08/30/2012 12:19PM

Woodbine: Roxy Gap stays home for Seaway

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Michael Burns
Roxy Gap, who won the Royal North on turf in her last race, will move back to Polytrack for the Seaway Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Roxy Gap, the leading candidate for Canadian champion female sprinter honors this year, will go back to the Polytrack Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Seaway Stakes at Woodbine.

Roxy Gap has run five solid races at the Woodbine meet, while banking over $400,000. She notched two graded stakes wins on the Polytrack in the spring, the Grade 3 Whimsical and the Grade 2 Hendrie, and then wound up second to favored Marketing Mix in the Grade 2 Nassau on soft turf. She was second to the front-running Man Stuff after lacking room along the rail in the Sweet Briar Too Stakes on the Poly, and in her last race Roxy Gap captured the Grade 3 Royal North Stakes traveling six furlongs on the grass July 29.

Trainer Mark Casse said Roxy Gap was a victim of circumstance in her last Polytrack start, which came as the heavy favorite in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too.

“Any time you’re the big favorite, everybody worries about where you are,” Casse said. “I felt like some of those guys were riding our horse more than their own. She got pinned in. There was no pace. [Man Stuff] ran a huge race. She got away from her, and [Roxy Gap] just couldn’t run her down.”

Casse said he opted for the Seaway, with its $50,000 bonus for eligible Ontario-breds, instead of the more lucrative Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters Sept. 8.

“We discussed it and thought it would be nice to stay at home,” Casse said. “She runs for the extra money. She seems to be doing well, but it’s tough to stay good all year long.”

Patrick Husbands will ride Roxy Gap, who is the 124-pound highweight in the five-horse field.

Jenny’s So Great was supplemented for $3,000 by trainer Greg de Gannes. She came charging between horses from last to take last year’s Royal North impressively, but could only manage third in this year’s edition.

Jenny’s So Great was beaten just 1 3/4 lengths when fifth in the 2011 Presque Isle Masters, which was her last synthetic track excursion.

Zermatt, based at Saratoga with trainer Todd Pletcher, performed well in optional-claiming company over Keeneland’s Polytrack in April. She showed speed before fading to seventh in her only Woodbine appearance, which came in the Grade 3 Bessarabian Stakes in November.

Tu Endie Wei was Canada’s champion 2-year-old filly in 2011, during which she won three of four outings, all in stakes.

Tu Endie Wei has started twice at the current Saratoga meet. She was a prominent third in the Grade 3 Victory Ride, and a distant trailer in the Grade 1 Prioress.

Completing the field is outsider Gold Dust Lady.