10/14/2011 5:38PM

Woodbine: Onetime claimers look to step up in Canadian International

Michael Burns
Kara's Orientation, with Emile Ramsammy riding, wins the Sky Classic.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - While the bluebloods will command most of the attention in the Canadian International on Sunday at Woodbine, two horses who changed hands via the claiming box will be looking to give their connections their biggest wins to date.

Kara’s Orientation, trained by Steven Chircop and owned by Max Berketa and a five-member partnership known as Pinnacle Racing, was claimed for $20,000 in May of 2010.

Laureate Conductor, trained by Mike DePaulo and owned by the Bear Stable of Danny Dion, was claimed for $62,500 this June.

The investment in Kara’s Orientation had paid off handsomely even before the 4-year-old colt became a stakes winner in the Grade 2, $250,000 Sky Classic over 1 1/4 miles on good turf here Aug. 21.

With the 1 1/2-mile Northern Dancer and the same day’s Woodbine Mile being the options for his next start, Kara’s Orientation was entered in the shorter Grade 1 turf race and faded to 11th after setting the early pace.

“He came out with some foot issues, but he’s always had them and we’re used to dealing with it,” said Chircop.

“He was only beaten seven lengths. Without them, I think he could have been right there.”

Kara’s Orientation had opened a very long and lonesome lead under rider Emile Ramsammy in the Sky Classic but held sway by a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths.

“I’m sure he’s going to be forwardly placed in this race,” said Chircop. “We’re not going to change our strategy, and the soft turf is definitely going to be to his liking.”

With Emile Ramsammy opting to stick with Celtic Conviction for the Canadian International, Rosario has picked up the mount on Kara’s Orientation.

Laureate Conductor, a 5-year-old who had won a minor turf stakes at Monmouth at age 3, remained eligible for the third-level allowance condition when he moved into his new barn.

After an unproductive opener on Polytrack in the 1 1/4-mile Dominion Day, Laureate Conductor had ended up fourth when racing in his condition over one mile of turf.

But the outlook became brighter when Laureate Conductor got to stretch his legs in the Northern Dancer, as he finished fourth, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths.

“He ran a good race in the Northern Dancer,” said DePaulo. “He got carried wide in the first turn, and might have lost his chance for another position.

“But he was running on end, and galloped out good. I don’t think soft turf would bother him; he’s a real stayer.”

Leading rider Luis Contreras, who had won aboard Laureate Conductor on the day he was claimed, has regained the mount for the Canadian International.