned $18,560 in three starts for Gerald Blake and Anthony Mestriner before being claimed for $25,000 on Nov. 12.

Run in Aruba has banked $148,718, and Biamonte believes the best could still lie ahead.

“What aggravates this horse is that when he gets in a crowd he gets nervous,” said Biamonte. “He’ll lose that, with maturity and more racing.”

Rose and Shine breezes

Rose and Shine, winner of the Muskoka and Princess Elizabeth for Biamonte this year, breezed five furlongs in 1:03.20 with Contreras in the irons here Sunday.

“It was just what we wanted her to do, and she came back nice,” said Biamonte.

Rose and Shine is slated to wind up her campaign here in Saturday’s $125,000 Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16 mile race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies.

Run for Aruba, Menlo Castle, Jenna’s Wabbit, and the stakes-placed 3-year-old Altius are slated to depart for New Castle Farm in the Ocala area on Tuesday.

The stakes-winning 3-year-old Citius, stakes-placed 3-year-old Top Prospect and 2-year-old Where’s Johnson, and the 2-year-old winner Quit Worrying already are in Florida.

Biamonte also will be keeping some of his stock in Ontario, at his usual winter quarters of Addison Hall Farm in Aurora.

Contreras out for record

Contreras has been riding up a storm again lately and heads into the final five days with a shot at breaking the 221-win record set by Mickey Walls here in 1991.

Conteras rode three winners here Friday, three Saturday, and three on Sunday to bring his total to 207.

When Walls established the mark the Woodbine meeting ran for 136 days and was sandwiched by Greenwood meetings of 29 and 28 days. His total number of winners for the 193 days on that major Ontario circuit was 284.

Contreras has been competing at a meeting that was scheduled for 167 days but has lost two days to cancellations.

On the purses-won front, Contreras is just over $40,000 shy of the $11.284 million record amount amassed by Todd Kabel’s mounts through the 162-day meeting here in 2003.

◗ Trainer Mark Casse surpassed Frank Passero’s meet record of 89 winners here on Oct. 1, and his total now stands at 115.

Another sign of the changing times is that Passero’s purses-won total for the 190-day meeting was $1.4 million, while Casse’s charges have banked $6.5 million, bettering his own mark of $5.7 million set in 2007.

◗ Emma-Jayne Wilson has emerged relatively unscathed after being thrown to the track when her mount, the runner-up Buratino, broke down and sent her hurtling into the racetrack following the second race.

“She’s just a little banged and bruised,” said Wilson’s agent, Mike Luider, on Monday morning. “Her X-rays were negative. There were no cracks, breaks, fractures, or displacements, and her blood work was all good.

“It’s just a matter of how much she stiffens up in the next couple of days, and how her flexibility is.”