09/27/2013 11:15AM

Woodbine: Reconnect seeks favorable pace in Classy ’n Smart

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Michael Burns
Reconnect, who won the Belle Mahone Aug. 25, will face ostensibly easier opposition in the $125,000 Classy ’n Smart Stakes for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Reconnect rallied to register a major upset over multiple open stakes winner Sisterly Love here in the 1 1/16-mile Belle Mahone on Aug. 25.

On Sunday, Reconnect will travel the same distance but face ostensibly easier opposition in the $125,000 Classy ’n Smart Stakes for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

“She just needs something to run at,” said Ashlee Brnjas, who trains the homebred 5-year-old for the Colebrook Farms of her father, John Brnjas. “That last race set up for her perfectly.”

Jesse Campbell retains the mount on Reconnect and will be looking for another favorable pace scenario, which is not certain to materialize.

Moonlit Beauty, who left Reconnect in third place when wiring last year’s Classy ’n Smart, has struggled this year at age 7 but could get brave if left alone on the front end.

“We’ve had some bad trips and run in some tough spots this year,” said John LeBlanc, who trains the homebred Moonlit Beauty for Bill Gierkink. “But the filly’s still doing well. We’re back in our category; we’ll have to see how it unfolds.”

Moonlit Beauty opened her 2013 campaign with a ninth-place finish in the six-furlong Ballade.

After rebounding with a fourth-place finish in the Zadracarta, a restricted seven-furlong turf race that she had won in 2010, Moonlit Beauty returned more than six weeks later with an eye toward defending her title in the restricted Victoriana over 1 1/16 miles of turf.

Moonlit Beauty seemed to be moving well along the rail on the far turn there but was squeezed back and faltered to finish ninth.

In her subsequent start, which came in the Belle Mahone, Moonlit Beauty set a solid pace but weakened to finish last of six in her first try under returning rider David Moran.

“That was very tough competition, and because of circumstances she maybe was a little short,” LeBlanc said. “She had such a troubled trip in the Victoriana that she didn’t get much out of it.”

Bear’s Gem, who became a stakes winner in the Ballade, is coming off a third-place finish behind older rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Algoma, a Polytrack stakes for fillies and mares.

Prior to that, Bear’s Gem was eighth in the Zadracarta and then finished in a dead heat for second in the Victoriana.

“I don’t think she’s a turf horse, even though she ran very well on it and didn’t have perfect trips either time,” said Reade Baker, who trains the 4-year-old Bear’s Gem for the Bear Stables of Danny Dion. “So, I’m happy the way she’s progressing.”

Patrick Husbands, who guided Bear’s Gem to two of her four straight wins last year, regains the mount from Emma-Jayne Wilson, who will be starting a three-day suspension Sunday.

Also entered in the Classy ’n Smart are stakes winners It’s Gail and I’m a Kittyhawk plus Hurricane Lorraine, Lynnessa, Queenstown, Rock’s Sweet Thing, Silent Star, and Waitinginthewings.

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