05/18/2012 12:02PM

Woodbine: Proud of My Roots taking stakes shot in Lady Angela


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Proud of My Roots has blossomed this spring for the barn of trainer Brian Lynch.

On Sunday, Proud of My Roots will be seeking to add a stakes-winning chapter to her heritage when she faces fellow Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies in the $125,000 Lady Angela at seven furlongs.

“This is her chance, to show us that she’s going in this direction,” said Lynch, who trains Proud of My Roots for the Ballycroy Training Centre of Steve Kemp.

Proud of My Roots, bred by Kemp in partnership with Bill Hicks, was winless in six starts at 2 but did record a pair of runner-up finishes.

During the off-season, Proud of My Roots was transferred to Lynch’s stable and started up here with his assistant Velmer Garcia.

“He gave us good reports about her progress the whole time,” said Lynch, who wintered at Palm Meadows in Florida along with his primary assistant trainer and partner, Erin Cotterill.

Lynch was still in Florida when Proud of My Roots made a winning seasonal bow in restricted maiden $25,0000 claiming company here April 6.

“We took a shot, off her form, and ran her for $25,000 first time,” said Lynch. “She didn’t surprise us, the way she’d been working.’

Proud of My Roots had prevailed from just off that pace in that five-furlong race and returned 16 days later with a front-running win in a restricted first-level allowance at seven furlongs.

“She was coming back a little quick, but she seemed to come out of her first race well, and it was only five furlongs,” said Lynch.

Lynch has been unlucky on other fronts this year, as his primary candidates for the Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate have temporarily fallen by the wayside.

Blue Heart, owned by John and Sally Amerman, had won the 1 1/16-mile Mazarine Stakes in just her second career start and went on to finish second in the Princess Elizabeth and fourth in the Ontario Lassie at the same distance.

Those efforts made her a logical long-term prospect for the Woodbine Oaks, the 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies that will be run on June 3.

“At the end of last season she had some bone bruises, and we had to give her quite a bit of time,” said Lynch, who had Blue Heart at Palm Meadows.

“We’re hoping to get an allowance race into her, and then have her ready for the Bison City.

The $250,000 Bison City, the 1 1/16-mile race that follows the Woodbine Oaks as the second leg of the triple tiara series for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be run here July 1.

Hampstead Hearth, owned by Rob Smithen, failed to reach the winner’s circle in three starts at 2 but showed serious potential with a second-place finish in the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles on turf and a third in the Coronation Futurity at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

But, while training at Palm Meadows this winter, Hampstead Heath suffered an injury that ended his Queen’s Plate hopes.

“He had a non-displaced condylar fracture in a hind leg,” said Lynch. “He had a couple of screws put in.

“Obviously he’s lost the beef of his 3-year-old season, but hopefully he’ll make it back for the fall.”

In the meantime, Lynch and Smithen will be looking to make more hay with Bay to Bay, the Florida-bred 5-year-old turf specialist who already has banked some $750,000 and has a pair of graded stakes wins on her r é sum é .

Bay to Bay has started twice this year, finishing second in both the Grade 2 Honey Fox over one mile on turf at Gulfstream and in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Keeneland.

Lynch has nominated Bay to Bay to the Grade 2, $300,000 Nassau Stakes, the one-mile turf stakes that she won here last year and will be renewed on June 2.

Bay to Bay also is under consideration for Belmont’s Grade 1, $500,000 Just A Game, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares on June 9.

Raincoats’ntuxedos headed for stakes

Raincoats’ntuxedos, trained by Abraham Katryan, could be making his next start in stakes company after an impressive front-running score in a restricted second-level allowance race at six furlongs here Wednesday night.

“We’re pointing him for the Bold Ruckus,” said trainer Abraham Katryan, meaning the $125,000, six-furlong turf stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here June 9.

Raincoats’ntuxedos, a $2,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland, was winning for the second time in three starts this season and already has banked $116,920 via an overall mark of 3-1-1 from 6 appearances.

“It’s just been a matter of him coming around,” said Katryan. “He’s tough, and he’s a little guy. Everybody calls him ‘The Midget’.

“I think he’ll be an ever better seven-eighths horse – he won’t have to push so hard early. But, I don’t think he’ll go past seven-eighths.”

Raincoatsn’tuxedos wintered in Florida along with his Katryan-trained stablemate Red Eagle, a 4-year-old gelding who will represent the barn in Monday’s $125,000 New Providence Stakes.

Red Eagle will be making his third start of the meeting in the New Providence, a six-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds and upward that attracted a field of just five.

“I think he needed his last couple,” said Katryan, who watched Red Eagle finish fourth in the restricted five-furlong Debut Stakes here opening day and then second in an open first-level allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs.

“I think this distance will suit him better. He grew. He’s a big, blocky type of horse and he’s a bit heavy. I noticed last fall, at six and seven furlongs, that he could dominate a bit.

“He’s on his game. He’s going to run a good race.”

◗ The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is conducting an online silent auction featuring four racing-related limited-edition pieces of framed artwork. Bids will be accepted until May 25. Details are available at canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com.