06/13/2011 3:25PM

Woodbine: Moonshine Moon wins for local team in Victoria Park

Michael Burns
Moonshine Mullin (left), with Emma Jayne Wilson up, wins the Victoria Park on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Reade Baker had been taken aback when last Sunday’s Victoria Park, an open race for 3-year-olds that attracted just nine nominees, drew nine entrants, including four supplements and four shippers.

But Baker had the last laugh after watching Moonshine Mullin, a Kentucky-bred he trains for owner and co-breeder Dick Johnson, prevail by a nose over fellow local Alpha Bettor in Sunday’s $152,500 Victoria Park at 1 1/8 miles.

“I expected to see four or five horses in the race,” Baker said. “But I wasn’t that surprised when he won. I don’t think the ship-ins have done that well this year.”

Baker had been contacted last year by Johnson, who is based in Omaha, Neb., about taking on the training of Moonshine Mullin at Woodbine.

“He asked me to go and look, and I went to see the horse in Ocala,” Baker said. “He was a big, strong healthy horse. He’s stayed that way.”

Moonshine Mullin wrapped up his first campaign with a second-place finish here in the 1 1/16-mile Display Stakes, but then finished off the board in two one-mile turf allowance outings at Gulfstream.

Back at Woodbine on May 8, Moonshine Mullin was beaten a head and a nose in a 1 1/16-mile, first-level allowance race that was won by Alpha Bettor.

And now, wherever Moonshine Mullin next surfaces, he will do so as a stakes winner of $164,876.

“He’s still eligible for a two-other-than,” Baker said, noting that the next two-turn main track stakes here for straight 3-year-olds will be the Sept. 24 Ontario Derby. “I don’t think his turf races were as good, but, then again, maybe he’s just getting good now.”

Emma-Jayne Wilson, who rode Moonshine Mullin, was recording her fourth stakes win of the meeting.

Fatal Bullet ends nine-race losing streak

Baker was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief when Fatal Bullet snapped a nine-race winless streak dating back to fall 2009 in the race prior to the Victoria Park.

With new regular rider Luis Contreras in the saddle, Fatal Bullet talked the pace in the optional claiming sprint at six furlongs and rallied for a going-away 2 1/4-length victory.

“He showed what he’s capable of,” said Baker, who trains the 6-year-old gelding Fatal Bullet for the Bear Stable of Danny Dion.

Fatal Bullet will now be aimed at the $150,000 Bold Venture, a 6 1/2-furlong race here July 20.

“We’ll see if we can recapture the crown,” said Baker, who had sent out Fatal Bullet to capture the Bold Venture in both 2008 and 2009.

Pender Harbour, Seawatch run well in stakes

Pender Harbour and Seawatch, who were supplemented to the Victoria Park with an eye toward the June 26 Queen’s Plate, both turned in decent performances.

Making just his second start of the season after finishing eighth in a six-furlong, first-level allowance one month earlier, Pender Harbour was beaten just two lengths.

“It was very encouraging,” said Mike DePaulo, who trains Pender Harbour. “We were very happy. He ran a good race and galloped out strong.”

Verne Dubinsky, co-owner and breeder of Seawatch in partnership with his wife, Donna, watched Seawatch finish fifth, beaten a total of 2 3/4 lengths, after putting in a wide run.

“I thought he ran good,” Dubinsky said. “We’ll have Josie make the call.”

Seawatch is trained by Josie Carroll, who also trains Woodbine Oaks winner and potential Queen’s Plate entrant Inglorious for the Dubinskys.

Ojibway Signal points to Queen’s Plate

Ojibway Signal, trained and co-owned by David Bell, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 here Monday morning and is scheduled to proceed to the $1 million Queen’s Plate.

“I’m sure he’ll get the mile and a quarter,” Bell said. “How fast he’ll get it, I don’t know.”

Ojibway Signal is coming off a third-place finish in a restricted first-level allowance race at 1 1/8 miles here June 1.

Last year, Ojibway Signal was running on end when fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

Citius leads group of Old Forester runners

Trainer Ralph Biamonte bred three horses in 2008, all out of mares whom he had purchased as yearlings and were sent to the stallion Old Forester.

Last Saturday the Olympic-themed trio Altius (Higher), Citius (Faster), and Fortius (Stronger) went postward in the Bold Ruckus Stakes, and Citius took down the gold medal in the six-furlong turf stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

“Citius kind of raced up a lot closer to the pace than I thought he would,” said Biamonte, who had watched the Bold Ruckus winner stalk the pace of Altius before coming on to take the lead in midstretch and prevail by three-quarters of a length under jockey Omar Moreno for a $13.30 payoff.

“He was sharp going in. I got a little worried when I saw those other two horses coming, but he hung on.”

Forestador and the filly Sinister Quill, also by Old Forester, were closing in the final furlong of the Bold Ruckus but ended second and third, respectively.

Altius, who had led by two lengths with a quarter-mile to run under jockey David Claark, weakened to finish fourth as the 5-2 second choice, while Fortius brought up the rear in the field of seven under Corey Fraser as the 47-1 rank outsider.

“David said Altius was a little too headstrong,” said Biamonte, who had sent out that gelding to win a restricted second-level allowance over six furlongs in his previous outing.

Fortius, making just his second start after finishing last of 12 in his debut, was the 47-1 outsider in the Bold Ruckus

“With Fortius, I just wanted to get him a good experience and I didn’t want to run him in another big field,” said Biamonte, noting that Fortius had debuted on a Wednesday evening. “I wasn’t disappointed; he’s a slow learner.

“He couldn’t handle anything the first time – the lights, coming over in the tunnel.”

Citius remains eligible for his second restricted allowance condition, with his only previous win having come in last Saturday’s restricted Frost King at seven furlongs, while Altius would have to move into the open first-level allowance ranks.

Biamonte has another option, however, in the $125,000 Deputy Minister, a seven-furlong stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here July 27.

“Citius loves seven furlongs,” Biamonte said. “I’ll probably show up with two-thirds of the Olympic team there.”

◗ Biamonte’s three homebred 2-year-olds this year are Jenna’s Wabbit, who is by Old Forester and is a half-sister to the speedy Bare With Mer; Howaboutus, a full sister to Altius; and Unabated, a full sister to Fortius.

Jenna’s Wabbit is the only one of the trio to have started, having finished third in a restricted maiden race here May 22.