06/27/2013 2:44PM

Woodbine notes: Baker targets fifth Bison City Stakes win with Big Brown Brookski

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Michael Burns
I’m a Kittyhawk will stretch out to two turns in Sunday’s Bison City.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Reade Baker has enjoyed some happy hunting in the Bison City Stakes, taking the 1999 renewal with Synchronized when the stakes was run at Fort Erie and winning the race here with Touchnow in 2005, Free Fee Lady in 2010, and Bear It’s Time in 2011.

On Sunday, Baker will be looking to become the first trainer to send out five Bison City winners when Big Brown Brookski goes postward in the $250,000 race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Big Brown Brooksi, who races for Jim and Susan Hill, did not see action as a 2-year-old.

“She had a couple of splints,” Baker said. “And she was a big, growth filly – really large. They thought that to bring her in too early would hurt her.

“They gave her time off at the farm in Kentucky, and they brought her into Keeneland this spring.”

Big Brown Brookski debuted at Keeneland on April 24 and was beaten 2 1/2 lengths as the fifth-place finisher in a maiden $40,000 claiming race.

“She ran very well; it was very positive,” Baker said. “She really hadn’t shown a lot of speed, until her blowout for that race.”

Big Brown Brookski then shipped to Woodbine, where she debuted May 12 and was a closing winner of a seven-furlong maiden race at 20-1.

“I was pretty impressed,” Baker said. “Off what she’d done, I thought she still could be a short filly.”

Big Brown Brookski was nominated to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, the 1 1/8-mile race on June 9 that is the top event for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, but Baker had to resist the temptation.

“I know I was playing catch-up,” Baker said. “She had only sprinted, and you weren’t quite ready. I thought running her in the Oaks would do her in.

“I certainly wished she’d been fitter, or been in training longer, but I thought the timing was poor.”

Instead, Big Brown Brookski came back in a first-level turf allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs on June 9 and again came from off the pace to score by three-quarters of a length under Emma-Jayne Wilson, who retains the mount for the Bison City.

Now, Big Brown Brookski will try two turns for the first time, and Baker is optimistic that she will be up to the challenge.

“We worked her in behind horses the other day, and with her pedigree and everything I’ve got all the confidence in the world she can do that,” Baker said.

‘Kittyhawk’ going long in Bison City

Big Brown Brookski will not be the only filly trying two turns for the first time n the Bison City as I’m a Kittyhawk also will be stretching out for trainer Franz Crean.

I’m a Kittyhawk, owned by Crean in partnership with Jonathan, Martin, Nicholas, and Victoria Earle, will be coming into the Bison City off a closing score in the Lady Angela Stakes, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies here May 25.

“She always gave the impression that she wants to go two turns,” said Crean, who watched I’m a Kittyhawk become a stakes winner in her third career start after she graduated at six furlongs in her seasonal bow.

Crean’s plan to run I’m a Kittyhawk in the Bison City was briefly in jeopardy as his string resides in Barn 3, which was quarantined last week after it was determined that a stable pony there had direct contact with residents of Barn 1, in which five horses had tested positive for the equine herpesvirus.

“We were very fortunate to get out of quarantine as easily as we did,” Crean said. “That would have really impacted us.

“But she only missed two days. Lots of horses miss two days after they race.”

I’m a Kittyhawk has worked three times since the Lady Angela, with her most recent move a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.80 under regular rider David Moran on the main track here last Sunday.

“I never hook her up with company, she’s too competitive,” Crean said. “I just let them do what they’re happy doing.

“She’s been doing good.”

Queen’s Plate Day schedule set

Woodbine has announced its post times for Queen’s Plate Day, with a marathon 12-race card set to begin at 12:25 p.m. and the field for the last race scheduled to go to the post at 6:50 p.m.

The Queen’s Plate is scheduled to be televised live by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in a 90-minute special beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The Queen’s Plate card also will include three turf stakes – the Highlander for 3-year-olds and up, the Dance Smartly for fillies and mares, and the Singspiel for 3-year-olds and up – plus the listed Clarendon on the main track.

Something Extra, trained by Gail Cox, would be seeking his second consecutive Grade 2 turf stakes win in the Highlander after capturing the seven-furlong Connaught Cup here May 26.

Solid Appeal and Irish Mission, the one-two finishers in the Grade  2 Nassau over one mile of turf here May 25, are scheduled to go another round in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at 1 1/8 miles.

Trainer Roger Attfield has won five of the seven runnings of the 1  1/2-mile Singspiel, including the three most recent editions. Attfield will be looking to extend that streak in the Grade 3 stakes with Forte Dei Marmi.

Trainer Mark Casse won the Clarendon last year with Uncaptured, who went on to be Canada’s champion male 2-year-old and Horse of the Year for 2012.

This year, Casse has the unraced Countryman and Matador as prospects for the $150,000 Clarendon, a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-bred 2-year-olds.

“We’re extremely high on them,” Casse said.

Queen’s Plate winner gets cup

The winning prize for the Queen’s Plate is not a plate.

The “Plate” tradition dates to the 17th century when England’s King Charles II began awarding silver plates as racing prizes at Newmarket, with the size of the plate indicating the value of the race. But the practice became outmoded as other pieces of silver were instituted as awards and then other metals were used.

The winning trophy for the Queen’s Plate is a gold cup, measuring about a foot in height.

Prado fined $800 for whip violation

Jockey Edgar Prado has been fined $800 for excessive use of the whip during the stretch run of last Sunday’s King Edward Stakes. Prado, riding Valentino Beauty, finished second, beaten a head by Riding the River.

Valentino Beauty earned $40,000 and, in keeping with Ontario Racing Commission rules regarding whip violations in stakes races, Prado’s fine equates to 20 percent of his 10 percent share of the purse.