06/18/2012 2:43PM

Woodbine notes: Pender Harbour gives barn some relief

Michael Burns
Pender Harbour, with Luis Contreras riding, wins the Steady Growth

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – It has been a frustrating spring for the Mike DePaulo barn.

So, there was palpable sense if relief last Sunday after Pender Harbour captured the $125,000 Steady Growth Stakes under his regular rider, Luis Contreras.

“It’s nice to get him back,” said DePaulo, who trains Pender Harbour for Alberta-based owners Denny Andrews, Sandra Lazaruk, and Bob and Roberta Giffin.

“He certainly needed his first race. He was fat. He’s still far from skinny.”

Pender Harbour had made his local seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Eclipse, a 1 1/16-mile race in which he was beaten 10 3/4 lengths as the ninth-place finisher in the field of 11.

The Ontario-sired company of the Steady Growth, also at 1 1/16 miles, looked to be well within Pender Harbour’s wheelhouse, but he still had to be on his game while defeating Good Better Best and jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva by two lengths.

Pender Harbour, who was Canada’s champion 3-year-old male last year – with his successes including Fort Erie’s Prince of Wales Stakes and the Breeders’ and Bunty Lawless here at Woodbine – boosted his bankroll to $1,028,420 with the $75,000 winner’s share of the Steady Growth purse.

“It’s nice that he cracks a million dollars,” said DePaulo, who also trained Ontario-sired millionaire Krz Ruckus.

“And, I think he ran a pretty courageous race. He was giving the second horse nine pounds.

“I put the blinkers back on him, but I’m not sure that made that much difference. Luis got him to settle. The slow fractions worried me a little, and he was in pretty tight down there on the inside. Once he got his head in there, he got a few bumps. Mr. Da Silva didn’t make it easy for us.”

Pender Harbour is nominated to the Grade 3 Dominion Day , a 1 1/4-mile stakes here July 1, and DePaulo will consider an appearance there.

“He came out of [the Steady Growth] good,” said DePaulo. “He ran well coming back quick last year, and we know he’ll like the mile and a quarter.”

DePaulo also is looking forward to trying Pender Harbour on the turf.

“He’s never run on a firm turf course,” said DePaulo, who sent out Pender Harbour to win the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ and one-mile Bunty Lawless over soft going.

“Who nows, he might move up on it.”

** Woodbine-based jockey Jesse Campbell is slated to be at Presque Isle Downs on Wednesday for the mount on Eternal Rule in the $100,000 Karl Boyes Memorial. Eternal Rule, a 5-year-old trained by Sid Attard, will be looking for his fifth win in as many starts in the 5 1/2-furlong stakes.