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Woodbine notes: Baker looks to stay hot in Ontario Colleen, Breeders' Stakes
By Bill Tallon
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Reade Baker barn was cooking here last Saturday and Sunday, sending out five winners from eight starters. And Baker will look to transfer that winning touch to a couple of turf stakes here this weekend, with Big Brown Brookski and She’s Popular going postward for Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Colleen and Scipio set for Sunday’s $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes.
Big Brown Brookski, an Ontario-bred owned by Jim and Susan Hill, recorded her second straight win June 9 in a first-level allowance over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf here but then faltered to finish seventh when stretching out to 1 1/16 miles for the Bison City Stakes on June 30.
“The way she sprints, it looked like she’d go that far, but she obviously wasn’t ready to go two turns,” Baker said. “This race, with the one-turn mile, is going to be very different.”
Jesse Campbell, who piloted Big Brown Brookski to her maiden win over seven furlongs on Polytrack, regains the mount.
Big Brown Brookski, who spent a week on the farm after the Bison City, has breezed three times since returning to the racetrack, with her latest a smart five furlongs in 1:00.60 on the training track here last Saturday.
She’s Popular, bred in Kentucky by her owner, Brereton C. Jones, rallied to notch her first win while making her third career start in a seven-furlong maiden turf race here June 29.
“It looks like she likes the grass, and normally, the turf course here plays to come-from-behinders,” Baker said.
She’s Popular, who also got a week on the farm following that most recent start, has recorded four workouts since returning, with her latest a five-furlong breeze in 1:02.20 on the Polytrack last Sunday.
Emma-Jayne Wilson retains the mount on She’s Popular.
Baker will be in Chicago on Saturday to saddle Solid Appeal as that filly seeks her third straight turf-stakes win in the Grade 1, $750,000 Beverly D. at 1 3/16 miles.
Joel Rosario has picked up the mount on Solid Appeal, who captured the one-mile Nassau and 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly, both Grade 2 stakes, under Campbell.
Wilson also is the regular rider of Scipio, who will make his turf debut in the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.
Scipio, a Team Stronach homebred, comes into the Breeders’ off a 4 1/2-length win in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race here July 21.
“He’s never been on the grass,” Baker said. “But I don’t think he should have any trouble with the distance. He’s in great condition right now.”
Baker barn targets yearling sales stakes
Man o’ Bear, who finished third when debuting for Baker in last Sunday’s Vandal Stakes for Ontario-bred 2-year-olds at six furlongs, is scheduled to make his next start here in the Aug. 28 Simcoe Stakes.
The $200,000 Simcoe, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-old colts and geldings, is one of six yearling sales stakes on the Wednesday evening program.
“I was thrilled to death with his race,” said Baker, who purchased Man o’ Bear for $50,000 here last year on behalf of the Bear Stable of Danny Dion. “I think it was great.”
Man o’ Bear closed strongly in the Vandal to be beaten three lengths by Go Greeley and Heart to Heart, who were separated by a nose.
Go Greeley, based here with trainer John Ross, and Heart to Heart, who stayed on after invading from Arlington Park for Michael Stidham, also are candidates for the Simcoe.
Baker also plans to send out Bear No Joke in the six-furlong Kenora for 3-year-olds and up, Bear’s Gem in the 1 1/16-mile Algoma for fillies and mares, and possibly Speyside in the Halton for 3-year-olds and up over a mile on turf. All three races are yearling sales stakes set for Aug. 28.
Bear No Joke worked six furlongs on the training track in 1:00.40 on Wednesday.
Attfield runners ready for big weekend
Global Express, who will be one of the favorites for the Breeders’ Stakes, breezed four furlongs in 48.40 seconds on the turf training track here Wednesday in company with older stablemate Seeking the Diamond.
Luis Contreras, who has the mount on Global Express for the Breeders’ Stakes, was aboard the Roger Attfield runner, who is coming off an 8 3/4-length maiden win over 1 3/8 miles on turf.
“I was very pleased with him,” Attfield said. “Everything looks good.”
Forte Dei Marmi and Perfect Timber, prepping for Sunday’s Grade 2 Sky Classic, were to work in company on the turf training course Wednesday. And while both were clocked in 47.60, they essentially worked separately as Forte Dei Marmi got off well behind his stablemate.
“My afterthoughts were that it might have been a good thing,” Attfield said. “They both went at a pretty good gallop. If they’d got together, they might have done too much for the weekend.”
Eurico Rosa Da Silva was aboard Forte Dei Marmi, while Steven Bahen did the honors on Perfect Timber.
Forte Dei Marmi and Perfect Timber most recently finished first and second in the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on turf July 7.
The Sky Classic, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up, offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $200,000.
Hampstead Heath and Grand Arch both had easy breezes for the Sky Classic, with the former clocked in 50.40 under Wilson and the latter in 51.40 under Contreras. The Brian Lynch-trained runners last saw action in the Grade 2 Nijinsky over 1 1/8 miles on grass here July 21, with Hampstead Heath finishing second and Grand Arch third as the favorite.
Peyton also had an easy turf breeze for the Sky Classic, going three furlongs in 37.80 under jockey Todd Kabel. Trained by Michael Doyle, Peyton finished a solid fourth in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup over 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack on Aug. 3.
Irish Mission breezed a leisurely four furlongs Wednesday on the dirt training track, going in 51.20 in preparation for the Sky Classic. Trained by Mark Frostad, Irish Mission had been entered in Wednesday night’s Flaming Page Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for fillies and mares, but was scratched.
The Sky Classic “looks like a decent opportunity for her to win a Grade 2,” Frostad said.
Stakes races to be televised nationally
Several major Woodbine stakes races, beginning with the Breeders’ Stakes, will be televised nationally in high definition by SportsNet 360 and SportsNet ONE.
The Woodbine Entertainment Group announced Tuesday that it had signed an agreement with Rogers SportsNet that also includes the Sept. 15 Woodbine Mile, the Oct. 27 Canadian International, and the six-race yearling sales stakes program Aug. 28.
The Breeders’ will air on SportsNet 360 in a one-hour broadcast starting at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.
The sales stakes, which are restricted to horses who went through the ring at the local yearling sale, will be broadcast on SportsNet ONE from 7 to 10 p.m.
The Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile, a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race for the BC Mile on turf, will be shown on SportsNet 360 beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The Grade 1, $1 million Canadian International will be broadcast on SportsNet 360 beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Woodbine’s Rob Platts will produce the shows, which will be hosted by Jason Portuondo. Jim Bannon will provide analysis, with additional reporting from Chad Rozema and Sandy Hawley. Dan Loiselle will call the races.
Campbell should be at Arlington riding solid appeal
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