11/08/2012 1:39PM

Woodbine notes: Maritimer will face elders in Autumn Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Maritimer, who was Canada’s champion male 2-year-old of 2011, returns as an unknown quantity for Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Autumn Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Bred in Ontario by Howard Walton, Maritimer had been sold privately following the conclusion of his first campaign, capped by an emphatic victory here in the 1 1/16-mile Display that yielded a Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

The buyer was Ramzan Kadyrov, president of Chechnya, and Maritimer had been on the farm in Florida when he was sent to Dubai for the U.A.E. Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds in which he finished 11th on March 31.

Now, after prepping solidly but not spectacularly for trainer Seth Benzel at Saratoga, Maritimer will be making just his second start as a 3-year-old with some solid older stakes performers among his rivals.

There has been no word coming out of the Maritimer camp, save the comment,“He couldn’t be doing better” from freelance exercise rider Cyril Desplanques.

Luis Contreras, who rode Maritimer in five of his six starts here last year, is returning to the saddle.

Older stakes winners City Wolf, James Street and Alpha Bettor all are back for the Autumn after running 2-3-4 in the 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup here Aug. 14.

The Durham Cup was won in front-running fashion by Delegation, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 104 and went on to finish a solid third in last Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

City Wolf, a Kentucky homebred who races for Stronach Stable and is trained by Reade Baker, was beaten 1 1/4 lengths, and his Beyer came back at 102.

“If he’s the same as he was last time, that should be good enough,” said Baker, who will give regular rider Emma-Jayne Wilson a leg up on City Wolf.

James Street and Alpha Bettor each recorded his only stakes win at the Autumn distance and either would be very dangerous here on his best effort.

Patrick Husbands rides James Street for trainer Josie Carroll, while Justin Stein takes over aboard Alpha Bettor for trainer Danny Vella.

Rounding out the field are Hotep, Patrioticandproud, and Jomelo.

Hotep, a 5-year-old, won a pair of Polytrack stakes here in 2010 when trained by Mark Frostad and has held his form well this year for current trainer Malcolm Pierce.

Most recently, Hotep closed to finish fourth in the 1 1/8-mile R.F. Carey Memorial on the turf at Hawthorne on Oct. 6. Alex Solis picks up the mount here.

Patrioticandproud, a 3-year-old trained by Mark Casse, returned from a two-month layoff to defeat Stunning Stag by a head in a second-level optional claiming race here Oct. 13.

Stunning Stag, trained by Sid Attard, was retired earlier this week.

Attard will be represented in the Autumn by Jomelo, a 3-year-old who was dropped into the upper claiming ranks this summer but is coming off an impressive score in his first try around two turns here Oct. 19.

“He handled it well,” said Attard, who had entered Jomelo in a one-mile turf race that was moved to the main track at a mile and 70 yards. “He made a huge run. He’s improving every race.”

Jomelo is owned by Jim Lawson and again will be ridden by Jesse Campbell, who is 3 for 4 aboard the gelding.

Bookies Nightmare ‘happy and fresh’

Trainer Carolyn Costigan had her first taste of Breeders’ Cup action last week, sending out Nancy O for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

But Nancy O, despite being a maiden after four starts and a 41-1 shot, was far from disgraced as she finished 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner in ninth in a 14-horse field after encountering trouble while racing on the inside under her regular rider, David Moran.

“She just didn’t get a chance to run,” said Costigan, who trains Nancy O for her father, Bob Costigan, and Harry Dobson.

On Saturday, Costigan and Moran will be looking for considerably clearer sailing with Bookies Nightmare, who is among six entrants in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

By Discreet Cat and out of Owenahincha, who was owned by Bob Costigan and raced here with trainer Mac Benson, Bookies Nightmare was entered in the select yearling sale here last fall.

“A new client told me to go to $20,000,” said Costigan, identifying that party as the Borders Racing Stable of Harry Dobson.

Costigan dropped out of the bidding as Bookies Nightmare subsequently sold for $23,000. On Sept. 9, Bookies Nightmare made his first start, which came in a $32,000 five-furlong maiden claiming race.

“Mr. Dobson called me and told me to claim him,” the trainer said.

Bookies Nightmare finished second that day and then was a decent fourth on Sept. 29 when stretching out to 1 1/16 miles and stepping up to straight maiden company with Moran in the irons.

“He was very, very green but he galloped out beautifully,” Costigan said. “Davey said he would have learned a lot and that he wanted to go long.”

Moran had another commitment when Bookies Nightmare made his third and most recent start Oct. 12 and finished fourth, beaten a length, in another 1 1/16-mile maiden race with apprentice jockey Jackie Wyatt in the irons.

“Jackie followed my instructions perfectly,” Costigan said. “I said what he needed was a good experience.

“So I have a horse who is coming into this race very happy and fresh. And Davey will be back on him.”

Honorable Guest notches first stakes win

It wasn’t exactly a routine victory, but Honorable Guest was a punctual choice in the $125,000 Frost King here Wednesday evening.

Breaking from post 1 as the 4-5 choice, Honorable Guest raced in traffic and fought his way through for a three-quarter-length score under his regular rider, Patrick Husbands, in the seven-furlong stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

“I had my concerns,” trainer Mark Casse said. “When you’re in the 1-hole, and you’re 2-5, everybody’s gunning for you.”

Honorable Guest was recording his first stakes win after finishing second in the Victoria, Simcoe, and Bull Page. He also ended second in the Colin, but was disqualified and placed fifth.

The colt also was the first stakes winner for his owner and breeder, Nancy Guest, who is based here in Ontario and has several horses with Casse.

The $75,000 first-place prize from the Frost King brought Honorable Guest’s earnings to $219,600 via a 2-4-0 record from seven starts.

“We decided after the race that was going to be it for him for the year, so he’s heading home,” Casse said.

“Home” is Casse’s Moonshadow Farm in Florida.

“That’s where he was broke, and that’s where we do everything,” Casse said. “When we bring them home, we do a thorough examination and if there’s anything that needs to be done, we do it during the winter time, when they’re going to be off.

“Hopefully, all’s clean and he’ll be out eating grass.”