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Woodbine notes: Casse has good shot in Ontario Matron, Colin
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Four stakes races are on tap at Woodbine this weekend, beginning Saturday with the Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Matron for fillies and mares and the $125,000 Colin for 2-year-olds, with fields of seven signing on for each event.
The 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron is headed by Sisterly Love, who is coming off a dominant win in the 1 1/16-mile Trillium last month. Sisterly Love is trained by Mark Casse, who also will send out Eagle Hall in the Ontario Matron.
Invaders Welcome Dance and Layali Dubai, along with locals Yellow Boat, Logan’s Peak, and Pure Blue Sky, complete the lineup.
Conquest Two Step, also conditioned by Casse, looms as the horse to beat in the six-furlong Colin, which also features Go Greeley, Ba Ba Brett, Tuscan Getaway, Enthrone, Danny Ocean, and Tropic of Artie.
Go Greeley blew out three furlongs in 36.60 seconds under regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva here Wednesday in preparation for the Colin.
“He’s good,” trainer John Ross said. “He’s going into the race the way I like, without any hiccups.”
Go Greeley missed some training time last month when his barn was under quarantine, and he was beaten a nose as the 2-5 favorite in his last start, which came in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon Stakes for Ontario-foaled 2-year-olds here July 7.
Sunday’s features will be the Grade 2, $200,000 Nijinsky for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf and the $125,000 Duchess at seven furlongs for 3-year-old fillies.
Leigh Court, preparing for the Duchess, breezed four furlongs in 47.40 on the main track here Wednesday. Trained by Josie Carroll, Leigh Court is coming off a second-place finish behind Sky Treasure in the 6 1/2-furlong prep for the Duchess here June 30.
“She’s training very well,” Carroll said. “She deserves a shot.”
Sky Treasure also will run in the Duchess.
Moment of Majesty joins Attfield
Moment of Majesty, a stakes winner on turf and Polytrack here last year, has moved into Roger Attfield’s stable. The Ontario-bred 6-year-old, trained last year by Sue Leslie, was sold privately to Nat Rea’s Regis Farm and resurfaced in Kentucky this year with trainer Andrew McKeever.
After finishing third while competing under allowance terms in a one-mile grass race at Churchill Downs on May 3, Moment of Majesty had been off for more than nine weeks when she finished eighth in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly over 1 1/8 miles on grass July 7.
“I want to train her for a little bit and see what I think,” said Attfield, who has no immediate plans for Moment of Majesty. “I’ll try and analyze where we are.”
Moment of Majesty becomes a potential third player for Attfield in the female turf division, joining Kissable and No Explaining. Kissable, winner of Saratoga’s $100,000 Waya Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on yielding turf last August, has been off since April 25 but could return in this year’s renewal Aug. 5.
“I’m trying to train her up to the race,” Attfield said. “She doesn’t want hard turf, and you often get some rain at Saratoga.”
No Explaining, a 6-year-old who returned to the track after almost two years because her career as a broodmare failed to materialize, was making her second start of 2013 when third in the Dance Smartly.
“I thought she ran really well there,” Attfield said. “I’m not sure what I’ll do with her. I might take her to Saratoga.”
No Explaining ran well in her first trip to Saratoga, finishing a troubled third in the Grade 2 Lake George over 1 1/8 miles of good turf in July 2010.
“I wouldn’t be running her there until later in August,” Attfield said. “She definitely wants some give in the ground.”
In the meantime, No Explaining breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 on the main track here Wednesday while working in company with stablemate Are You Kidding Me, whose 59-second clocking was the best of 24 at the distance.
“I needed to get a line on Are You Kidding Me,” said Attfield, who had watched the Kentucky-bred colt finish a disappointing fifth in the Charlie Barley Stakes over one mile on turf here July 6. “I put a little pair of blinkers on him. I was very happy with what I saw.”
Are You Kidding Me is on target to make his next appearance in the $125,000 Toronto Cup, an open, 1 1/8-mile turf race here July 27 that attracted only 11 nominees.
Wilson rides at Saratoga
Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson will be at Saratoga on Friday to ride four horses for trainer Gary Contessa on the opening-day program.
Wilson’s mounts are Which Market in the first race, an optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up; J. Quirk in the third, a maiden race for 2-year-old fillies; Princess Mara in the fourth, the $100,000 On the Bus Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares; and Bit Bustin in the sixth, a restricted, first-level allowance race for fillies and mares.
“Gary gave us a shout, and we didn’t really have anything in the plans,” Wilson said. “We did some work for him and built some rapport riding a bit for him at Gulfstream. You’re not going to say no; it’s Saratoga.”
Wilson rode eight horses for Contessa in Florida, with one win, a second-place finish, and four third-place finishes.
In five previous working visits to Saratoga, all with Woodbine invaders for stakes races, Wilson recorded second-place finishes with Moonshine Mullin in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in 2011 and with Rahy’s Attorney in the same year’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer.
Handicapping seminar Saturday
Handicapper and author Jim Mazur will be here Saturday for a one-hour seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand, with the focus on handicapping at the Saratoga meeting. Attendees will receive a free copy of Mazur’s “Winning at Saratoga.”
Mazur also will host Sunday’s Woodbine Thoroughbred Handicapping Challenge, which will offer $20,000 in prize money based on 200 entrants plus two berths to the Daily Racing Form /National Handicapping Championship for registered NHC tour members.
The entry fee is $140, which includes $40 in betting money, with the balance going to the prize pool. Five $2 win-place bets must be placed on both Woodbine and Saratoga each day, with payoffs capped at 20-1 for win and 10-1 for place.
Additional information is available at www.woodbineentertainment.com/challenges.
◗ The LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society will hold its fall fundraiser Friday, Sept. 20, here in the trackside tent. Tickets are available for $150, including tax, and the evening will feature dining, live entertainment, dancing, and live and silent auctions. For tickets or more information, contact LongRun at (416) 675-3993, ext. 1-3440, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.