07/15/2010 12:00AM

Woodbine roundup

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WHO'S HOT

As track announcer Dan Loiselle noted, Plymouth Bay's triumph in the ninth race July 10 was the fourth winner on the card sired by two-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Milwaukee Brew, who was moved to Gardiner Farm in Ontario last fall. Milwaukee Brew could be a force on the local scene for years to come when his Ontario-sired progeny make it to the races.

Chantal Sutherland led all jockeys with seven wins during the four days of racing from July 7-11. Eurico Da Silva and apprentice Omar Moreno both registered five scores during the week. Da Silva had a 65-64 lead over Patrick Husbands, and Sutherland sat alone in third in the standings with 60 wins.

Three trainers had three wins apiece from July 7-11: Brian Lynch (3 for 6), Malcolm Pierce (3 for 5), and Roger Attfield (3 for 8). Michael Pino won with both of his starters and was an impressive 12 for 28 at the meet (43 percent).

TRACK TRENDS

Saturday, July 10: The outside was preferred. The only Polytrack winner who raced near the inside was the heavily favored Platinum Exchange in the eighth. Among those who raced inside were Shukriya, Count Floyd, and Miss Lola.

BETTOR VALUE

Those who bet on simulcasts through Woodbine recently began to get a better return when cashing on the pick four, pick five, pick six, and super high five wagers. Woodbine is now matching the host track's takeout on these wagers.

If you hit the late pick four March 5 at Santa Anita, which paid $22,106, Woodbine scooped $1,344 or approximately 6 percent. On such a wager now, the full amount would be paid out.

Expect Woodbine to make more takeout-friendly moves in the not-too-distant future, hopefully on live racing.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

Barracks Road held off 2-5 favorite Somme in the stretch to win her first stakes July 10 in the $150,000 Ontario Damsel.

With Corey Fraser riding for trainer Mark Casse, Barracks Road vied up front with longshot Amiable Grace through a slow opening quarter in 24.47 in the one-mile turf event. Barracks Road assumed command through a half in 47.87 and then opened up about a three-length lead at the head of the stretch en route to a three-quarter-length score in 1:35.42.

Barracks Road's three-race campaign this year is an excellent illustration of the bounce/rebound angle that works so well at Woodbine. She looked like a world-beater when she won her maiden in her season opener but then finished a flat sixth behind Somme in the Alywow Stakes. She benefited from a good trip in the Damsel to score at 3-1, a generous price when you consider the five-horse field included two maidens.

Free Fee Lady, at 15-1 the longest shot in the four-horse field, won the $250,000 Bison City Stakes on July 11, the second leg of the Canadian triple tiara, a series for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Free Fee Lady raced in third on the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile event as 1-10 favorite Embur's Song set fast fractions. Free Fee Lady commenced a wide rally on the far turn under Emma Wilson and hit the front at the three-sixteenths pole before drawing off to prevail by four lengths. Her time of 1:44.02 translated into a 92 Beyer Figure.

It was just the third start and the first around two turns for Free Fee Lady, who is trained by Reade Baker for Harlequin Ranches.

PRINCE OF WALES PROSPECTS

The $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, to be run at 1 3/16 miles on the dirt July 25 at Fort Erie, is the second leg of the lucrative Triple Crown series for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Big Red Mike won the first leg, the $1 million Queen's Plate here July 4 on Polytrack, leading all the way in the 1 1/4-mile event. The Canadian Triple Crown will conclude with the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on the grass here Aug. 15.

The following are possibilities for the Prince of Wales:

Big Red Mike: The strapping chestnut set slow fractions and kept going in the Plate and the nine-furlong Plate Trial, and it will be interesting to see if somebody tries to run him into the ground in the Wales. He has never competed on dirt, but his breeding suggests the surface won't be a problem, a notion jockey Eurico Da Silva agrees with.

"I'm pretty sure that he'll handle the dirt," Da Silva said.

Hotep: It was surprising to see this closer press Big Red Mike on the backstretch and around the far turn before finishing a clear second in the Plate. A full brother to last year's Plate winner, Eye of the Leopard, Hotep captured a mile and 40-yard optional claimer on the dirt at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 1 before finishing up the track there in a pair of Grade 2 stakes, which were preps for the Kentucky Derby.

"He ran a good race," Patrick Husbands said after riding Hotep in the Plate. "He tried his best. Four furlongs out, I was right there with Eurico. He had so much horse."

Giant's Tomb: The second of three Sam-Son Farm possibilities for the race, along with Hotep and Dark Cloud Dancer. The son of 1997 Plate winner Awesome Again rallied belatedly under Mike Smith and finished fourth in the Plate, beaten three lengths.

"I thought he ran very well," Smith said. "Speed held really well. He tried every bit of the way, but they just wouldn't come back to him."

Giant's Tomb had a win and a second in his two dirt starts, which came in a pair of mile and 40-yard optional claimers at the Fair Grounds. He earned an 80 Beyer Figure each time, slightly better than the 79 that Hotep received in his Fair Grounds triumph.

Dark Cloud Dancer: Was supposed to be a rabbit for his stablemates in the Plate, but jockey Javier Castellano opted for rating tactics after the colt broke slowly, and he eventually finished sixth after an inside stalking trip. His second dam, Dance Smartly, captured the Prince of Wales along with the other two legs of the 1991 Triple Crown.

Mobthewarrior: Was hard-ridden on the outside en route to a fifth-place finish in the Plate, which came on the heels of a third-place finish in the Trial. Steady son of Mobil shouldn't mind the surface switch.

Captain Canuck: He bypassed the Plate after ending up fifth after a tardy start in the Trial. Late bloomer by Pulpit worked three-quarters on the main track at Fort Erie in a quick 1:12.60 on July 6 and appears to have some upside.

CORRECTION

I wrote last week that Dancethruthedawn, Dance Smartly, and La Lorgnette were the only fillies to sweep the Woodbine Oaks and the Queen's Plate, but I left out Flaming Page, the brilliant 1962 winner of those two Canadian classics. Flaming Page went on to become the dam of 1970 English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky, arguably the greatest Canadian-bred of all time.

HORSES TO WATCH

Becky's Kitten

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Last race: July 9, 2nd

Finish: 3rd by a neck

He was cut off shortly after the break and had to be steadied before looming into a stalking position on the turn en route to a narrow loss in a slow-placed allowance. This versatile gelding has run three solid races since being claimed for $40,000 at Keeneland and should clear the first allowance condition soon.

Syfret

Trainer: Andrew Smith

Last race: July 7, 4th

Finish: 3rd by 1 1/2

She was the only runner to make up any serious ground in this slow-paced maiden special for Ontario-sired offspring, after which she galloped out well. She is out of a stakes winner on the grass and has found her calling on that surface.

Bling Bling Queen

Trainer: Ralph Biamonte

Last race: July 9, 3rd

Finish: 3rd by 2 1/2

She broke outwardly from the widest post and gave the field a head start before closing five wide in the five-furlong dash for $40,000 maiden 2-year-old fillies. She should be better off with that experience, although it would be nice to see her load into the gate without a hassle.

Bubbles to the Top

Trainer: Mike DePaulo

Last race: July 10, 3rd

Finish: 2nd by 3/4

She broke slowly before rallying strongly from the back of the pack in her debut in a five-furlong maiden special for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies. Expensive yearling purchase is by esteemed Ontario sire Bold Executive and should be tough after this start.