05/27/2011 12:06PM

Woodbine: Raging Star gets his due


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Raging Star entered his 2010 campaign as a winner of one race and less than $25,000 but exploded with a solid season, compiling a record of 4-3-0 from 12 starts for earnings of $86,298. Those accomplishments will be recognized on June 19 when Raging Star is honored as the claimer of the year at the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club’s annual awards day here at Woodbine.

“Beautiful,” said Nick Nosowenko, owner and trainer of Raging Star, when informed of the racing club’s decision on Friday morning. “He’s a nice, honest horse. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He’s the superstar, we call him.”

That was not always the case with Raging Star, a 5-year-old gelding who was acquired by Nosowenko from one of his clients, December Hill Farm.

“He was a nervous, stall-walking horse,” said Nosowenko. “He’d foundered as a baby, and they didn’t think he was going to make it as a racehorse. But he looked like a nice horse, either as a riding horse or as a racehorse. We just took our time with him. He’s always worked brilliantly, and shown a lot of talent.”

Nosowenko credits groom Mike Cooke, who has been with Raging Star since day one at the racetrack, with a big assist in the horse’s development.

“Mike’s done a lot with him, and shown a lot of patience,” said Nosowenko.

Raging Star won out his conditions here last summer while running for claiming prices of $19,000 and later added wins in open races when tagged for $19,000 and $23,500. And the success story is adding new chapters this season, as Raging Star already has banked $54,871 from four outings.

Since starting off here opening weekend with a first-level allowance win, Raging Star has finished fourth while competing under second-level allowance terms in a $62,500 optional claimer, third when racing for the $60,000 claiming price in the same condition, and a close second on Wednesday night when in for $50,000.

“He loves to run,” said Nosowenko. “You either have to work him under a stranglehold, and he’ll still go in 59, or let him race. “He got caught behind some slow fractions on Wednesday, and was a little too far back. But, he thinks he won. He’s a happy horse. He’s like a pony now.”

Nosowenko, 49, started out here six years ago training for himself and his father, Mike Nosowenko, but has adding clients through the years and is in the market for more.

The tenants of his 12 stalls here include horses owned by Parrish Hill Farm and December Hill Farm of Kentucky, Joe Gattellaro, and Richard Wall.

In addition to Raging Star, Nosowenko’s best horses to date also have included the stakes-placed Tamara, Catch the Fever, and Black Bikini.

Check Your Soul has solid Trial work

Check Your Soul, one of the leading candidates for next Sunday’s Plate Trial, breezed six furlongs in 1:15.20 here Friday morning. Working under jockey Patrick Husbands, Check Your Soul went in company with Mekong Melody, who was clocked in the same time under Jono Jones.

“It went well,” said Attfield. “Everybody’s happy.”

Check Your Soul, a homebred who races for Charles Fipke, won the 1 1/16 mile Wando Stakes in his local debut and will be stretching out to 1 1/8 miles in the $150,000 Plate Trial.

The $1 million Queen’s Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run here June 26.

Mekong Melody, runner-up to her stablemate Miss Keller in the Sovereign Award balloting for champion female turf horse of 2010, is on target to make her seasonal debut here in next Saturday’s Nassau Stakes.

The Nassau, which offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $300,000, is the first scheduled turf stakes for fillies and mares at the Woodbine meeting.

Marketing Mix breezes for Oaks

Marketing Mix, who is based at Churchill Downs with trainer Tom Proctor, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 over good going there on Friday morning in preparation for next Sunday’s Woodbine Oaks.

“She just went a nice five-eighths, after the break, and we let her gallop out,” said Proctor.

Marketing Mix has raced just three times, winning her maiden over 6 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland in her second outing and then rallying to finish second, beaten a half-length by the favored Roxy Gap, in the seven-furlong Fury here April 30.

Emma-Jayne Wilson rode Marketing Mix that day, but Proctor said that Jose Lezcano, who was aboard the filly for her first two starts, has the call for the Woodbine Oaks.

The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, a 1/8 mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be Marketing Mix’s first try around two turns.

“I think it should suit her better,” said Proctor, adding that Marketing Mix is scheduled to leave Louisville on Monday morning. “We’ll see.”

Spooky’s Kitten in new barn

Lezcano is one of three jockeys based south of the border who had mounts in the Woodbine Oaks as of Friday morning.

Javier Castellano has the call on Abrianna, who is trained by Roger Attfield, while Edgar Prado has picked up the mount on Spooky’s Kitten, who is trained by Mark Casse.

Formerly owned and trained by Dale Romans, Spooky’s Kitten ran under Casse’s name when she made her local bow here in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette and since has been sold privately to New York-based owner Roddy Valente. Spooky’s Kitten was not nominated to the Woodbine Oaks and will have to be supplemented at a cost of $12,500 by the time the entry box closes at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Enduring Star behind schedule

Casse also has Roxy Gap on target for the Woodbine Oaks, but Enduring Star, who had been penciled in for the Plate Trial, may not make the race. Enduring Star, who was Plate Trial-bound after winning his maiden over 1 1/16 miles here April 23, has had a minor setback that could put paid to his chances of participating.

“He’s been a little under the weather,” said Casse, who trains Enduring Star for West Point Thoroughbreds. “He spiked a temperature, and his blood count was pretty high. “He’s over it, but I’m just not sure if I’ll run him in the Plate Trial, go straight to the Plate, or wait for the Prince of Wales.”

The $500,000 Prince of Wales, which follows the Queen’s Plate as the second leg of Canada’s triple crown, will be run over 1 3/16 miles on dirt at Fort Erie on July 17.