08/13/2012 1:10PM

Woodbine notes: It's Gail has adventurous winning trip in Eternal Search

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Michael Burns
It’s Gail, with Luis Contreras riding, wins Sunday’s $125,000 Eternal Search at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – It’s Gail didn’t make life easy, for either herself or her connections, here in Sunday’s $125,000 Eternal Search Stakes.

But after being reluctant to load, breaking a step slowly under Luis Contreras, racing wide, lugging in with a furlong to run, and surviving a lengthy inquiry, It’s Gail made her first trip to the stakes winner’s circle.

“She’s a quirky filly,” said trainer Bob Tiller, who was sending out It’s Gail to win for the third time in four starts in the 1 1/16-mile Eternal Search for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies. “I think there’s a lot more horse there than what we saw. I really think she’ll carry on and win some more of these distance races.”

It’s Gail, purchased for $40,000 at the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s local select yearling sale, could make her next appearance in the $125,000 Algoma Stakes here Sept. 3. The 1 1/16 -mile Algoma is for fillies and mares who went through the ring at a local sale. She is owned by Rolph Davis.

Grace Phil eyeing La Prevoyante

Grace Phil, also representing the Tiller stable, finished fourth in the Eternal Search as the second choice behind odds-on It’s Gail.

Owned by a partnership headed by Frank DiGiulio Jr., Grace Phil was looking for her third stakes win in Ontario-sired company after capturing the Passing Mood over seven furlongs of turf in her last start and the South Ocean at 1 1/16 miles on the main track here last fall.

“She didn’t present herself well in the paddock,” Tiller said. “It would have been nice to get her outside to the walking ring, but they couldn’t go there because of the wet grass. She washed out and came out on the track a little bit wet. She’s never done that before. But she might not really want to go two turns.”

Grace Phil, an $11,000 local sales yearling, will be pointed to the $125,000 La Prevoyante Stakes, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies here Sept. 8.

“I think the mile on turf, around one turn, might be her best distance,” Tiller said.

Big debut for Sweet Redemption

The first-time starter Sweet Redemption was up in time to score by a neck under Luis Contreras in last Saturday’s $150,000 Ontario Debutante Stakes at six furlongs.

The Indiana-bred Sweet Redemption had been entered in a maiden race a week earlier as trainer Greg De Gannes had penciled in Phantom Girl for the Ontario Debutante. But after Phantom Girl suffered an injury that cut short her campaign, De Gannes re-evaluated the situation, scratched Sweet Redemption from the maiden race, and rolled the dice in the Ontario Debutante.

“I’ve always thought she was a really talented filly,” said De Gannes, who trains Sweet Redemption for the Southern Chase Farm of Glen and Karen Dodd. “But it can be difficult with really talented 2-year-olds. A lot of times you don’t want to work them against each other, so they work by themselves and they don’t learn very much.

“That’s the whole thing of competition. She got dirt kicked in her face for the first time, and she got a little lost for about a sixteenth of a mile in the stretch. That’s where Luis Contreras came in. He picked her up and set her down.”

With the next open sprint stakes for 2-year-old fillies being the seven-furlong Glorious Song on Nov. 11, De Gannes may be exploring options for Sweet Redemption south of the border.

“She’s by D’Wildcat, out of a Silver Deputy mare,” De Gannes said. “When you look at her pedigree, you don’t really think two turns, and there’s not really much turf.”

De Gannes also related an interesting tale about Sweet Redemption’s mare, Sliver of Silver.

“The Dodds, who are pinhookers as well as breeders, paid $42,000 for her as a yearling and resold her for $375,000 as a 2-year-old,” De Gannes said. “Mary Dodd broke her, trained her, and fell in love with her. She asked the buyer if she could buy her back when her racing career came to an end.”

Sliver of Silver’s career was cut short by injury late in her 3-year-old season, and her owner contacted the Dodds.

Unfortunately, the Dodds were short of money at the time, but then fate intervened.

“Greg Dodd plays the Florida lottery occasionally,” De Gannes said. “He’s the type of guy who throws his ticket in a drawer and checks it later. That particular week, he had a ticket worth $5,000, and that enabled them to buy back the mare.”

Sliver of Silver – bought for $42,000, sold for $375,000, bought back for $5,000, and now the dam of a stakes winner – has been as good as gold for the Dodds.

Runfor Ro points to Ontario Colleen

Runfor Ro, who races for the Raroma Stable of Raj Maharajh, is on target to make her next start in the Aug. 26 Ontario Colleen for the De Gannes stable.

The Ontario Colleen, an open one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

The Kentucky-bred Runfor Ro placed in three stakes last year, including the Ontario Debutante, but her only win came via a disqualification in her first lifetime start, and she had not crossed the wire on top until she captured a “B” allowance race over one mile of turf July 20.

“I’ve always maintained she was better on turf,” said De Gannes, who watched Run for Ro finish a troubled eighth in last year’s Natalma in her only previous try on the surface. “I’m a strong believer in pedigree, and I think the longer she runs the better she’ll be. This is a big step up, but that last race really brought her forward.”

Jenny’s So Great looks out of town

De Gannes could be hitting the road with Jenny’s So Great, who is coming off a tough-trip third in an attempt to win in the Grade 3 Royal North for the second straight year here July 29.

Jenny’s So Great could run next in the Sept. 3 Turf Amazon, a five-furlong race for fillies and mares at Parx Racing worth $200,000, De Gannes said.

◗ Pender Harbour and Forte Dei Marmi both breezed five furlongs here Monday morning in preparation for Sunday’s Sky Classic Stakes. The Sky Classic, at 1 1/4 miles on turf, is a Grade 2 with a purse of $250,000.

Pender Harbour, trained by Mike DePaulo, was clocked in 1:01.40, and Forte Dei Marmi went in 1:02 for Roger Attfield.