07/11/2012 2:52PM

Woodbine notes: Essence Hit Man, Eternal Rule set for showdown in Bold Venture Stakes

Michael Burns
Essence Hit Man wins the Vigil Stakes at Woodbine. He will make his next start in the Bold Venture Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – A showdown is brewing in the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture Stakes here next Wednesday evening.

Essence Hit Man, a 5-year-old gelding, was Canada’s champion male sprinter of 2011, and he is again the sheriff in that category, with victories in the Jacques Cartier and Vigil and a second-place in the Highlander during a rare foray over the turf course.

But Essence Hit Man will have a formidable younger gun to deal with in the 4-year-old gelding Eternal Rule.

Essence Hit Man holds a wide edge in career accomplishments, with a record of 9-5-3 including seven Polytrack stakes wins and earnings of more than $1 million from 21 career starts, all for trainer Audre Cappuccitti, who also owns and bred the gelding in partnership with her husband, Gordon.

Eternal Rule, on the other hand, has started just five times but has yet to taste defeat. Eternal Rule’s most recent victory, which came in the 5 1/2-furlong Karl Boyes Memorial at Presque Isle Downs on June 20, earned him a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

Essence Hit Man’s top Beyer of 104 was for his victory here in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier in his first start this season.

Jesse Campbell has been Essence Hit Man’s regular rider since last fall and will be back in the saddle.

Campbell rode Eternal Rule at Presque Isle, but Eurico Rosa da Silva will do the honors for the Bold Venture.

Da Silva was breezing Eternal Rule for the second time here Wednesday morning as the pair clipped through six furlongs in 1:11.60.

“He went nice and easy early,” said Sid Attard, who trains the homebred Eternal Rule for owner Donald Myers. “Rico really liked him.”

Attard also had Smokey Fire nominated to the Bold Venture, but will be keeping that 7-year-old gelding on the grass for the immediate future.

Smokey Fire had been away from the races since Oct. 31, 2010, when he captured the Grade 2 Highlander over six furlongs of turf here June 24.

The next local turf sprint stakes for the males will be the Grade 2 $200,000 Play the King, a seven-furlong race here Aug. 26.

Woodbine stakes manager Julie Bell reports that the Bold Venture is expected to attract a pair of shippers in Lonesome Street, who is trained in Kentucky by Mike Maker, and Bergerac, who is based at Belmont with Chad Brown.

The Bold Venture will be the first stakes run on a Wednesday evening at the current meeting and will be followed July 25 by the $125,000 Deputy Minister, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Woodbine has benefited from being the second product on the New York Racing Association simulcast show, but will lose that perk when Saratoga opens next Friday and focuses and on its own product.

That allows Woodbine to beef up its Wednesday night programs rather than reserving all of its best racing to fit with the Belmont schedule.

Colin draws three U.S. shippers

Saturday’s Colin Stakes has attracted three shippers from south of the border, with Hamp, Joha, and Triple Cross entered in the open $150,000 race for 2-year-olds.

Joha finished second and then third in his first two starts, which came over 4 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland, and then won his maiden in convincing fashion in a six-furlong turf race at Belmont.

Hamp is based in Maryland at Sagamore Farm and is trained by Ignacio Correas, and Triple Cross is a winner of 4 1/2- and five-furlong races in his two career starts, both at Presque Isle for trainer Wayne Rice.

First-time starter will pass Colin

Trainer Brian Lynch had been seriously considering sending out Five Iron for his first start in the Colin. But upon further reflection, Lynch has elected to wait a week and have Five Iron tee it up in a six-furlong maiden race.

“He’s a very mature horse, for a 2-year-old,” said Lynch, who trains Five Iron for owner Fred Allor. “He seems to be a real solid work horse. Everything he’s been asked to do, he’s done. He’s a big, strong colt and he seems to have a good mind. I’ve worked him with older horses a couple of times, and he’s held his own,.”

Lynch also looked at running Five Iron in a maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs here last Sunday.

“I thought he’d prefer the six furlongs,” Lynch said.

Attfield takes aim out of town

Trainer Roger Attfield, who will be represented by Colleen’s Sailor in Sunday’s $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, also will have runners in Chicago on Saturday.

Musketier will run in the Stars and Stripes, a 1 1/2-mile turf stakes that is a Grade 3 worth $150,000.

Smart Sting’s engagement is the Grade 3 Modesty, a 1 3/16-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares that is worth $200,000.

Joel Rosario has the calls on both Musketier and Smart Sting.

Solis to ride Eagle Poise in Chicago

Alex Solis, who has the call on the morning-line favorite Irish Mission for the Prince of Wales, will be at Arlington to ride Eagle Poise in the Stars and Stripes.

Solis was in the irons when Eagle Poise was beaten a nose as the second-place finisher in the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3/4 miles of turf at Santa Anita in his last start April 22.

Eagle Poise, a 6-year-old gelding, won the 1 3/4-mile Valedictory Stakes here last December to conclude his first campaign for trainer Graham Motion.

Two years earlier, Eagle Poise had finished second for Lynch in the Valedictory behind the redoubtable Cloudy’s Knight.

◗ Thursday racing will go on hiatus next week and is not scheduled to resume until Sept. 13. The change was made this year to keep its field sizes competitive in the dog days of summer, when entries are traditionally at their lowest point.

The lost cards were made up by extending the Woodbine meeting to Dec. 16.