06/16/2010 11:00PM

Woodbine roundup



Chantal Sutherland was the riding star of the week of June 9-13, when she won aboard 10 of 24 mounts (41.7 percent). She ranks third in the jockey standings at the meet, behind Patrick Husbands and Eurico Da Silva.

Trainer Ross Armata had a very productive week, winning with 3 of his 5 starters, which included two tallies with 2-year-olds. Other hot trainers included Paul Buttigieg (2 for 5) and Roger Attfield (3 for 11).


Embur's Song, the 2-5 favorite in last Sunday's $501,200 Woodbine Oaks, was rank on the early lead under Garrett Gomez and faded in the final sixteenth to end up third. The previously unbeaten Todd Pletcher trainee is bred to be a pure sprinter on the dam's side, and the nine furlongs was farther than she wanted to go on this day.

Hollinger, last year's unbeaten champion 2-year-old in Canada, ran his second clunker in a row when he trailed the field while favored in Sunday's $151,200 Plate Trial Stakes. He is unlikely to start in the July 4 Queen's Plate.

CBC-TV's coverage of the Oaks and Trial had far too many camera cuts, which made it hard to follow the flow of both races. Several close-ups of the two front-runners in the Oaks excluded the eventual top two finishers, Roan Inish and Moment of Majesty.


Wednesday, June 9: Horses racing on the inside paths won six of the eight races on this evening card. The two "wide" winners were Wildcat Aly in the opener and Dancingall Theway in the New Providence Stakes. Other horses who did okay despite racing wide included New Providence runner-up Gypsy Ring, Grazettes Landing, Tomahawk Sister, Gracing, Moneyka, and Three Hour Tour.

Friday, June 11: Front-runners and stalkers captured six of the seven Polytrack events. The lone closing winner was Appleby, a comebacking dropper who appeared to be taking an edge in the finale, a 1 1/16-mile tilt for $12,500 conditioned claimers.

Saturday, June 12: The outside was the place to be. The lone inside winner on the Poly was Where's the Bedroom, who took a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds as the favorite.


Roan Inish earned a 93 Beyer for her gutsy score in the Woodbine Oaks, putting her squarely in the Queen's Plate picture. She came between Embur's Song and Moment of Majesty in the stretch to prevail by a head. Moment of Majesty ran the race of her life to finish second.

"The last furlong, she gave me everything," said Irish jockey David Moran, who rode Roan Inish for trainer Carolyn Costigan. "I think a mile and a quarter will be her ideal trip."

Big Red Mike gamely held off a determined Mobilizer to win his first stakes Sunday in the Plate Trial. He set a slow pace in the nine-furlong prep for the Plate and got home by a half-length, receiving a 94 Beyer.

Mobilizer gained many admirers in defeat after coming along the rail in the stretch from a stalking position. He possesses ample seasoning for a horse with only four starts and figures to be among the Plate favorites.

Dancingall Theway won his first stakes June 9 in the $125,800 New Providence, a six-furlong dash for older Ontario-sired runners.

Chantal Sutherland had Dancingall Theway in a three-wide pace-pressing position on the turn, and they hit the front early in the stretch before holding off longshot Gypsy Ring to prevail by three-quarters of a length. The winning time was 1:09.32, and he earned a career-best 104 Beyer.

Trainer Lorne Richards ran Dancingall Theway for as little as $32,000 claiming last November.

"He had some trouble with his feet and had been off a long time," Richards said. "I didn't think we had much shot of losing him for $32,000, being off six months. The horse has just come around, after having a good winter in Florida. Things have taken care of themselves, and he's doing well right now."

Dancingall Theway will likely reappear in the next local Ontario-sired stakes, the $125,000 Shepperton over 6 1/2 furlongs Aug. 4.

Favored Sand Cove crushed his rivals last Saturday under Richard Dos Ramos in the $125,400 Steady Growth Stakes. After stalking a lively pace, Sand Cove took control exiting the far turn, and then drew away to prevail by 4 3/4 lengths in 1:42.69, .47 second off the Polytrack record.

Trainer Roger Attfield said Sand Cove was on the muscle leading up to the Steady Growth.

"I put smaller blinkers on him because I thought he was a little too sharp," Attfield said. "He relaxed really well in the race. Richard rode him great, and he looked like a winner at the three-eighths pole."

Sand Cove should be a player in restricted stakes on Polytrack and turf during the rest of the meet.

"He's a very versatile horse," Attfield said. "He's run well on both surfaces. On his day, he's a very tough horse."


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

1. Artic Fern: Won a quick maiden special in his second start April 17 and outran Mobilizer in his rapid allowance win May 23. He responded favorably to rating tactics while beating older foes in a relatively slow clocking at 1 1/16 miles June 5. A son of Langfuhr, he is out of a full-sister to 1999 Plate winner Woodcarver.

2. Mobilizer: Stronach Stable runner was a wide-closing second to Artic Fern May 23 and ran gamely along the rail when second in the Plate Trial. Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to attend this year's Plate, and Stronach's Awesome Again was victorious the last time she was here for the race in 1997.

3. Roan Inish: Gutsy filly captured the Woodbine Oaks off one seven-furlong prep and appears to have plenty of upside and stamina. Fillies have fared well in the modern history of the Plate.

4. Hotep: A full-brother to last year's Plate winner, Eye of the Leopard, he exited a slump while taking the May 8 Wando Stakes and returned to finish second to favored Exhi in the Marine Stakes.

5. Big Red Mike: Won the Plate Trial after setting soft fractions and will probably have more speed to deal with in the Plate if he employs an aggressive approach again.

6. Moment of Majesty: Suffered a heartbreaking loss in the Oaks after mounting a wide rally. A daughter of Saint Liam, she is not eligible to the Plate, but she could be supplemented at the time of entry for $25,000.

7. Mobthewarrior: Son of 2003 Plate Trial winner Mobil closed steadily on the outside to end up third in the Trial, easily his best performance.

8. Giant's Tomb: Awesome Again colt was hard-ridden for fourth in the Trial, and his plodding style might enable him to hit the superfecta in the big one.

9. Essence Hit Man: Crack sprinter isn't eligible for the Plate, but he could be supplemented on entry day. Son of champion sprinter Speightstown was third in the 1 1/16-mile Marine but is questionable over longer route distances.

10. Dark Cloud Dancer: Won his maiden second-time out traveling seven furlongs May 16, earning an 85 Beyer, and was subsequently a wide-closing second in a nine-furlong allowance. Son of Storm Cat is out of 2001 Plate winner Dancethruthedawn.



Trainer: Roger Attfield

Last race: June 13, 9th

Finish: 5th by 11 1/2

Broke about five lengths behind the field and raced five wide most of the way in the Woodbine Oaks. A throwout race for her.

Signature Red

Trainer: Sid Attard

Last race: June 12, 2nd

Finish: 1st by 1 1/2

Convincingly won the allowance prep for the Highlander Stakes and has quickly evolved into one of the leading sprinters on the grounds.


Trainer: Steve Attard

Last race: June 11, 5th

Finish: 2nd by 1

Put away two rivals in a speed duel before holding on for second in a gutsy performance in an Ontario-sired allowance.


Trainer: Ricky Griffith

Last race: June 10, 5th

Finish: 7th by 11

Never challenged during a wide trip in a race dominated by a dropping front-runner. She was a deceptively good fourth after battling up front in her previous race and could rebound at a fat price.