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Woodbine notes: Solid Appeal sets sights on Beverly D.
By Bill Tallon
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Several top-class performances were overshadowed by the Queen’s Plate here last Sunday, an afternoon on which three graded turf stakes were scheduled but only two were run over the surface.
Trainer Reade Baker and owners Jim and Susan Hill were front and center after winning both the 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly, for fillies and mares, and the six-furlong Highlander, which had been scheduled for turf but was switched to the main track at the 11th hour following a sudden downpour.
Those rains had been at their mightiest during the running of the 1 1/2-mile Singspiel, which was run one race prior to the Highlander and produced a one-two finish for the Roger Attfield-trained pair of Forte Dei Marmi and Perfect Timber.
Prior to the deluge, Baker watched Solid Appeal record her second straight Grade 2 turf stakes victory under subsequent Queen’s Plate-winning rider Jesse Campbell in the 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly.
Solid Appeal had become a stakes winner in the Nassau at one mile on the turf here May 25, and her Dance Smartly performance underlined her ascendance.
“She’s a lovely, lovely filly,” Baker said. “We’ll look at the Beverly D. for her next start.”
The Grade 1, $750,000 Beverly D., a 1 3/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, will be run at Arlington Park on Aug. 17, Arlington Million Day.
Go Blue or Go Home’s plans not set
Go Blue or Go Home would have been considered a serious contender if the Highlander had gone as scheduled, but when the race was switched to Polytrack, he became all the more formidable as it took several of his rivals out of their comfort zones.
The 4-year-old gelding Go Blue or Go Home still deserved full marks, however, after leading throughout en route to a 5 1/4-length victory under Luis Contreras.
The win was the third straight and fifth in just seven starts for Go Blue or Go Home, who had journeyed to Presque Isle Downs to prep for the Highlander with an impressive score in the 5 1/2-furlong Karl Boyes Memorial over the Tapeta surface.
“I’m not really sure what we’ll do with him next,” Baker said. “The next stakes for him here would be the Play the King.”
The Play the King, a seven-furlong turf race that offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $200,000, will be run here Aug. 25.
Forte Dei Marmi staying at Woodbine
Attfield was not overly surprised that the veteran 7-year-old gelding Forte Dei Marmi regained his winning touch in the Singpsiel, which was run over turf rated yielding but getting softer by the second.
But Attfield had even more reason to celebrate his sixth Singspiel score in eight runnings as Perfect Timber, a lightly raced homebred colt whom he trains for Chuck Fipke, finished a solid second while making his stakes debut in just his fourth lifetime start.
Attfield, in fact, did not see much of the race itself as rain obscured the long run down the backstretch and the large video board in the infield.
But once Forte Dei Marmi came into the picture, he was well in command and went on to a 6 1/4-length score under rider Joel Rosario.
“Rosario said it was a good thing the horse knew where he was going, because he’d run out of goggles and couldn’t see anything,” Attfield said.
Forte Dei Marmi recorded his first win while making his seventh start since last year’s Grade 2 Sky Classic, a 1 1/4-mile turf race that he won prior to finishing third in both the Grade 1 Northern Dancer and Grade 1 Canadian International over 1 1/4 miles on the grass.
“He’s not going anywhere; I’ve got a schedule for him right here,” Attfield said. “I’d be governed more by whether the going has some ‘give’ to it. Last year, I jarred him up running him on firm turf.”
The Sky Classic will be run this year on Aug. 18, with the Northern Dancer set for Sept. 15 and the Canadian International for Oct. 27.
Perfect Timber had won first crack out over 1 1/8 miles of grass at Gulfstream Park this April and recorded his second win in a first-level off-the-turf allowance at 1 1/4 miles here June 16 in his local bow and third career outing.
“He hadn’t had any experience running in that kind of situation, and I thought he ran really well,” Attfield said of Perfect Timber’s Singspiel performance. “I thought he was going to be a stakes horse in the fall, and I thought his would be a test for him.
“It turned out to be even more of a test than I’d thought it would.”
Perfect Timber, large in both size and promise, could indeed be a factor in Woodbine’s major turf stakes, but in the meantime, he remains eligible for his second allowance condition.
Main track reopens for training
The main track and training track reopened for business here Wednesday morning after being closed Tuesday due to flooding caused by a record-setting downpour that began late Monday afternoon.
Essence Hit Man, Paso Doble, and Bear Tough Tiger, candidates for next Wednesday night’s Bold Venture, all breezed five furlongs on the Polytrack.
Queen’s Plate-winning rider Jesse Campbell, also a regular partner of Essence Hit Man’s, was in the irons as the 6-year-old gelding was clocked in 1:01.
Essence Hit Man, trained by Larry Cappuccitti, finished second as the odds-on choice in the June 2 Vigil at seven furlongs and will be cutting back to 6 1/2 furlongs for the $125,000 Bold Venture.
Paso Doble and Bear Tough Tiger both were entered in the Highlander but were early scratches.
Exercise rider Jason Hoyte was aboard Paso Doble as the 7-year-old gelding was clocked in 1:00, the best of 23 workers at the distance.
Trained by Mark Casse, Paso Doble is coming off a second-place finish in the six-furlong off-the-turf allowance prep for the Highlander.
Bear Tough Tiger, from the Baker barn, went in 1:01.80 under exercise rider Ursula Selby. Bear Tough Tiger finished eighth when making his last start in the Connaught Cup over seven furlongs of turf here May 26.
Pender Harbour works toward Nijinsky
Pender Harbour also breezed on the Polytrack here Wednesday, going six furlongs in 1:16.20 under exercise rider Charlton Riley.
Trained by Mike DePaulo, Pender Harbour is pointing to the July 21 Nijinsky, a 1 1/8-mile turf stakes that offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $200,000.
Pender Harbour finished last of nine, but was beaten just 3 1/4 lengths, when making his first start in seven months here in the June 23 King Edward over one mile on the turf course.
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