07/03/2013 3:45PM

Woodbine notes: Rackman to go in Queen's Plate after all

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Michael Burns
Rackman, who dead-heated with Dragon Puff to win his maiden June 1, will run in Sunday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Nick Nosowenko, discouraged after a workout by Rackman did not go according to plan last Sunday, had said his gelding no longer was under consideration for the Queen’s Plate. But Nosowenko has reconsidered and will send out Rackman for Sunday’s 1 1/4-mile, $1 million showpiece for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. which as of Wednesday was expected to attract a field of 12.

“I overreacted,” said Nosowenko, who also owns and bred Rackman in partnership with his father, Mike. “I was more mad at the riders than the horse. The horse does what he’s told. He came back and cleaned out his feed tub, and he was a terror in the shed row the next morning. The horse deserves a chance. He’s telling me to run.”

Rackman visited the winner’s circle for the first time when dead-heating for the top spot in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race here June 1.

“He galloped out huge after that race,” Nosowenko said. “We don’t know how far he can go, but it looks like he’ll like the mile and a quarter. And he’s fresh. He’s had five weeks between races, so we’ll take a shot and see if we can run them down.”

The 51-year-old Nosowenko, a former restaurateur who had owned horses in partnership with his father, took out his trainer’s license in 2004 and will be looking for his first stakes win in the Queen’s Plate.

His current stable star is Run to the Bank, who finished second when competing under the third-level allowance term in an $80,000 optional claimer here Monday.

The barn also won two races over the long weekend. Executive Class, a half-brother to Rackman, graduated at five furlongs Saturday and is slated to make her next start in the Shady Well Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-bred 2-year-old fillies here July 14. Silent Splash, a 3-year-old filly, won her maiden in the holiday Monday finale.

Jim McAleney has picked up the mount on Rackman and will be seeking his first Queen’s Plate win. McAleney finished second with both I and I in 2000 and Anglian Prince in 2002 and was third aboard the filly Gold Strike in 2005.

Rich Saturday card

Saturday’s card will feature a triple-header of open stakes: the $150,000 My Dear for 2-year-old fillies, the $125,000 Sweet Briar Too for fillies and mares, and the $125,000 Charlie Barley for 3-year-olds.

Ricky Griffith, who sent out Just Got In to capture the five-furlong My Dear last year, will send out G P Ricky and Ria Antonia in Saturday’s renewal.

G P Ricky, who, like Just Got In, races for the Debmar Stables of Glenn Harvey and Steve Duffield, has seen action twice. After finishing second in her 4 1/2-furlong debut at Delaware Park, G P Ricky returned to Woodbine and again was the runner-up in a five-furlong maiden race won by Alovelybunch, who also is back for the My Dear.

“She’s a neat, little filly and seemingly very versatile,” Griffith said of G P Ricky. “She ran a decent race at Delaware – closed and got dirt in her face. She did the same thing here. The surface switch didn’t deter her any.”

Ria Antonia is owned by Griffth’s son, Kyle, and will be making her first start in the My Dear.

“She’s a big filly, 16.1 hands already,” Ricky Griffith said. “She’s training well. She does everything right, and she’s ready to run. I think she’s got a little bit of talent.”

Heading the My Dear will be the uncoupled Mark Casse-trained pair of Sky America, a smart first-out winner at Keeneland in April, and the highly regarded first-time starter Spring Likeacobra.

Rounding out the field of eight will be Skylander Girl and Holy Wow, the second and third finishers when making their first starts in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race, and Ginny Bell.

Acting Naughty tries to atone

Acting Naughty, who became a stakes winner when beginning her campaign in the Grade 3 Whimsical at six furlongs here April 28, will look to rebound in the Sweet Briar Too following a misadventure in the Grade 3 Hendrie Stakes.

Breaking from the No. 1 post in that 6 1/2-furlong stakes for fillies and mares here June 1, Acting Naughty reared at the start and lost all chance of winning but closed to be beaten only 7 1/2 lengths as the fifth-place finisher.

“She’s primed and ready,” said Don MacRae, who conditions the 4-year-old Acting Naughty for owner John Hillier. “Hopefully, she decides to break out of the gate properly this time. It’s easy to say afterwards, but I honestly thought she would have won that race.”

Acting Naughty has recorded a pair of solid five-furlong breezes since the Hendrie and will be moving out to seven furlongs for the Sweet Briar Too.

“I’d prefer her going a little bit shorter; there’s usually a little bit more pace,” MacRae said. “But she has matured a little bit from last year to this year. We’ll see how she does.”

Tyler Pizarro retains the mount on Acting Naughty, who will have seven opponents in the Sweet Briar Too.

Heading the field is Dixie Strike, who will be making her first start in eight months. Trained by Casse, Dixie Strike was the runner-up to Irish Mission in the Sovereign Award voting for the champion 3-year-old filly of 2012 after winning the Selene and Prince of Wales stakes and finishing third in the Queen’s Plate.

The others in the Sweet Briar Too lineup are Heavenly Pride, the Hendrie runner-up when making her 2013 debut; Evil Kitten, coming off a third-place finish in the Zadracarta Stakes over seven furlongs of turf; Bear’s Gem, the winner of the restricted Ballade Stakes over six furlongs on Polytrack but eighth in the Zadracarta; Distracting, fifth when making her local debut in the Whimsical; and recent allowance winners Nikkis Smartypants and Yellow Boat.

Kid Dreams changes plans

Kid Dreams, a Canadian-bred trained in California by Neil Drysdale, came to Woodbine for the June 9 Plate Trial with the objective of trying the local Polytrack with an eye toward the Queen’s Plate. But despite watching Kid Dreams finish a decent fifth, Drysdale determined that the colt’s future was on turf, so he planned to ship the horse home to make his next start on that surface.

As it happened, Kid Dreams did not make it out of Woodbine before the discovery of the equine herpesvirus, which prevented horses from shipping out. So, being stuck here with his groom, Cesar Naves, Kid Dreams was redirected to the Charlie Barley and will try the local turf course for the first time Saturday.

Are You Kidding Me, stakes-placed for trainer Roger Attfield; Clearly Now, a top sprinter making his turf debut; and Gentleman’s Kitten, a good maiden winner on the Churchill Downs turf last out, also will attract serious support in the Charlie Barley.

Casse will send out the trio of the stakes-placed Indiano Jones, recent maiden winner Steel Dust Dancer, and the streaking Sky Commander.

Also in the field are Dan the Tin Man, stretching out and trying turf for the first time after winning two stakes in as many starts this year; Drenched, a winner on grass at Gulfstream Park this winter; and last-out turf maiden winners Golden Sabre and Lennon.