11/07/2012 4:17PM

Woodbine notes: Pender Harbour skipping Autumn

Michael Burns
Pender Harbour will not start in Saturday's Grade 2 Autumn Stakes at Woodbine.

Pender Harbour was expected to be among the entrants for Saturday’s Autumn Stakes, but will not be participating.

“He breezed five-eighths in 1:02.60 the other day, which was okay but certainly wasn’t his best work,” said Mike DePaulo, who trains Pender Harbour for owners Denny Andrews, Sandra Lazaruk, and Bob and Roberta Giffin. “We decided to skip the Autumn and freshen him up for the Sir Barton.”

The $125,000 Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up, will be run here Dec. 2

Pender Harbour, who was Canada’s champion 3-year-old male last season and ended that campaign with a second-place finish in the Autumn, has won three restricted stakes this year and also has placed in graded stakes on turf and Polytrack.

Durham Cup 2-3-4 back in Autumn

Saturday’s running of the Autumn, a 1 1/16-mile race that offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $150,000, attracted a field of seven 3-year-olds and up.

City Wolf, James Street, and Alpha Bettor, the 2-3-4 finishers in the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup here Oct. 14, will be back for the Autumn. Delegation, the front-running winner that day, went on to finish a very creditable third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita last Saturday.

Rounding out the Autumn field are Maritimer, who was Canada’s champion 2-year-old male last year and will be returning to Woodbine for new interests; the hard-knockers Hotep, James Street, and Patrioticandproud, all of whom are established stakes performers; and the up-and-coming Jomelo.

Danny Vella, who trains Alpha Bettor and is a member of the Bulldog Racing syndicate that owns the 4-year-old colt, believes that a dawdling pace was a major factor in the Durham Cup.

“I’m hoping that we’ll get a little more pace than 1:15,” said Vella, with reference to the Durham Cup’s opening six furlongs. “I think the race is a throwout. Delegation is a good horse, but the pace threw everyone off their game.”

Alpha Bettor, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old, had become a stakes winner in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup at 1 1/16 miles here Aug. 4 and returned to finish a close second behind James Street in the 1 1/16-mile allowance prep for the Durham Cup seven weeks later.

Last Saturday, Alpha Bettor tuned up for the Autumn with a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.60.

“I thought it was a great, great work,” Vella said. “He couldn’t be better.”

Justin Stein will ride Alpha Bettor for the first time in the Autumn.

Wyomia rejoins Vella’s stable

Wyomia, who last was seen locally when winning the Grade 3 Mazarine on Oct. 9, 2010, has returned to Vella’s barn with an eye toward the Nov. 24 Bessarabian Stakes.

The Grade 3, $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares, would be Wyomia’s second start in more than six months.

The now 4-year-old filly had been away since her May 19 seasonal bow when she returned with a third-place finish over 1 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland while facing males under second-level allowance terms.

“She’s been here about a week,” Vella said. “She’s bigger and better this year. She’s a really strong filly, who’s very fresh.”

Wyomia, who had finished off her first campaign with a sixth-of-14 finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs, has been trained since then by Curtis Garrison, who is based on owner/breeder Ed Seltzer’s Solera Farm in Florida.

Big Band Sound getting a break

Vella also reports that Big Band Sound, who won the Grade 2 Play the King and placed in four other stakes at the current meeting, has been sent to Kentucky for some rest and refreshment.

“You probably won’t see him again until next May,” Vella said. “He deserves a break. He’s had a tough year and run some great races.”

A Kentucky-homebred 5-year-old who is owned by Kendel Standlee and Richard Shultz, Big Band Sound joined Vella last October and campaigned here through the end of the meet before kicking off the current season with a couple of outings at Tampa Bay Downs.

His 2011 efforts here included consecutive second-place finishes in the Jacques Cartier, at six furlongs on the main track; the Grade 3 Vigil, seven furlongs on the main track; the Grade 2 Connaught Cup, seven furlongs on turf; and the Grade 2 King Edward, one mile on turf.

For the season, Big Band Sound compiled a record of 2-4-0 for earnings of $309,690 from 10 outings.

Coronation Futurity draws six

The other feature on Saturday’s card is the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds that attracted a field of just six.

Star Contender is coming off a victory in the Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds here Oct. 20, and is looming as the horse to beat.

The others in the field are Up With the Birds and His Race to Win, both of whom are trained by Malcolm Pierce but run as separate betting interests; Bookies Nightmare; Kitten Candy; and Hesa Big Dude.

◗ Locally based Kissable and Clarinet have been entered in Saturday’s Long Island, a Grade 3 turf race for fillies and mares at Aqueduct that is scheduled for 1 1/2 miles of turf and is worth $150,000. Kissable, trained by Roger Attfield, is coming off a solid fourth-place finish here in the Grade 2 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race Oct. 14. Clarinet became a stakes winner here in the Sept. 28 Flaming Page over 1 1/2 miles of turf while making her first start for Josie Carroll.

◗ Anthony Williams has been appointed as a member of the Ontario Racing Commission and as the vice chair for a period of two years, effective Nov. 6. Williams has represented the province’s Ministry of the Attorney General on criminal prosecutions since 1974 and has acted as senior litigation counsel for the ORC since 2007. He succeeds James Donnelly, who had served as vice chair since 2007.