06/18/2012 12:36PM

Woodbine: River Lemon targets end to drought on turf


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Stakes-placed horses River Lemon and Thundering Waters will take center stage Wednesday night at Woodbine in the third race, a $40,000 conditioned claimer scheduled for nine furlongs on the grass.

River Lemon went to the sidelines for 8 1/2 months after finishing a close third in last year’s Toronto Cup Stakes. He checked in fifth after a troubled break when he came off the shelf March 31 at Gulfstream, but a subsequent performance there in another allowance was forgettable.

River Lemon was favored here May 23, in a $40,000 claimer for nonwinners of three. After racing at the rear of a large field, he made a wide bid on the turn en route to running second to a peaking Apres Midi.

Luis Contreras, who won three races Sunday, will ride River Lemon again for trainer Brian Lynch.

Thundering Waters finished just a neck behind River Lemon when fifth in the 2011 Toronto Cup, which came on the heels of a third-place finish in the Charlie Barley Stakes. He has struggled, however, since capturing a difficult allowance here last August.

Thundering Waters finished far back in an optional claimer early in the Gulfstream meet. His return from a winter break here May 26 wasn’t much better, when he tried to mount a wide bid before flattening out.

Patrick Husbands inherits the mount from Contreras on the Mark Casse-trained Thundering Waters.

The other turf event on the card, the fourth, is a wide-open $50,000 route for fillies and mares.

Clementis, Alamanda Drive, and Venganza filled out the top three positions in a $40,000 claimer going a mile on the turf May 21.

The versatile Clementis notched her fourth career victory that day at 13-1, while earning a career-high 72 Beyer Speed Figure in her second start of the season.

Alamanda Drive set a lively pace before giving way late May 21. She came back to run a stinker at Penn National, after failing to secure her preferred position on the front end.

Venganza closed from midpack for second as a 78-1 outsider in her first appearance of the year May 21. The highlight of her career was a third-place finish in the 2009 La Prevoyante Stakes.

Tee Game, another stakes-placed mare, is cheapening up for her first outing in nearly seven months. Her trainer, Sam DiPasquale, has superb numbers with six-month-plus comebackers.

Stage Trip only got a 62 Beyer when she won a first-level allowance that was taken off the turf June 2.