08/07/2013 2:19PM

Woodbine notes: Strut the Course on fence for La Prevoyante

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Michael Burns
Paso Doble has earned all 10 of his wins on Woodbine's Polytrack but might try for his first turf victory Aug. 25 in the Play the King Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Strut the Course concluded an eventful, long weekend with an impressive win here in Monday’s $125,000 Eternal Search Stakes.

“We finally got that done,” said Barbara Minshall, who trains the homebred Strut the Course for John Unger. “She was in good order and got a great ride from [Todd] Kabel.”

Strut the Course earned a career-high 82 Beyer Speed Figure in the Eternal Search, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Strut the Stage also had been nominated to last Sunday’s Wonder Where Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

“The temptation was not there,” Minshall said. “I knew [the Eternal Search] was the spot to be.”

The next stakes race here for Ontario-sired fillies is the $125,000 La Prevoyante, a one-mile turf race Sept. 7.

“I’m not sure if we’ll go on the grass or wait until next year to try it,” Minshall said.

Minshall also trains Valentino Beauty, a turf specialist who came within a head of his first stakes victory as the runner-up in the Grade 2 King Edward at one mile here June 23. The horse then ran a disappointing race in the Grade 2 Nijinsky at 1 1/8 miles on July 21.

Minshall, who trains the Kentucky homebred Valentino Beauty for Bruce Lunsford, plans to cut back to seven furlongs for the Aug. 25 Play the King, which offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $200,000.

“I always thought he’d go a little bit longer, but Gary Stevens, who rode him at Keeneland, and [Edgar] Prado, who rode him here, both felt the horse was better going a little shorter.”

Valentino Beauty is a 4-year-old gelding, and his 3-year-old half-brother, Stacked Deck, finished a solid third with Kabel aboard when debuting in a six-furlong turf race here last Saturday.

“He was really green,” Minshall said. “He’s a colt; I haven’t [gelded] him. He was nickering in the paddock, and Todd said he was nickering down the backstretch. He was like a teenaged boy going out on his first date.”

Stacked Deck, also bred in Kentucky by Lunsford, is out of the Smart Strike mare Bel Air Beauty and was sired by First Samurai. Valentino Beauty’s sire is Vindication.

Paso Doble may try turf again

Paso Doble recorded his fourth stakes win and boosted his earnings near the $800,000 mark by winning Monday’s $125,400 Shepperton Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up.

“He amazes me; he’s a machine,” said Mark Casse, who trains Paso Doble for Centennial Farms (Niagara) Inc. “He’s just pure class.”

Paso Doble’s 10 career wins have come here on Polytrack, but the 7-year-old gelding has finished second three times in five turf outings and could return to that surface for the Play the King.

“I actually still think he can run on the grass as long as it’s firm,” Casse said.

Eurico Rosa da Silva, who rode Paso Doble and also won last Saturday’s Wonder Where with Smartyfly, has won a meet-leading 12 stakes, one more than second-place Luis Contreras.

Smartyfly, the only filly to compete in all three legs of the Triple Tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, ended the series on a high note with her victory in the Wonder Where, a race marred by the fatal breakdown of Woodbine Oaks winner Nipissing.

“She loves the grass,” said trainer Malcolm Pierce, who had watched Smartyfly finish fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks and second in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City.

Smartyfly, a homebred for Sam-Son Farm, now will get a breather, with her next local target being the Oct. 12 Carotene Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Pierce also would consider Keeneland’s Oct. 12 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, an open race for 3-year-old fillies that offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $400,000, but Smartyfly would require an invitation to participate.

Light schedule for Youcan’tcatchme

Youcan’tcatchme, trained by Sam DiPasquale, was returning from an 8 1/2-month layoff when she led throughout Sunday’s $100,600 Etobicoke, a six-furlong overnight stakes for fillies and mares.

“She had a severe injury,” said DiPasquale, who conditions the Florida homebred for Murray Stroud. “She rehabbed at Pine Valley [Training Centre]. They got her ready until April, and I took over from there.”

The Grade 3, $150,000 Seaway, a seven-furlong stakes Aug. 31, is the next open sprint stakes for fillies and mares here. DiPasquale, however, is making no long-term plans for the 4-year-old Youcan’tcatchme.

“It’s day-to-day with her,” DiPasquale said. “I’ll run her three or four times this year and have her for next year, I hope.”

Alpha Bettor eyes Presque Isle Mile

Alpha Bettor became a stakes winner in last year’s Seagram Cup, a Grade 3 race for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles. And the 5-year-old gelding liked it so much that he did it again last Saturday, notching his third stakes score in the $159,300 feature.

“He’s a lovely horse,” said Danny Vella, who trains Alpha Bettor and is part of the Bulldog Racing ownership group. “He keeps improving. He won pretty easily.”

The next two-turn Polytrack stakes here for the older-male division is the Oct. 6 Durham Cup, a 1/8-mile race that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000. Vella, however, will be exploring interim options.

“I’m going to take a look at the Presque Isle race,” said Vella, refering to the $250,000 Presque Isle Mile on Sept. 8. “And there’s an overnight stake here at a mile and a quarter, but I’m not sure I want that.”

That $100,000 yet-to-be-named stakes is scheduled for Sept. 7 and would require a field of at least five to be carded.

On Rainbow Bridge may stretch out

On Rainbow Bridge won her second stakes and gave apprentice jockey Skye Chernetz her second stakes win in last Saturday’s $125,400 Nandi.

Chernetz and On Rainbow Bridge had teamed up to win the 5 1/2-furlong Shady Well for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies and doubled up when facing Ontario-sired fillies in the six-furlong Nandi.

Dave Cotey, who conditions On Rainbow Bridge for the Triple K Stable of Kurt Cobza, will look at the Muskoka Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong race that will be one of six yearling sales stakes on the Aug. 28 program.

On Rainbow Bridge was an $18,000 purchase at last year’s select sale.

“She’ll get the 6 1/2,” Cotey said. “If everything works out, I might try her two turns once.”

On Rainbow Bridge was one of seven winners for Chernetz last week, including four Sunday, and the 20-year-old has moved into seventh place in the jockeys’ standings.

Global Express works for Breeders’ Stakes

Global Express, tuning up for the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes on Aug. 18, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 in company with older stablemate Bowman’s Causeway on the main track here Wednesday. Contreras, who has the call for the Breeders’ Stakes, was aboard Global Express, while Emma-Jayne Wilson, who will be riding at Saratoga on Friday, did the honors on Bowman’s Causeway.

“They went well enough,” said trainer Roger Attfield, who watched Global Express thrust himself into the Breeders’ picture with an impressive maiden win over 1 3/8 miles on turf here July 26.

The Breeders’ Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, goes at 1 1/2 miles on grass.