06/03/2011 12:37PM

Woodbine Oaks: Bear It's Time comes back quickly to try longer distance


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The La Lorgnette Stakes and the Fury Stakes, won this year by Inglorious and Roxy Gap, respectively, are the traditional stepping-stones to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks.

But trainer Reade Baker will be taking the road less traveled this year as he will send out Bear It’s Time for the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks off a victory in the seven-furlong Lady Angela for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies just two weeks ago.

Add in the fact that the Lady Angela was Bear It’s Time’s first start of the season and she may seem an unlikely candidate for success in the premier race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

But then consider that Bear It’s Time did capture the Lady Angela with élan, by a convincing 5 1/2 lengths.

Can the filly overcome the quick turnaround and the new distance?

“She didn’t do anything wrong in the last two weeks,” said Baker, who conditions Bear It’s Time for the Bear Stable of Danny Dion. “She trained fine, she ate fine. If she’d had any kind of a miscue, we wouldn’t have gone here.

“But I didn’t have time to work her, so I don’t have a barometer to tell where we’re at. So, we’re guessing.”

Baker does believe that Bear It’s Time’s bloodlines and running style fit the bill for the Woodbine Oaks.

“With her pedigree, I don’t think it will be a problem,” said Baker. “It’s all distance horses, all two turns.

“And, she’s lovely to be around, easy to do anything you want with. It won’t be any problem, getting her back.”

Luis Contreras rode Bear It’s Time in the Lady Angela but is going with Inglorious, the morning-line favorite, in the Woodbine Oaks.

That left open the door for Emma-Jayne Wilson to pick up the mount on Bear It’s Time.

“She galloped her for the first time, Thursday morning,” said Baker.

Don’t overlook Carroll’s other filly

Inglorious, trained by Josie Carroll for owners Donna and Vern Dubinsky, has been squarely in the spotlight heading into the Woodbine Oaks.

But Silver Ami also will be going postward for the Carroll barn and has been well beneath the radar.

Owned and bred by Ivan Dalos, Silver Ami won her maiden at 1 1/16 miles here in her fourth and final start at 2 and returned more than five months later to score impressively in a first-level allowance at the same distance.

“I think Silver Ami is a true route filly, and those kind of fillies are always dangerous in this race,” said Carroll.

Dalos, not surprisingly, also likes his chances.

“I think she’s got a shot,” said Dalos. “She’s made to go two turns. She’s bred to go long – the longer, the better. I’m confident she has this distance in her.”

Victorious Ami, the dam of Silver Ami, finished third for Dalos and trainer David Bell in the 2005 running of the Woodbine Oaks. Gold Strike, trained by Baker, was the winner that day.

Frostad optimistic maiden will run well in Plate Trial

Trainer Mark Frostad has won the Queen’s Plate with a maiden, sending out Scatter the Gold to turn that unlikely trick for Sam-Son Farm in 2000.

So it would perhaps be unwise to dismiss the chances of Speed Ring, a Frostad-trained maiden who will be making just his third career start for Sam-Son here in Sunday’s 1 1/8 mile Plate Trial.

Speed Ring, a son of A.P. Indy and Sam-Son’s Woodbine Oaks winner Catch the Ring, came in to the track last year but did not make it to the races.

“He was within a week of running but then he hurt himself and had some surgery done last fall,” said Frostad. “That put us quite a bit behind; we’ve been playing catch-up.”

Speed Ring wintered on the farm in Florida and then joined Frostad at Fair Grounds before beginning his trek north.

Stopping over at Keeneland, Speed Ring debuted in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on April 17 and finished a solid fourth after dueling through some testing fractions.

Four weeks later at Woodbine, Speed Ring was sent off at 4-5 as the preferred part of an entry in another 1 1/16-mile maiden race but had an uneven journey, losing touch midway through the race and then closing wide to finish third.

That performance encouraged Frostad to pursue a Queen’s Plate berth.

“He’s run two good races,” said Frostad. “He’d have to run a big race on Sunday, to be considered for the Queen’s Plate, but that’s what we’re hoping.”

Frostad had the option of running Speed Ring in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race here last weekend but opted to await the Plate Trial.

“That would have been two weeks after his last race,” said Frostad. “We chose not to run him back that quick.”

Patrick Husbands rode Speed Ring in that local bow but will be aboard Check Your Soul for trainer Roger Attfield in the Plate Trial.

Once again, Wilson was the beneficiary as she was recruited to ride Speed Ring.

Queen’s Plate candidate Oh Canada breezes

Oh Canada, who was nominated to the Plate Trial but elected to use the May 15 Marine Stakes as his final Queen’s Plate stepping-stone, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 under exercise rider Niketo Griffiths on the training track here Friday morning.

“That’s the first time between races he’s worked on the training track,” said Bob Tiller, who trains Oh Canada for owner Frank DiGiulio.

“It was just to keep him relaxed and sound, keep his muscles good and loose, keep him happy. I think it’s a better track for some horses to train on, some days. It was very good this morning.”

Oh Canada, winner of the six-furlong Woodstock in his seasonal bow but then third behind Bear’s Chill and Say No More in the seven-furlong Queenston, was stretching out for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Marine and finished third, beaten 3 1/4 lengths.

Queen’splatekitten, the three-length winner there, also is heading straight to the Plate for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Ramsammy to receive Gomez award

Emile Ramsammy, who will pilot the morning-line favorite Bear’s Chill in the Plate Trial, will be presented with the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award in a special ceremony between the second and third races here Sunday.

The Gomez Memorial, awarded annually, is for a jockey who is Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, or has ridden in this country for more than five years and has made a significant contribution to the sport.

Avelino Gomez, one of the most popular riders ever to compete in Ontario, died following a spill in the 1980 Woodbine Oaks.

A life-size statue of Gomez overlooks Woodbine’s walking ring and a miniature replica is presented to the memorial award winner.