11/30/2011 12:45PM

Woodbine: Moonshine Mullin fresh for optional claimer

Tom Keyser
Moonshine Mullin returns in an optional claiming race Friday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Stakes winner Moonshine Mullin returns from a layoff on the final Friday card of the Woodbine meet, in a second-level allowance with a $62,500/60,000-claiming option. He competes without a selling price because of the nonwinners-of-three clause in the conditions of the 1 1/16-mile race.

Moonshine Mullin should be a Sovereign Award finalist for this year’s Canadian champion 3-year-old. He beat a solid field in the nine-furlong Victoria Park Stakes in June and then took his game to another level in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes, in which he wound up second to Stay Thirsty, while earning a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

Moonshine Mullin went back to Saratoga in August for the Grade 1 Travers. He failed to duplicate his Jim Dandy performance, but managed to salvage sixth after a three-wide trip under Emma Wilson.

Trainer Reade Baker said Moonshine Mullin was on the muscle in the 10-furlong 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.”

Baker pulled the blinkers off Moonshine Mullin for the nine-furlong Ontario Derby here Sept. 24, and the horse responded with a close third-place finish as the favorite.

Moonshine Mullin has worked five times over the past six weeks, including a five-furlong drill in 1:00 on Nov. 20, which was the fastest of 60 moves at the distance.

Safety Zone ended a six-month layoff with a victory in a mile and 70-yard optional claimer that was taken off the turf Sept. 4. He doubled up a month later on the grass, and then finished third in the Labeeb, a one-mile turf stakes that he won in 2010.

Gerry Olguin will ride Safety Zone for trainer Josie Carroll.

Lord of Greatness has won 4 of 7 starts at the meet for trainer Bob Tiller. He won three in a row in June and July, before finishing fifth in the Seagram Cup Stakes, and then captured a two-turn optional claimer Oct. 23.

Lord of Greatness was favored in a Nov. 13 optional claimer, but he had to settle for fourth after being steadied while in tight quarters on the far turn.

The classy but win-shy Sligovitz has been freshened since his poor performance in a Sept. 29 optional claimer on the grass at Belmont.