04/14/2010 11:00PM

Woodbine roundup



Biofuel, Canada's co-champion 2-year-old filly last year, won her season debut impressively April 10 in .

Biofuel ($4.80) trailed the five-horse field heading into the turn as favored shipper Wild Forest Cat set a moderate pace in the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies. Biofuel commenced a wide rally exiting the turn under jockey Eurico Da Silva and hit the front at the eighth pole before drawing clear for a two-length win that was easier than it looked. She finished in 1:10.01 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

"She has so much power," Da Silva said. "When I asked her, she accelerated. Believe me. I had a lot more horse under me. When I've ridden her at longer distances, she's so mellow and so relaxed, but she was on the muscle the whole way. I think she was very happy when I turned her loose."

It was Biofuel's first start since her troubled fourth-place finish Nov. 6 in at Santa Anita. She was in the midst of a big rally in that race before getting sideswiped in the stretch by Negligee, who tied her in the voting for the Sovereign Award.

"She got sharp two weeks ago," trainer Reade Baker said after the Star Shoot. "She had a fast work at Palm Meadows and started to show it then. Now my job is to get her back to being mellow again for the La Lorgnette Stakes on May 23."

Baker said plans to point Biofuel for the Kentucky Oaks were scrapped when she came back from California "jarred up." She could make some noise in such races as the Grade 1 Alabama and the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks if she handles the dirt the way that she handles synthetics. Both of those stakes were won last year by a Woodbine-based horse, Careless Jewel.


Trainer Laurie Silvera and jockey Emile Ramsammy teamed to win three races during the second week of the meet (April 9-11). Silvera had five starters and is tied for second in the standings, one victory behind Steve Asmussen.

Five trainers won two races apiece - Darwin Banach, Don MacRae, Mark Fournier, Bob Tiller, and Greg de Gannes.

Ramsammy had a lucrative week, scoring on 6 of his 17 mounts. He ranks second in the jockey standings with nine wins, two behind Eurico Da Silva, who won aboard five of his 15 rides from April 9-11.

Justin Stein, who missed the opening week of the meet because of a suspension, registered 4 wins and 4 seconds from 12 mounts. Journeyman Richard Dos Ramos had 2 wins from 5 mounts.


The usually dependable Wild Forest Cat was pounded down to 4-5 in the Star Shoot Stakes off her dominating win in a Feb. 25 optional claimer at Oaklawn. After setting soft fractions, she wilted in the final furlong and finished fourth. She was the first stakes competitor at the meet for Asmussen, who was shut out with 28 starters in stakes at Woodbine in 2009.

Captain Canuck, a Queen's Plate prospect, flopped as the favorite in an April 8 maiden special weight route over Keeneland's Polytrack. He finished a lapped-on second in his only other outing at Gulfstream on the grass, which might be his preferred surface.


The Polytrack seemed to play fairly April 9-11. As usual, leaders and stalkers excelled in the shorter dashes. Two of the three longer sprints April 11 were won by front-runners in slow-paced races. Stardust Ziggy came from left field with an eye-catching rally to take the other longer sprint on that card, a seven-furlong allowance.


There is no shortage of horses with the word "bear" in their name at Woodbine, thanks to Bear Stable owner Danny Dion. One worth following is Bears Finish Line, who was fifth after a wide trip in his one-mile debut last month at Gulfstream for trainer Mike DePaulo.

"I think he's going to be a nice horse," DePaulo said. "He might jump up on the grass, although I haven't had a chance to work him on it - he's got big flat feet."

Bears Finish Line, an expensive son of Tapit, is named after the popular Finish Line Bar on Woodbine's second floor, where Dion hangs out when he's in town. Dion occasionally buys a round for the entire bar when he wins a race, but he won't have to if Bears Finish Line graduates soon, because the area of the track where the Finish Line Bar is located is being renovated.


The 151st running of the $1 million Queen's Plate, arguably Canada's most prestigious race, will be run at Woodbine on July 4. A 1 1/4-mile race restricted to Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, the Plate has been won by such standouts as Northern Dancer, Awesome Again, and Dance Smartly. My top 10 contenders for the race:

1. Hollinger: The unbeaten Queen's Plate winter-book favorite has been idle since his troubled triumph Nov. 8 in . He only recently began to work seriously at Keeneland, where he drilled five-eighths in 59 seconds on April 9.

2. Giant's Tomb: The first of three Sam-Son Farm homebreds on the list, he has five two-turn races on his resume, including a daylight score in a March 22 optional claimer at the Fair Grounds.

3. D's Wando: Finished a wide, closing third in the nine-furlong Coronation and appears to be a genuine stayer. His sire, Wando, captured the Canadian Triple Crown in 2003.

4. Hotep: He disappointed in a pair of Grade 2 stakes after his Feb. 1 allowance win at the Fair Grounds. His full brother, Eye of the Leopard, got the money in last year's Plate for Sam-Son.

5. Roan Inish: This gifted, well-traveled filly wintered at the San Luis Rey training center in Southern California and is bred to be a stayer.

6. Ghost Fleet: A two-time stakes winner, he tailed off at the end of his juvenile campaign, although he finished a close fourth in the Coronation.

7. Stormy Lord: Speedy gelding made most of the running when he ran second in the Coronation. He seems questionable over extended route distances.

8. Mobilizer: He was a prominent third when he debuted in a recent maiden special route at Keeneland for Hollinger's trainer, Roger Attfield, who holds him in high regard.

9 Mobil Unit: Turf specialist is suspect on synthetics, although he has yet to run long on Polytrack.

10. Cognashene: He came close to winning his maiden in his second start in a slow maiden special at Keeneland for his owners, Sam-Son. A son of Dynaformer and Canadian Oaks winner Catch the Ring, he might not have much potential because of his choppy stride.


Morador Llers

Trainer: Michael Pino

Last race: April 9, 9th

Finish: 2nd by 1

This Maryland invader was bumped at the break before closing strongly on the outside at a distance that's shorter than his preferred. Pino's horses have been firing on all cylinders during the early days of the meet.

Mobil the Gambler

Trainer: Richard Morden

Last race:April 11, 9th

Finish: 5th by 6 1 /2

He broke a bit slowly and was climbing heading into the turn before rallying belatedly in his season opener, after which he galloped out well. It was just his second career start, and he figures to improve with more racing experience.

Plan for Gold

Trainer: David Bell

Last race: April 9, 7th

Finish: 2nd by 2

He ran wide before closing along the inside in his debut, after which he galloped out strongly. A son of the Grade 2-winning sprinter/miler Medallist, he should appreciate stretching out to a long sprint.

Active Duty

Trainer: Mark Casse

Last race: April 11, 7th

Finish: 4th by 5

The 2008 Coronation Futurity winner, he lacked room in midstretch while tracking the leaders in his first appearance since June 21. He should move forward next out for a trainer possessing good numbers second time off a long layoff.