09/06/2013 1:25PM

Woodbine notes: B E Boston Strong looks promising for Gonzalez stable


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Nick Gonzalez stable, which won the Queen’s Plate with Midnight Aria and finished second in both the Prince of Wales Stakes and Breeders’ Stakes with River Seven, has added a new 3-year-old shooter to its Woodbine string for owners Carlo and Lou Tucci.

B E Boston Strong, bred in Ontario by Chuck Fipke, checked in at Woodbine early Friday morning with an eye toward next Sunday’s Ontario Derby, a Grade 3, $150,000 race for 3-year-olds that is one of four stakes on the Woodbine Mile program.

“He’s absolutely gorgeous,” said Martha Gonzalez, wife and assistant to trainer Nick Gonzalez. “He’s been very well cared for; he has a nice, healthy coat.

“He’s as big, strong horse, too. He reminds me of Artie Hot as a 3-year-old.”

Artie Hot, claimed for $30,000 at Gulfstream in February 2007, won that year’s Ontario Derby for Team Gonzalez and the Tuccis and continued to race through this spring.

The Tuccis lost Artie Hot in an $8,000 claiming race in April but reclaimed the 9-year-old gelding two starts later and sent him to the farm for a life of leisure after 78 career starts.

B E Boston Strong has seen action just twice, finishing sixth in a one-mile race at Suffolk and then winning a six-furlong maiden race there by 10 1/4 lengths for a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

“Nick has bloodstock agents he deals with, looking for Ontario-breds,” Gonzalez said.

River Seven was nominated to both the Ontario Derby and the Woodbine Mile but is not scheduled to see action next Sunday.

“He’s had a tough schedule,” said Gonzalez, who sent out River Seven to breeze five furlongs in 1:01.40 on the dirt training track here Friday. “But he was awesome this morning. That’s probably the best I’ve ever seen him.”

River Seven has placed in four stakes and banked $411,751, but his only career win came here in last fall’s Grade 3 Grey and he remains eligible for his first allowance condition.

Midnight Aria remains at Goldmart Farm and will not see action again this season.

“We’re just going to take our time,” Gonzalez said. “The options for him, later this fall, are so limited here.

“We’ll get him prepped down in Florida, get a couple of races into him there, and bring him back.”

Midnight Aria, claimed for $35,000 at Gulfstream in January, went on to finish third in two stakes here before winning the $1 million Queen’s Plate in wire-to-wire fashion.

The Queen’s Plate was Midnight Aria’s eighth start of the season, and he had come out of the race a tired horse.

Six expected in Woodbine Mile

As of Friday morning, a field of six was expected for the Woodbine Mile, the Grade 1 turf race that will be the showpiece on the blockbuster Sunday program.

Wise Dan, the defending race winner in the $1 million Woodbine Mile, will be a solid choice for trainer Charlie LoPresti with John Velazquez retaining the mount.

Za Approval, scratched from last Saturday’s Bernard Baruch at Saratoga due to the yielding going, has been redirected to the Woodbine Mile by trainer Christophe Clement and is coming off a second-place finish behind top California miler Obviously in Hollywood’s Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on June 29.

Trade Storm is scheduled to be flown over on Tuesday from Europe. He has kept some good recent company there.

Dimension, who shipped from Kentucky to upset the Grade 2 Play the King for owner Conor Murphy here Aug. 25, is scheduled to return and will look for firm going.

Excaper and Riding the River, the 2-3 finishers in the Play the King over seven furlongs on turf, round out the Woodbine Mile candidates.

Other Mile undercard notes

The Grade 1, $500,000 Northern Dancer and the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian also will be contested here next Sunday.

Hampstead Heath, a candidate for the Northern Dancer, breezed six furlongs on the turf training track here Friday morning, timed in 1:14 while going in company with his Brian Lynch-trained stablemate Sly Tom.

Emma-Jayne Wilson was aboard Hampstead Heath, who has finished second in back-to-back graded turf stakes here for owner Rob Smithen and would be stretching out to 1 1/2 miles for the Northern Dancer.

Smithen also is looking at next Saturday’s $250,000 PTHA President’s Cup, a 1 1/8-mile turf race at Parx Racing, as an option for Hampstead Heath.

Sly Tom, owned by Jim and Susan Hill, is held in high regard by Lynch and could make his first lifetime start in next Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Summer Stakes.

The Summer, a one-mile turf race, is a Win and You’re In for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

The Canadian, which is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, is expected to attract Europe shippers Meri Shika and Ladys First.

Meri Shika, who has been racing in France, was purchased privately by owner Stella Perdomo and is being sent here to trainer Roger Attfield with an eye toward a North American campaign.

Ladys First, a Group 3 winner conditioned by Richard Fahey, is based in England.

Impressive Friday works

Skylander Girl turned some heads here Friday morning when breezing five furlongs in a bullet 58.80 seconds on the turf training course under new rider Todd Kabel.

Owner-trainer Al Patykewich is pointing Skylander Girl to next Saturday’s Natalma, a one-mile turf race that offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $200,000 and is a Win and You’re In for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“Kabel thought she’d gone in a minute and change,” said Patykewich, who purchased Skylander Girl last year at the local open yearling sale for $3,500. “She can fool you; she just does sit so easy.

“I was really impressed with the work.”

Skylander Girl won the five-furlong My Dear and the six-furlong Ontario Debutante, but finished sixth when making her last start here in the 6 1/2-furlong Muskoka on Aug. 28.

Meanwhile, Llanarmon (1:00.60) and Henry’s Island (1:00.80) both breezed five furlongs on the turf training track here Friday in preparation for the Natalma, while Phenomenalmoon (1:00.60) breezed over the same distance and surface with an eye toward the Summer.

Attfield trains Llanarmon, who finished a closing third behind the Natalma-bound Appreciating when both were making their debuts in a seven-furlong turf race here Aug. 23.

Henry’s Island, conditioned by Michael Doyle, finished fourth, beaten three lengths, when making her third career start in that race.

Phenomenalmoon, trained by Mark Casse, would be making his turf debut in the Summer after graduating third time out at seven furlongs here Aug. 18.