09/20/2013 12:55PM

Woodbine notes: Ultimate Destiny eyes win on the track in Overskate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Owner-trainer Alec Fehr was a winner in the courtroom Thursday, when the Ontario Racing Commission allowed his appeal of a stewards’ decision that declared Ultimate Destiny a non-starter following his second-place finish in the Seagram Cup after the horse’s gate opened prematurely.

On Sunday, Fehr will be looking to become a winner on the racetrack when Ultimate Destiny faces seven rivals in the seven-furlong, $125,000 Overskate Stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up.

Ultimate Destiny has been money in the bank since he was purchased privately by Fehr last fall. The 4-year-old gelding finished second in his debut for Fehr in December and has banked $171,816 while winning 3 of 4 starts this year, not including the $36,000 he will pocket once the paperwork has restored Ultimate Destiny to his second-place Seagram finish.

After becoming a stakes winner in the restricted Steady Growth at 1 1/16 miles, Ultimate Destiny was beaten three-quarters of a length by Alpha Bettor after setting the pace in the Grade 3 Seagram at the same distance. Ultimate Destiny then ran second, again after finding himself on the front end in the 1 1/16-mile Elgin for products of the local yearling sale.

“He’s been doing really well,” Fehr said. “He needs a horse in front of him again, and it looks like he’ll have some speed to run at.

“I’m not concerned with the cutback.”

Ultimate Destiny has performed well over seven furlongs, having graduated at that distance last fall for trainer Mike Keogh and winning his first allowance condition for Fehr in his second appearance this year.

Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who was in the irons for Ultimate Destiny’s first three wins at the meeting, will be returning after a two-race absence.

Lawyer Dan McMahon, who represented Fehr at Thursday’s hearing, used the precedent of Fifty Proof in his appeal of the Ultimate Destiny decision.

Fifty Proof, trained by Ian Black, clearly broke through the gate at the start en route to a 4 3/4-length win in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race here July 22, 2010. The stewards did not post the inquiry sign, ruled the following day that the start had been fair, and an appeal by John LeBlanc, trainer of runner-up Peter’s Charisma, was denied at commission headquarters.

In a delicious twist of fate, Fifty Proof also is in the Overskate field.

While it would be even more fitting if the pair broke from adjacent posts, Fifty Proof drew post 1 and Ultimate Destiny will begin from the outside.

Pender Harbour cutting back

Pender Harbour had been slated to head to the Oct. 20 Bunty Lawless following his second-place finish in the Aug. 28 Elgin, but trainer Mike DePaulo has reconsidered and supplemented Pender Harbour to the Overskate.

Pender Harbour won both last year’s Elgin on Sept. 3 and the Bunty Lawless over one mile of turf Oct. 21. But the 5-year-old gelding has seen action just three times this season, as opposed to five at this point last year, and the extra time between the two stakes has become a factor.

“Instead of working him to death, we’ll take a shot,” said DePaulo, who trains Pender Harbour for Denny Andrews, Sandra Lazaruk, and Bob and Roberta Giffin.

Pender Harbour began his career as a 2-year-old with back-to-back races at seven furlongs, graduating on the latter occasion, but has not sprinted since finishing a troubled 10th in his six-furlong seasonal bow in May 2011.

“I think he’ll be fine,” DePaulo said. “I hope he’ll have enough speed to run at.”

Ontario-sired stakes on deck

Two $125,000 Ontario-sired stakes are on tap for next weekend, with the six-furlong Victorian Queen for 2-year-old fillies set for Saturday and the 1 1/16 mile Classy ’n Smart for fillies and mares going Sunday.

The $100,000 Apelia, a new six-furlong overnight stakes for fillies and mares, also is in the book for Saturday and will go if there are at least five entrants.

On Rainbow Bridge and Lexie Lou, separated by a nose as the 1-2 finishers in the Aug. 28 Muskoka before the stewards reversed those placings in a decision that is under appeal, will renew their rivalry in the Victorian Queen.

Dave Cotey trains On Rainbow Bridge, while Lexie Lou is conditioned by John Ross.

Regal Conqueror, an impressive debut winner for trainer Darwin Banach, also will attract much interest in the Victorian Queen in a short field that also should include Bear’s Pride and Lia’s Miracle.

Moonlit Beauty, winner of last year’s Classy ’n Smart but blanked in four appearances this year at age 7, will be looking to reverse her fortunes for trainer John LeBlanc in this year’s Classy ’n Smart.

Reconnect is coming off a victory in the Belle Mahone, an open 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares, and is the probable favorite for trainer Ashlee Brnjas. On Friday morning, Reconnect breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 on the training track while going in company with two stablemates under regular rider Jesse Campbell.

“We set her off about five lengths behind the other two, and she just cruised on by,” Brnjas said. “She worked great.”

Waitinginthewings, also trained by Brnjas for the Colebrook Farm of her father, John Brnjas, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 on the training track and is heading for the Classy ’n Smart.

“I would have preferred to run her in the nonwinners of three, but the race didn’t go,” Brnjas said.

Strut the Course, a 3-year-old trained by Barbara Minshall, and Bear’s Gem, a 4-year-old from the barn of Reade Baker, are other stakes winners eyeing the Classy ’n Smart.

Delegation back on work tab

Delegation breezed five furlongs in a bullet 59.60 seconds under exercise rider Jason Hoyte here Friday in his first workout since his sixth-place finish in the Pacific Classic.

“I flew him back to Churchill Downs after that and gave him a little time, let him just gallop for a while,” trainer Mark Casse said.

Delegation is slated to make his next start here in the Oct. 6 Durham Cup, a 1 1/8-mile race that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

The Kentucky-bred 4-year-old gelding, who is owned by Gary Barber, was a 9 1/4-length winner in Woodbine’s Grade 3, 1 1/4-mile Dominion Day in his start prior to the Pacific Classic.

Up With the Birds, Smartyfly tune up

Sam-Son Farm homebreds Up With the Birds and Smartyfly breezed four furlongs in 47.60, going in company for trainer Malcolm Pierce.

Regular rider Da Silva was aboard Up With the Birds, while exercise rider Chris Garraway did the honors on Smartyfly.

“It was a much better breeze for Up With the Birds this week,” Pierce said. “Last week, he was a little slow, but this week he was on the ball.

Up With the Birds has been nominated to both the Grade 1, $500,000 Jamaica at Belmont and the Grade 3, $200,000 Hawthorne Derby.

Both races are for 3-year-olds and will be run over 1 1/8 miles on turf Oct. 5.

“Once we get an idea of who’s going where, that will help us make up our minds,” Pierce said.

Smartyfly, winner of the Wonder Where when facing fellow Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles on the turf last time out, is heading for the Oct. 12 Carotene Stakes.

The $150,000 Carotene is a 1 1/8-mile turf race for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies.