08/03/2013 12:59PM

Woodbine: Phil’s Dream stepping up to stakes level in Shepperton

Michael Burns
Phil’s Dream had a year and a half off because he showed signs of a bowed tendon.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Lost in the hoopla surrounding the July 7 Queen’s Plate was a sharp-looking allowance score by Phil’s Dream, who makes his stakes debut Monday at Woodbine in the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton.

The Shepperton is one of two $125,000 Ontario-sired stakes on the civic holiday card, along with the Eternal Search, a 1 1/16-mile route for 3-year-old fillies.

Phil’s Dream went to the sidelines after graduating in his fourth start, in July 2011. After ending up second in his April 26 comeback, he won three straight allowances, two against Ontario-sired runners and then the July 7 open first-level event.

Trainer Paul Buttigieg said he gave Phil’s Dream a year and a half off, because the horse showed signs of a bowed tendon.

“I gave him the time, and he’s 100 percent,” said Buttigieg.

Buttigieg said he is confident that Phil’s Dream will keep on firing in the Shepperton.

“He’s been training awfully good,” Buttigieg explained. “He keeps getting better and better. He doesn’t care about the distance. He’s kind to rate. You can do anything with him. They’re going to have to run to beat him.”

The Mark Casse-trained veteran Paso Doble is dropping out of the Grade 3 Bold Venture Stakes, in which he ran evenly on the outside for third, over an inside-biased track.

Paso Doble captured the 2011 Shepperton, but then never won another stakes until this past May 20, when he beat a weak field in the New Providence.

The struggling Fifty Proof was supplemented for $2,500 by trainer Ian Black. The 7-year-old Fifty Proof is turning back to run in a sprint for the first time since his victory in a seven-furlong optional claimer in April 2011.

Laughing Falcon trying second turn

Laughing Falcon will try to remain unbeaten in her first race around two turns in the Eternal Search.

Laughing Falcon won her six-furlong debut on the Polytrack on June 15, and then doubled up in a six-furlong allowance on grass. She made her third start in a month July 13 in the restricted Passing Mood Stakes. She put away a rival on the lead in that seven-furlong turf sprint, en route to a three-quarter-length tally.

Trainer Bob Tiller said he isn’t committed to running Laughing Falcon on Monday.

“We’re going to have a look at the race,” Tiller explained. “There’s nowhere else to run her. This is Ontario-sired, but I’m certainly concerned about going two turns with her. She’s got heart.”

Strut the Course looks to be a serious contender off her closing third in the Bison City Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile test for Canadian-breds.

Trainer Barb Minshall said Strut the Course bled when she ran fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the May 25 Lady Angela Stakes, and then had a little time off before going back into training for the Bison City.

Dancing Bay was a fast-closing third in the Passing Mood, in her first outing in eight months. She is sent out by hot stakes trainer Brian Lynch.