10/24/2012 12:44PM

Woodbine: Pierce prepared for Polytrack or turf in River Memories

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Michael Burns
Magic Broomstick will run only if Saturday's River Memories remains on the grass.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – They will run four stakes here at Woodbine this weekend, and Malcolm Pierce, trainer for Sam-Son Farm, has a shot at taking home the top prize in three of them.

For Saturday, Pierce has entered both Magic Broomstick and Forest Uproar in the $100,000 River Memories, a one-mile overnight turf stakes for fillies and mares.

Sunday, Pierce plans to be represented by Smartyfly in the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles and by Hotep in the $100,000 Labeeb, an overnight stakes for 3-year-olds and upward scheduled for one mile of turf.

Four of the last five runnings of the River Memories have been contested over yielding or soft surfaces, with the two prior to those having been moved to the main track.

Pierce, however, believes he has the surface aspect covered.

“Magic Broomstick would run only on turf,” said the trainer. “If it comes off, I’ll run Forest Uproar.”

Magic Broomstick has seen action just once this year, returning from an 11-month absence to win the Avowal Stakes over seven furlongs of firm turf here Sept. 30.

“This gives her about a month between races, and she’s doing really well,” said Pierce, who likes to give his horses a decent break between appearances. “She had a nice little breeze last weekend.”

If the River Memories does move to the Polytrack, then Magic Broomstick will await the Nov. 25 River City Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs which offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $100,000.

“She’s going to the breeding shed in January, probably,” said Pierce.

Forest Uproar traveled to Illinois for her last start and finished fifth, beaten 3 3/4 lengths, in the $100,000 Indian Maid Stakes over 1 1/16 miles of turf.

“It wasn’t too bad of a race,” said Pierce. “It ended up there were some decent fillies in there.”

Emma-Jayne Wilson has been named on both Magic Broomstick and Forest Uproar for the River Memories, which drew a field of 13.

All Star Heart, coming off an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor in which she was beaten just 3 3/4 lengths, looms as the probable choice with the others entered being Indian Pond and Silent Moon, both conditioned by Mark Casse; Azameera and Chokurei, both trained by Mark Frostad; and Dixie Chicken, Lode Lady, My Perfect Ten, Nikkis Bold Gelato, Poetic Kid, and Tee Game.

Polytrack or turf fine for Hotep

There also is the prospect of the Labeeb being moved to the main track, but Pierce would not let that stop him from running Hotep.

“He’d go on either surface,” said Pierce.

Hotep competed on the same Oct. 6 program as Forest Uproar, closing to be beaten 1 3/4 lengths as the fourth-place finisher in the $100,000 Robert Carey Memorial over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

“He didn’t go too bad, either,” said Pierce. “He’s still in good form, for this late in the year.”

Smartyfly, a homebred who finished second in her only start, will be stretching out to 1 1/16 miles for the Princess Elizabeth, which is for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies.

A daughter of Smart Strike and Scarlet Butterfly, Smartyfly was well-backed when debuting over seven furlongs here Sept. 7 and rallied from just off the pace to be beaten a nose.

On Oct. 13, Smartfly was entered back in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race as part of a Sam-Son Farm entry with Tizgone, who wound up finishing a distant second as the barn’s only representative.

“I’d decided the scratch Smartlyfly,” said Pierce.“I said ‘Let’s take a shot at the Princess Elizabeth.’ She’s been training well, and I think she’ll like the two turns.”

Nipissing, a winner at seven furlongs in each of her two starts to date, both at seven furlongs, with the latest coming in an open first-level allowance, is looming as the probable favorite for the Princess Elizabeth.

On Wednesday, trainer Rachel Halden sent out Nipissing to breeze four furlongs in 48 seconds on the main track.

Regular rider Steven Bahen was aboard for the drill, which was the fastest of 22 at the distance.

Pierce pair eye Fair Grounds stakes

Pierce will be making his annual pilgrimage to Fair Grounds next month and the Sam-Son 3-year-olds Aldous Snow and Part the Seas should make their last starts of the season there before heading on to Ocala for some time off.

Both homebreds have run well in turf stakes here this year without finding the charmed circle, as Aldous Snow finished second in both the Breeders’ and Halton stakes and Part the Sea ended the runner-up in the Ontario Damsel and the Carotene.

Pierce is aiming Aldous Snow for the Nov. 23 Woodchopper, an about one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, and Part the Seas for the Nov. 24 Pago Hop, for 3-year-old fillies over the same distance and surface. Both are worth $75,000.

Trend goes in Keeneland allowance

Trend, who had been nominated to the Labeeb, has been entered in a second-level allowance race over one mile of turf at Keeneland on Friday.

Trained by Mark Frostad, Trend finished second in two one-mile turf stakes at Gulfstream last winter and will be making his first start since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 King Edward at one mile on the turf here June 24, his only appearance at the meeting.

Any Given Royal, coming off a second-place finish here in the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby, will be facing older horses in a second division of that turf allowance.

Trained by Brian Lynch, Any Given Royal won his maiden and doubled up in the Ontario Derby prep at 1 1/16 miles on the main track here this summer.

◗ Saturday’s card will begin at 12:30 p.m. and nine races rather than the usual 10 will be offered with the finale set to go postward at 4:42 p.m. The changes have been made to accommodate Saturday night’s Breeders Crown harness program here at Woodbine, which starts at 6:30 p.m.

◗ Jim Mazur will be hosting a Breeders’ Cup seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand. Attendees will receive a copy of Mazur’s “The Crushing Zone.” Pre-registration is available at WoodbineEntertainment.com/seminars.