11/14/2012 12:43PM

Woodbine notes: Nipissing works for South Ocean

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Michael Burns
Princess Elizabeth winner Nipissing runs Sunday in the South Ocean.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Nipissing, tuning up for Sunday’s $125,000 South Ocean Stakes, breezed three furlongs in 35.80 here Wednesday morning with her regular rider Steven Bahen in the irons.

A Chiefswood Stable homebred, Nipissing would be looking to run her record to 4 for 4 after becoming a stakes winner last time out in the Oct. 28 Princess Elizabeth, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies.

“I breezed her back already,” said trainer Rachel Halden, who was aboard when Nipissing was clocked in 52 one week earlier. “I just let her run a little bit. I wanted to do a little bit more this time, something sharp. She’s in good shape. I’m happy with the way she’s doing.”

While Nipissing will attract most of the attention she may not be the only Chiefswood filly in the South Ocean.

Otonabee, trained by Paul Attard, will make just her second career start in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

“In my opinion, she ran a winning race last time,” said Attard. “She’s dying to go two turns.

Otonabee debuted at seven furlongs here Oct. 7, and after getting away slowly rallied to miss by a neck.

“I entered her for a maiden race last weekend, which didn’t fill,” said Attard. “But, I’m considering her for the stake anyway.”

Otonabee tuned up for the South Ocean on Monday with a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.40 and Attard, whose barn is among those that have been hit hard by the virus making the rounds of the backstretch, was relieved when the filly emerged in good order.

“I scoped her after and she was clean,” said Attard.

Richard Dos Ramos will be back aboard Otonabee for the South Ocean.

Attard heading south

Attard, who again will be wintering in Florida, has 15 stalls at Palm Meadows training center.

“I’m going to race a bit at Gulfstream,” said the trainer, who plans to have Otonabee among his Chiefswood charges at the training center and horses for several other clients.

Rob Landry, Chiefswood’s general manager, said the outfit also will have horses with trainer Danny Vella at Palm Meadows and with Halden at Payson Park, while the yearlings will go to Kenny LeJeune in the Ocala area and trainer Kelly Callahan will hold the fort here at Chiefswood’s nearby farm and training center.

Landry also reports that Niigon’s Touch, a 4-year-old filly who won the restricted Eternal Search Stakes in what turned out to be her final career start on Aug. 20, 2011, has been retired to the breeding shed.

Niigon’s Touch, who suffered a small fracture in a hind leg here last fall, had been preparing for a comeback in the Sept. 30 Classy ‘n Smart Stakes but a disappointing workout prompted a return to the farm.

“That’s the good thing about this operation,” said Landry. “If it’s time, it’s time – they just retire them. They do what’s right for the horse.”

Niigon’s Touch also missed by just a head in the 2011 Bison City, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, and earned $198,700 via a career record of 3-1-0 from just five starts.