09/20/2013 10:59AM

Woodbine: Phil’s Dream, Ultimate Destiny go up against two champions in Overskate

Michael Burns
Phil’s Dream, who won an optional claiming race (above) on Sept. 1, has missed the top two only once in six starts since returning from a 22-month absence in April.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Phil’s Dream will take another crack at Ontario-sired stakes company Sunday at Woodbine in the $125,000 Overskate Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint that lured seven other runners.

Phil’s Dream, a 5-year-old owned and trained by Paul Buttigieg, has missed the top two only once in six starts since returning from a 22-month absence in April.

“He tried to bow (a tendon) as a 3-year-old,” Buttigieg recalled. “I gave him a year off and it did the job. It healed completely.”

Phil’s Dream won three consecutive allowances earlier in the meet, including an open first-level race July 7, when he registered an 89 Beyer Speed Figure.

Buttigieg felt that Phil’s Dream had worked too slowly prior to his flat fourth Aug. 5 in the Shepperton Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong event for Ontario-sired stock. He rebounded nicely Sept. 1 in a six-furlong optional claimer, which he won by daylight with another 89 Beyer.

“He came back to work (five-eighths) in 58, and he won,” said Buttigieg. He worked in a minute the other day. He’s perfect. We don’t have to go to the lead with him.”

Buttigieg had hoped for an outside post, but Phil’s Dream drew post 2. He will have Justin Stein in the irons.

Ultimate Destiny has had a fruitful campaign for owner and trainer Alec Fehr, who bought him privately last fall.

Ultimate Destiny captured two Ontario-sired allowance sprints in May before taking the restricted Steady Growth Stakes going 1 1/16 miles June 15. He finished second in both the Seagram Cup and Elgin Stakes in August, but was declared a non-starter by the stewards in the former race because his gate opened a split second before the others. That placing in the Grade 3 Seagram was restored Thursday after an appeal by Fehr to the Ontario Racing Commission.

Pender Harbour and Fifty Proof, two champions who have seen better days, are in the lineup.

Pender Harbour, who was supplemented for $2,500, was Canada’s champion 3-year-old male in 2011, when he swept two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown: the Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes. He had another productive season in 2012, but the millionaire is winless in three outings this year.

The Ian Black-trained Fifty Proof was Canada’s champion older male runner in 2011. He has failed hit the board in six starts since his victory in the restricted Sir Barton Stakes here Dec. 2, which came after an extended layoff.

Completing the field are Spirit Warnings, Seeley’s Bay, Urban Forester, and supplement Courtville.