07/03/2012 3:01PM

Woodbine notes: Stunning Stag's Ontario Jockey Club win shows he's still going strong


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Stunning Stag was recording his fourth stakes score here in Monday’s $100,000 Ontario Jockey Club, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-bred 3-year-olds and upward.

Stunning Stag, a 7-year-old whom Sid Attard trains for his wife, Janice Attard, also has won seven other races and finished in the money in 26 of 34 starts while earning $989,435. More than $900,000 of that total has been bagged since Stunning Stag was claimed for $40,000 here from his fifth start on Nov. 17, 2007.

“He’s been a nice old horse,” said Attard, after watching the gelding deliver his best effort of the season in his fourth appearance and win for the first time in his fourth career try on turf. “We took our time with his this year. He was still working really good. We had this race in mind for him. I thought he didn’t mind the grass; he’s bred for it.”

Stunning Stag’s next target is the Aug. 4 Seagram, a 1 1/16-mile race for 4-year-olds and upward which offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

“That gives him more than four weeks; that’s good,” said Attard, who sent out Stunning Stag to finish second in the last two runnings of the Seagram.

Rose and Shine changing surfaces

Ralph Biamonte and Attard each have a candidate for Saturday’s $150,000 Ontario Damsel, with Rose and Shine representing the Biamonte outfit and Gravelly Bay going postward for the Attard barn in the one-mile turf stakes for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Rose and Shine, a homebred who races for Jim Sabiston, won both the 6 1/2-furlong Muskoka, which is for fillies who went through the ring at the local yearling sale, and the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth for Canadian-bred fillies in her 2-year-old campaign. But Roses and Shine has struggled this season, finishing out of the money in her three starts in stakes company, and will be trying the grass for the first time in the Ontario Damsel.

“She’s shown the signs in the last couple of weeks that she was back to what she was like that year,” said Biamonte. “She hasn’t been running well on Poly. Maybe a change will be as good as a rest.”

Gravelly Bay finished second in her first two appearances in Polytrack sprints but was moved up via a disqualification on the second occasion. In her last start, Gravelly Bay was beaten a length as the third-place finisher in a first-level allowance over seven furlongs of turf.

Last Saturday, Gravelly Bay tuned up for the Ontario Damsel with a six-furlong breeze in 1:13.

“She worked very well, and galloped out seven furlongs,” said Attard. “I think she’s going to like the mile.”

Gravelly, out of the Sovereign Award-winning broodmare Destroy, was bred by the late Mel Lawson and now races for his son, Jim Lawson. Destroy’s offspring include the multiple stakes winners Smokey Fire, Utterly Cool, and Ghost Fleet.

Smokey Fire, a 7-year-old gelding, returned from a 20-month absence to win the Grade 2 Highlander over six furlongs of turf here June 24.

Attard has nominated both Smokey Fire and the 4-year-old gelding Eternal Rule to the $150,000 Bold Venture, a 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack race here July 18.

Eternal Rule has started just five times and has yet to taste defeat, with his latest success coming in the 5 1/2-furlong Karl Boyes Memorial at Presque Isle Downs on June 20.