08/03/2011 12:28PM

Woodbine: Most Unusual teams with hot rider


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Most Unusual has one of the most successful trainer-rider combos at Woodbine and could earn his diploma in the lone non-claiming race on Friday’s card, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special on turf.

Most Unusual, who will have leading rider Luis Contreras aboard Friday, has started five times for trainer Josie Carroll. Last year at 2, he was second in his debut on the grass, before ending up fifth in the restricted Simcoe Stakes on the Polytrack. He went to the sidelines for more than seven months after coming up empty in a one-mile maiden special on the grass Sept. 25.

When he came off the bench in a Polytrack sprint May 7, Most Unusual battled for the lead until the eighth pole before tiring to finish six lengths in arrears. He was considerably more effective coming from off the pace June 26, when he ran second after making a premature move in a one-mile maiden special on the lawn. The winner, Time Trial, subsequently finished seventh in a starter allowance at Saratoga.

Contreras and Carroll have teamed up this meet to capture the Queen’s Plate and Woodbine Oaks with Inglorious. They are a combined 9 for 27 at the meet.

Trend checked in second in two of his three starts at the meet, all in maiden special routes. The late bloomer who beat him following a long layoff June 5, Riley Ripasso, subsequently won an allowance before ending up second in an optional claimer.

Trend is shortening up off a strong showing traveling 1 1/4 miles in his first start under Slade Callaghan, who retains the mount. Mark Frostad trains the 4-year-old for Stone Farm.

Buffalo Storm placed in two of his three 2-year-old outings. He ran his best race after a four-month vacation at Gulfsteam in April, when he finished a close third after setting the fractions in a one-mile maiden special.

Most recently going three-quarters here on the grass June 17, Buffalo Storm was never in the hunt after getting away slowly. He has worked four bullets on the dirt at Fort Erie since then, and Tyler Pizarro will ride him for trainer Justin Nixon.

Absolute Power has worked quickly on occasion for trainer Mark Casse, who has a 7 percent strike rate with first-time starters in turf routes over the past five years. The son of Tapit is out of a mare who has not had a turf winner from three starters.