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Updated on 09/27/2011 4:04PM
Woodbine: Pair of juveniles impressive
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Somewhat lost amid the stakes excitement here last weekend were solid performances by the 2-year-olds Courtville and Prince Raphael.
Courtville, a gelding owned and trained by Laurie Silvera, was a two-length winner of an Ontario-sired maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs on Sunday.
Prince Raphael, a colt owned by Oslen and Cristina Belle and trained by Debbie England, made his exit from the maiden ranks with a 6 3/4-length score over seven furlongs on Saturday.
Courtville also had finished first in his only previous start, which came in open company at five furlongs here Aug. 14, but had his number taken down and was placed second.
Menlo Castle, who inherited the win, came back to romp in the 6 1/2-furlong Simcoe, a yearling sales stakes to which Courtville also had been nominated/
“He got a virus, the morning after he won and was disqualified,” said Silvera. “I have to think he was harboring the virus going into that first race.
“I treated him for a week, before he got back to work.”
Courtville was entered back in a restricted maiden race at six furlongs here Sept. 10 but was a vet scratch.
“I wasn’t happy with his progress, coming back from the virus,” said Silvera.
All doubts were put to rest here Sunday, however, as Courtville stalked the pace under returning rider Omar Moreno and rallied powerfully for the going-away score.
“He sort of lived up to expectations, as far as I’m concerned,” said Silvera.
“I wasn’t surprised, but I was pleased with the way he did it. “He could have won by a couple of lengths, being caught or something, and he wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive.
“I thought he was a good horse; that’s why I entered him in open company first time.”
All remaining well, Courtville will be back in action for the $125,000 Bull Page, a six-furlong race for a Ontario-sired colts and geldings here Oct. 10.
Cup and Saucer next for the Prince
Prince Raphael was making his second career appearance after racing evenly to finish third in a six-furlong turf race here Aug. 28.
Last Saturday, with rider Richard Dos Ramos returning in the irons, Prince Raphael stalked the pace and then took charge for a dominant victory in a race that had been taken off the turf.
“Rick got off him and said the horse didn’t have the faintest idea about what he was doing – he just did it because he asked him to,” said England.
The $250,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds here Oct. 15, should be next on Prince Raphael’s schedule.
“He might be special,” said England. “He seems to run on anything.
“It’s nice to have one like him in the barn.”
Attard happy with solid second
Anne’s Beauty couldn’t run down a loose-on-the-lead Smart Sting in last Sunday’s Grade 3 Selene, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, but did outfinish the favored Inglorious for second money.
And Paul Attard, who trains the Kentucky-bred Anne’s Beauty for owner Robert Smithen, had no complaints about her performance.
“I thought she ran very well,” said Attard. “She dug in hard to get second money. I was proud of her. She’s a gutsy filly.
“But, I do think she likes one turn better than two. She seems to lose ground on the second turn; she did the same thing in the La Lorgnette.”
Anne’s Beauty had finished second to Inglorious in the 1 1/16 mile La Lorgnette, which was her only previous try around two turns. Before the Selene, Anne’s Beauty won the Duchess over seven furlongs on Polytrack and the one-mile Ontario Colleen on Woodbine’s 1 1/2-mile turf course.
Smithen and Attard earlier had mentioned Keeneland’s Oct. 22 Raven Run, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies which offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $250,000, as a possible spot for Anne’s Beauty’s next start.
“It’s still up in the air,” said Attard. “There’s a race at Churchill for her, too, or it’s possible we’ll just give her the rest of the year off.”
The Churchill race is the Grade 2, $175,000 Mrs. Revere, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies run on Nov. 12.
In the meantime, Attard and Smithen hope to be represented in Wednesday evening’s $125,000 Classy n’ Smart, with Clear Lake on target for that 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.
Clear Lake, a 5-year-old, is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Sept. 5 Algoma, a 1 1/16-mile yearling sales stakes in which she was beaten 2 1/2 lengths.
“I don’t think being on the rail helped, but it was just the trip she got,” said Attard. “She might have needed that race, too. She had a long time between races.”
Clear Lake was making just her fourth start of the season and her first since June 18 in the Algoma.
Classy ‘n Smart picture unclear
Bear It’s Time, winner of the 1 1/16-mile Bison City for Canadian-bred fillies here Aug. 20, is looming as the leading candidate for the Classy ‘n Smart, and trainer Reade Baker has given Emma-Jayne Wilson the call.
But with eight of the Classy ‘n Smart nominees also nominated to Sunday’s Carotene and another pair to Saturday’s $100,000 Avowal, the final composition of the field is difficult to gauge.
The $150,000 Carotene is a 1 1/8-mile turf race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies, while the Avowal is an open overnight turf stakes for fillies and mares which will require a field of at least five to be carded.
L’Avenue is one of the fillies nominated to both the Classy ‘n Smart and the Carotene but her trainer Mike Mattine has stated his intentions.
“She’ll run in the Carotene,” said Mattine, who traons L’Avenue for owner Ted Burnett.
“She finished a good third last time, in the La Prevoyante, at a mile. She’s taken a liking to the grass. Now, we’ll have to see if she can get this distance.”L’Avenue showed little in her first two starts in restricted maiden races and continued to disappoint when lowered to the $25,000 claiming range while still facing Ontario-sired company.But L’Avenue came to life when stretching out to 1 1/16 miles and leading throughout another $25,000 race here July 6 and then doubled up in a first-level restricted allowance race over one mile of turf on July 30 in her start before the La Prevoyante.“She was a little slow to come around, but once we got her to go two turns she settled down and she really started developing,” said Mattine.