09/22/2011 1:27PM

Woodbine: Moonshine Mullin back at home for Ontario Derby

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Tom Keyser
After being overly aggressive in the Travers, Moonshine Mullin will race without blinkers in the Ontario Derby.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Moonshine Mullin, who ran hot and cold at Saratoga, will shed blinkers for Saturday’s $150,000 Ontario Derby, a nine-furlong stakes that drew nine 3-year-olds.

Moonshine Mullin served notice that he was among the elite 3-year-olds at Woodbine when he took the nine-furlong Victoria Park Stakes on the Polytrack here June 12.

Following a seven-week break, Moonshine Mullin was a surprising second to Stay Thirsty in the Grade  2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga, earning a 99 Beyer Figure in the nine-furlong route while making his first dirt start.

Moonshine Mullin returned to the Spa on Aug. 27 for the Grade 1 Travers, in which he finished a fading sixth after a three-wide stalking trip under Emma Wilson.

Trainer Reade Baker was tickled with Moonshine Mullin’s Jim Dandy performance, but he said the colt was too keen thereafter, and was on the muscle in the Travers.

“He got really sharp before the [Travers], and I didn’t do anything to slow him down,” Baker explained. “He schooled in the paddock like he was asleep, and even saddling, he was perfect, but he was not perfect in the race. He pulled Emma into a place where it wasn’t advantageous for her to be. We’re running here with blinkers off.”

Bowman’s Causeway, based at Saratoga with trainer Chad Brown, was a non-threatening seventh in the 10-furlong Travers. “He had a perfect trip,” said Brown. “He just wasn’t good enough.”

Bowman’s Causeway competed in the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown. He finished fourth here in the Queen’s Plate, and was a nose back in second in the Prince of Wales Stakes on the dirt at Fort Erie.

Brown said the Polytrack was the main reason for sending Bowman’s Causeway back to Woodbine.

“He probably prefers the synthetic, although his race at Fort Erie was very good,” Brown said. “I’m excited about getting him back on Woodbine’s main track.”

Pender Harbour, who captured the last two Canadian Triple Crown races, the Prince of Wales and the Breeders’ Stakes here on the grass, was cross-entered in the Ontario Derby and Saturday’s Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing. On Thursday morning he was headed by van to Parx.

Kentucky shipper Derby Kitten won the Grade 3 Lexington over a mile and a sixteenth on Keeneland’s Polytrack in April. He went on to finish third in two turf stakes, the Lone Star Derby and the Grade 2 American Derby at Arlington.