06/20/2013 12:33PM

Woodbine: Pender Harbour returns from long break in King Edward

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Pender Harbour has been one of the most consistent horses on the grounds through his three campaigns, winning a total of seven stakes while racing on turf and Polytrack here at Woodbine and on the dirt at Fort Erie.

On Sunday, Pender Harbour will be making his first appearance as a 5-year-old and is returning from an eight-month layoff for trainer Mike DePaulo in the Grade 2, $600,000 King Edward Stakes at one mile on turf.

“He’s doing good,” said DePaulo, who trains Pender Harbour for Denny Andrews, Sandra Lazaruk, and Bob and Roberta Giffin. “He’s a little behind. He probably could have used another work. But we need to get him started, and he’s such a tough son of a buck that maybe he can pick up a piece of it.”

Pender Harbour had won Fort Erie’s Prince of Wales at 1 3/16 miles and the Breeders’ here at 1 1/2 miles on the turf while earning $840,400 en route to a Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion 3-year-old.

And while his three stakes wins last year came in restricted company, the Ontario-sired Pender Harbour was highly competitive in graded stakes on both turf and Polytrack while banking $328,000 from eight starts.

That campaign ended ahead of schedule following Pender Harbour’s victory in the Bunty Lawless over one mile of turf here Oct. 21.

“He just wasn’t perfect in behind,” DePaulo said. “We were exploring that and took a little chip out of his ankle.”

After wintering at Gail Wood’s Woodlands Farm, Pender Harbour returned to the track in mid-April and has been slowly gearing up for his return.

In his final King Edward prep, Pender Harbour breezed six furlongs on the main track here Monday in 1:16.20 under Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who will be aboard under racing conditions for the first time in the King Edward.

Luis Contreras, Pender Harbour’s regular rider, has the call on Prospective for trainer Mark Casse, who also has entered Lockout in the King Edward.

Riding the River, last year’s champion male turf horse, heads the field of nine for the King Edward, which also includes Hotep, Valentino Beauty, Incredicat, Any Given Royal, and So Long George.

Silent Yet Deadly tries to strengthen Queen’s Plate credentials

Silent Yet Deadly, a newcomer to the DePaulo barn, will be making his third career start and first around two turns in Saturday’s fourth race. The open 1 1/16-mile, first-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up attracted a field of six.

A troubled seventh in his six-furlong debut here last December for trainer Pat Parente, Silent Yet Deadly returned to score gamely at 6 1/2 furlongs June 1, with both starts coming in Ontario-sired maiden company.

Shortly thereafter, Silent Yet Deadly was purchased by Danny Dion’s Bear Stable and turned over to DePaulo with an eye toward the July 7 Queen’s Plate. He currently is not nominated for the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate and would have to be supplemented to that $1 million race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds at a cost of $25,000.

“I’ll see how he runs in the two turns,” DePaulo said. “I really can’t say. I haven’t had him long enough.

“I breezed him once, five-eighths, and he breezed well.”

That workout came over the main track here last Sunday, and Silent Yet Deadly was clocked in 1:01.40.

No Explaining comes out of retirement

No Explaining, who has been off since July 31, 2011, will be returning to action for trainer Roger Attfield in Saturday’s sixth race.

The 6-year-old No Explaining, bred in Ireland, is eligible for the second-level optional $62,500 race at 1 1/8 miles on the turf under the nonwinners of a race in 2012-13 clause.

“She was retired and went to be a broodmare,” said Attfield, who trains No Explaining for Dick Bonnycastle’s Harlequin Ranches. “I believe she had colic and didn’t get bred, so they sent her back to me. She came to me at Payson Park, just a little bit before Keeneland.”

No Explaining, who has made all of her starts on turf, became a stakes winner in Pimlico’s Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Gallorette in her most recent campaign. She also finished third in three stakes: Saratoga’s Grade 3 Lake George at 1 1/16 miles, the one-mile Ontario Colleen here, and the 1 1/16-mile Valleyview at Keeneland.

“She’s only just getting ready to run,” Attfield said. “It takes a little time, especially with a little stocky filly like her. She’s really doing well now.

“She really likes some give in the ground. That’s why they stopped on her. It was jarring her up, running on hard ground too much.”

Rider’s first win comes on 22-1 longshot

It took apprentice jockey Nick Webb 39 tries to win his first career race.

But when Webb broke through, he did it in style, rallying from well off the pace and getting up in the shadow of the wire to score with 22-1 Niigon’s Princess in a one-mile turf race here Wednesday night.

“It felt great,” said Webb, 25, after training hours here Thursday morning. “It’s nice to get it off my back, that’s for sure.”

Webb, born and raised in Fort Erie, first came to the racetrack there when he was 16 years old.

“I started walking horses in the summertime” Webb said. “I left for a while, but then I came back and worked in the jockeys’ room.

“I came up to Woodbine around four years ago. I decided I wanted to learn to ride.”

Webb galloped horses here for trainers, including Brian Lynch and Lorne Richards, while spending recent winters working for Christophe Clement and Attfield at Payson Park.

Beginning his career last fall, Webb had five mounts here and two at Fort Erie before heading south. All of his rides this year have come at Woodbine.

Webb switched agents recently and is represented by Tony Esposito, who also books mounts for leading rider Luis Contreras.

Five-furlong breezes by Queen’s Plate prospects

Midnight Aria and River Seven, both of whom are eyeing the Queen’s Plate, breezed five furlongs in company on the training track here Thursday morning.

Exercise rider Darren Fortune rode Midnight Aria, while Chris Griffith was aboard River Seven.

“I had River sit behind, like I usually do,” said Martha Gonzalez, wife and assistant to Nick Gonzalez, who trains Midnight Aria and River Seven. “The other horse likes running in front like that, too. He’s kind of game that way.”

Midnight Aria was clocked in 1:00.80, and River Seven in 1:00.60.

“They got right alongside each other, and they galloped out three-quarters in 1:13,” Gonzalez said. “I was pleased.”

Midnight Aria and River Seven both saw action in the June 9 Plate Trial, with Midnight Aria finishing third after setting the pace and River Seven eighth but beaten just 6 1/2 lengths after stumbling badly at the start of that 1 1/8-mile race.