07/08/2013 1:17PM

Woodbine: Sam-Son team has tough weekend

Michael Burns
Up With the Birds is a question mark for the Prince of Wales Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Up With the Birds, who flew home to be beaten a half-length as the 8-5 favorite in the Queen’s Plate, completed a frustrating weekend for Sam-Son Farms, trainer Malcolm Pierce, and jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva.

On Saturday, those connections had watched Golden Sabre finish first in the $129,800 Charlie Barley only to be disqualified and placed fourth.

His Race to Win, also racing for Pierce and Sam-Son in the Queen’s Plate, finished sixth under import rider John Velazquez.

“We were disappointed to be second with Up With the Birds, obviously,” Pierce said. “The fractions were okay. We don’t know if the rain speeded that track up. Nobody was pressing that horse [winner Midnight Aria]. I thought somebody would.”

Pierce had contemplated using His Race to Win to fill that role but ultimately rejected that idea.

“I wanted to give both horses a fair chance at the race,” Pierce said. “If I had used His Race to Win as a rabbit, he might not even have finished sixth.”

Up With the Birds and His Race to Win both are question marks for the Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of the Canadian triple crown, which will be run on Fort Erie’s dirt surface on July 30.

Pierce prefers to give his charges plenty of time between starts, with a prime example being Up With the Birds, who was coming into the Queen’s Plate six weeks after his dominant win here in the 1 1/16-mile Marine Stakes.

“That’s not really our style,” said Pierce, on the prospect of racing the horse back in just a little more than three weeks. We don’t have a chance of having a triple crown winner now. We’ll do the right thing for the horses.”

Ironically, Midnight Aria’s trainer, Nick Gonzalez, had sent out Big Red Mike to win the 2011 Queen’s Plate in similar front-running fashion.

Hotep, racing for trainer Mark Frostad and Sam-Son, finished a closing second to Big Red Mike, whose jockey was Eurico Rosa Da Silva.

Casse: ‘No qualms’ about outcome

Trainer Mark Casse sent out four horses for the Queen’s Plate and watched Dynamic Sky run third, Spring in the Air fourth, Jagger M fifth, and Kaigun 10th, for a total purse earnings of $170,400.

“They all had good trips,” Casse said. “I have no qualms whatsoever.”

Dynamic Sky was beaten eight lengths after winning the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial under the returning Joel Rosario.

“Joel could see the horse on the lead going along pretty easy, and went after him, but couldn’t catch him,” Casse said.

Dynamic Sky ran well on Tampa Bay’s dirt surface this winter, winning the seven-furlong Pasco and missing by a neck as the runner-up in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at 1 1/16 miles. He is a Prince of Wales prospect.

Spring in the Air, coming off a second-place finish in the Woodbine Oaks, finished a length behind Dynamic Sky.

“A mile and a quarter might be a touch far for her on the Polytrack,” Casse said. “We may try her in the Wonder Where.”

The $250,000 Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf stakes for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be run here Aug. 4.

Jagger M, who finished 11 lengths back in the Queen’s Plate under Shaun Bridgmohan, also will be considered for the Prince of Wales.

“He had him a little more forwardly placed than in the Plate Trial,” Casse said. “He ran pretty well on the dirt at Gulfstream, and trained pretty well on dirt at Palm Meadows.”

Kaigun pressed the early pace under Justin Stein but tailed off to be beaten almost 22 lengths.

“We tried to send Kaigun out early, but Justin said he just couldn’t keep up down the backstretch,” Casse said. “We need to regroup.”

Uncaptured, who has shown a fondness for dirt at Churchill Downs and is currently in Casse’s string at Churchill Downs, remains a Prince of Wales prospect but could be redirected to the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park on July 28 or the Grade 3, $750,000 West Virginia Derby Mountaineer Park on Aug. 3. Both races will be run at 1 1/8 miles on dirt.

Nipissing to ‘regroup’

Nipissing, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks for trainer Rachel Halden and rider Steven Bahen, was beaten 20 lengths when she finished eighth in the Queen’s Plate as the 5-1 second favorite.

“Steve just got shuffled back to a spot where she was too far back,” Halden said. “I’m not really sure she ran her race at all, and I’m not sure why.

“We’ll regroup, we’ll all talk, and see how she is. We’re not under any pressure. She won the Oaks, which was her goal.”

Frostad unhappy with trip

Pyrite Mountain and County Lineman, both trained by Mark Frostad, were the respective seventh and 11th finishers in the Queen’s Plate.

“I think he got a terrible trip. He was hung wide all the way,” Frostad said about Pyrite Mountain. “He was left with way too much to make up.”

The Prince of Wales would not appear to be on Pyrite Mountain’s calendar.

“I don’t think he’s a dirt horse,” Frostad said.

County Lineman was making his stakes debut and remains eligible for his second restricted allowance condition.

“He ran well up to a point,” Frostad said. “He just didn’t get the mile and a quarter. He’ll go back to his Ontario-sired conditions.”

Rackman to stick with Ontario-sired company

Rackman, the longest shot in the field of 12 at 60-1, stalked the pace in third until the final turn.

“He was positioned right. They were just too good for him,” trainer Nick Nosowenko said. “He’ll go back to the Ontario-sired program.”

Rackman remains eligible for his first restricted allowance condition.