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Woodbine notes: Five Iron improving for Lynch
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Brian Lynch came close to recording his first turf stakes win of the meeting here in last Sunday’s Grade 2 Nijinsky, sending out Hampstead Heath and Grand Arch for second- and third-place finishes and combined earnings of $70,000.
On Saturday, Lynch will look to break through with Five Iron, who is among seven horses entered in the open, $125,000 Toronto Cup at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-olds.
Five Iron, a Kentucky-bred who races for Fred Allor, was a debut winner here last fall and went on to finish second in the seven-furlong Swynford Stakes and a close fourth in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Grey.
After finishing his first campaign at Churchill Downs, Five Iron resurfaced in a first-level allowance race over 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland, where he was beaten 4 3/4 lengths as the sixth-place finisher after breaking from the outside in the field of 12.
“His race there was a complete throw-out,” Lynch said. “He was rank. He was too keen early.”
Five Iron finished second, beaten a half-length, here 11 days later in the six-furlong Woodstock and then ran third, beaten five lengths, in the 1 1/16-mile Marine, won by subsequent Queen’s Plate runner-up Up With the Birds.
But it was his most recent appearance, a front-running win in the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park here June 16, that stamped Five Iron as a horse on the upswing.
“He seems to be getting better as the year goes on and we get more races into him,” said Lynch, who has sent out Five Iron to breeze three times on the turf training course in preparation for the Toronto Cup. “We’ve always thought he was going to be a good horse going long on turf. I love the way he’s worked on it.”
Luis Contreras returns aboard Five Iron, whose opponents in the Toronto Cup will be Are You Kidding Me, Sky Commander, Rei, Comes the Dream, Iratus Leo, and Keep the Cash.
Lynnessa set for turf debut in Victoriana
Lynnessa is riding a three-race winning streak for trainer Ron Sadler and is slated to make her turf debut here Wednesday in the $125,000 Victoriana Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.
But the 4-year-old Lynnessa, a homebred for Phillip Lanning, actually has some experience over the E.P. Taylor turf course.
“She got away from the pony one day last year and got up on the turf course,” Sadler said. “I thought she handled it fairly well. She ran hard on it for about 15 minutes. She looked pretty good doing it.”
That incident was in keeping with the earlier version of Lynnessa, who was unraced at 2 and did not debut until last Aug. 22.
“She had a reputation when she came in from the farm,” Sadler said. “She was always a good-feeling filly, on the edge a little. She also had some physical issues we had to address. That’s why she was so late getting to the races at 3.”
Lynnessa performed encouragingly in her first three starts, picking up minor awards in restricted maiden races, but then finished a disappointing ninth in her first attempt around two turns.
“She actually went the wrong way for a while – she got worse instead of better,” Sadler said. “She was a little difficult in the paddock and kind of obstreperous to train. She took two months off racing, and we paddock-schooled her. Finally, she started to get it, to be good in the paddock.”
Lynnessa was back in the entries on closing day, Dec. 15, and rallied for a convincing win under her new rider, apprentice Tommy Wong. The filly and the bug boy haven’t taken a backward step this season, as Lynnessa landed her first two restricted allowance conditions at six and 6 1/2 furlongs, with both wins coming in eye-catching, rallying fashion.
“When she came back in this year, she was a more settled, mature individual,” Sadler said. “Gerry Norton, who gallops her, takes an inordinate amount of time with her in the mornings. He lets her stand there and look around.”
On Wednesday, Lynnessa got her first official feel of a turf track, breezing five furlongs in 1:02.20 on the training course with Wong in the irons.
Reconnect, Niigon’s Princess, Consecutive, and Hurricane Lorraine were among the other Victoriana candidates who worked on the training track’s turf here Wednesday. Jockey Jesse Campbell was aboard Reconnect, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01 for trainer Ashlee Brnjas.
Reconnect was beaten a head when second in last year’s Victoriana by Moonlit Beauty, who also is on target for Wednesday’s renewal.
Niigon’s Princess, trained by Ian Black, breezed four furlongs in 48.20 seconds under apprentice rider Skye Chernetz, who has the call for the Victoriana.
Consecutive, also from the Black barn, breezed four furlongs in 50 seconds under Omar Moreno, who is scheduled to be in the irons for the Victoriana.
Hurricane Lorraine, conditioned by Alison Crook, breezed four furlongs in 47.80 under jockey Jim McAleney.
Power Phil breezes for Prince of Wales
It’s Gail, also pointing for the Victoriana, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 on the main track here Wednesday in company with male 3-year-old stablemate Power Phil, who is headed for Tuesday’s $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie.
Jockey Matt Moore was aboard It’s Gail, while Contreras, who has the call for the Prince of Wales, piloted Power Phil.
“They breezed right along, came back good, and scoped clean,” said Bob Tiller, who trains It’s Gail for Rolph Davis and Power Phil for Frank DiGiulio. “Hopefully, we’ll be down there at Fort Erie next Tuesday with Power Phil and take a shot.”
Entries for the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales, second leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be taken Saturday.
HPI accessible on smartphones
Woodbine Entertainment Group has announced that sign-up for HorsePlayer Interactive, WEG’s online account-wagering platform, now is available through smartphones and other mobile devices.
The sign-up process for new customers is a simple three-step application that has been specifically designed for mobile platforms. New customers need only touch the “Join HPI” button to get started.
“The response to our mobile HPI service has exceeded our expectations, and the usage on it continues to grow due to mobile devices with fast wireless networks being more available and affordable,” Kevin Maharaj, WEG’s senior manager of HPI and simulcast development, said in a statement. “This new sign-up process will enhance the new-customer experience on the site and will get them playing faster.”
The HPI mobile site is accessible at HorsePlayerInteractive.com.