06/07/2013 9:41AM

Woodbine: Pyrite Mountain, at home on Polytrack, heads Plate Trial

Michael Burns
Pyrite Mountain was a troubled fourth in a grass allowance race at Gulfstream in March, and was second in an April 13 allowance race over Keeneland’s Polytrack.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Pyrite Mountain reaffirmed his fondness for Woodbine’s Polytrack when he took the May 5 Wando Stakes from off the pace. He should be favored in Sunday’s $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes, a nine-furlong event that is restricted to 3-year-olds who are eligible for the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes on July 7.

Pyrite Mountain made two stops south of the border over the winter, after graduating second time out in the Dec. 2 Kingarvie Stakes. He finished a troubled fourth in a grass allowance race at Gulfstream in March, and was along for second after taking the long way home in an April 13 allowance race over Keeneland’s Polytrack.

“He’s doing great,” trainer Mark Frostad said. “He’s been training really well. He tries hard, and certainly handles the Poly fine. He had a brutal trip at Gulfstream. He lost a lot of ground in his race at Keeneland, but ran a pretty good race.”

Trainer Nick Gonzalez entered Midnight Aria and Grade 3 Grey Stakes winner River Seven in the Trial.

Midnight Aria, a $35,000 claim at Gulfstream, missed second by a nose to Uncaptured in the four-horse Wando, after setting the early pace. Gonzalez said Midnight Aria inherited the lead in the 1 1/16-mile event under Jesse Campbell, which wasn’t necessarily the plan.

“You love getting in those short fields, but sometimes it works to your disadvantage,” Gonzalez said. “Jesse said he found himself where he didn’t want to be, and it became a cat-and-mouse thing. When Uncaptured made that crazy first move at the five-sixteenths [pole], it screwed the whole race up, because Jesse didn’t want to start going on the chase. He’s got a long, loping stride. He’s not the kind of horse who’s going to give an accelerating kind of burst. To his credit, I was proud of the way he fought back. One little head-bob, and he noses out Uncaptured for second.”

River Seven ran evenly when he came off a seven-month break on May 11 in the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes. Gonzalez said River Seven had a setback over the winter in Florida that led to a delayed start to his 3-year-old campaign.

“We got behind the eight ball with him, and didn’t get started the way we wanted to,” Gonzalez said. “Seven-eighths of a mile isn’t his bag, but he was still fourth, beaten two lengths.”

Trainer Mark Casse entered Dynamic Sky, Jagger M, and Kaigun, but said he would likely only run two of them.

Dynamic Sky has run hot and cold since his victory in the Jan. 12 Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay. He was third as the favorite in the Queenston.

“He’s been a little disappointing,” Casse said. “He was cutting back when I threw seven-eighths at him in his last race. He made a move, and got himself in a little trouble and lost his momentum.”

Jagger M will be competing around two turns for the first time after a good closing second in the Queenston.

“He’s one of those horses who won’t go until you ask him to,” Casse said. “He’s not a real big horse. When you look at him, you wouldn’t necessarily think that he’ll go that far, but never know until you try.”

Kaigun graduated second time out when he moved out to a middle distance on May 18. He could have the most upside in the 11-horse field.

California shipper Kid Dreams has been competitive in tough allowance company for trainer Neil Drysdale.