09/02/2011 10:18PM

Woodbine: Notacloudinthesky brings strong résumé to Muskoka

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Michael Burns
Notacloudinthesky, who won the Nandi earlier in the summer, is the lone stakes winner in the Muskoka.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Notacloudinthesky is the lone stakes winner in either of the two $200,000 stakes for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds on Labor Day Monday, the Muskoka and the Simcoe. They are the most lucrative races among six stakes for graduates of local yearling sales on the card, which is a prelude to the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s annual yearling sale this Monday, Tuesday and Saturday at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion.

The other four stakes, which are worth $125,000 each, are the Elgin, Algoma, Halton and Kenora.

Notacloudinthesky should be favored in the 6 1/2-furlong Muskoka for fillies. She won her maiden second time out with the addition of blinkers, and is coming off a dominating seven-length score in the six-furlong Nandi, an Ontario-sired stakes.

“She ran very green first time out,” said trainer Josie Carroll. “She was looking at everything. When we put the blinkers on, it focused her a little, and she improved tremendously.”

Rose and Shine should be closing in the Muskoka. After graduating at first asking for $40,000, she was fourth in the open My Dear Stakes. She was freshened after ending up third in the restricted Shady Well Stakes on July 17.

“I gave her about two weeks off at the farm,” said trainer Ralph Biamonte. “When I brought her back in, she caught a little bit of a bug, but she only missed a few days. I really think going farther will be better for her.”

Biamonte is well represented in the Simcoe, with Where’s Johnson, Menlo Castle, and Run in Aruba in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for colts and geldings.

Where’s Johnson lost his July 10 debut by a head to the promising Maritimer. Two weeks later, he graduated on the lead in a quick 5 1/2-furlong maiden special.

“I’ve always liked him,” said Biamonte. “I think he’s really talented. He’s like a little kid. He plays around too much, but he’s maturing every day. He’s getting more focused. He was a little green the first time. The second time, he beat Menlo Castle, and they were quite a few lengths ahead of the others. Those two are pretty even.”

Menlo Castle graduated by disqualification in his third start Aug. 14, altering course to the outside early in the stretch after the eventual winner drifted into his path. He finished a close second in that five-furlong maiden special.

“He’s not a five-eighths horse,” said Biamonte. “They way he galloped out after his last race, I think he’s more of a three-quarters or seven-eighths horse.”

Run in Aruba folded in the final furlong after flashing speed in his July 17 debut. Two weeks later, the son of Philanthropist won a five-furlong maiden sprint for Ontario-sired runners.

“The first time I ran him, he got all wound up and displaced his palate,” Biamonte said. “He ran a lot better second time. He relaxed a lot more when I took the blinkers off. The Philanthropists get better when they go farther, and hopefully he will.”