08/06/2012 2:28PM

Woodbine: Sam-Son's fingerprints all over this Breeders' Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Sam-Son Farm, past and present, engaged in a symbolic stretch duel here last Sunday with Irish Mission emerging a half-length winner over Aldous Snow in the $507,400 Breeders’ Stakes over 1 1/2 miles of turf.

Irish Mission, bred by Sam-Son Farm, sold for $375,000 at Saratoga last summer and is trained by Mark Frostad, whose association with Sam-Son began in 1994 and came to an end this winter.

“She ran a monster, didn’t she?” said Frostad, who conditions Irish Mission for Robert S. Evans.

Her pedigree is vintage Sam-Son and Frostad sent out her dam, Misty Mission, to win the 2000 Wonder Where Stakes.

Aldous Snow, a Sam-Son homebred, is trained by Malcolm Pierce, whose association with Sam-Son spans four decades and who was named the outfit’s sole trainer this season.

Irish Mission, who came into her current campaign as a maiden, now boasts a r é sum é that includes a win in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks, a second-place finish in the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate, and now her first victory over males in the Breeders’.

Three weeks prior to the Breeders’, Irish Mission had finished sixth when trying the dirt for the first time in Fort Erie’s 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales.

“I think she ran a huge place in the Plate and she may have bounced, combined with a surface she didn’t particularly warm to,” said Frostad. “I was worried, coming out of that race. She got a little banged up, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. She went back to her feed tub, and was training great.”

Frostad plans to give Irish Mission a break and has no current plan for her next engagement.

“She’s just going to get better and better,” said Frostad, who has forged a successful partnership with jockey Alex Solis, who rode Irish Mission in the Breeders’ for his 4,936th victory.

Solis, 48, moved his base here to Woodbine in May to ride for trainer Lisa Lewis, and his immigration status allows him to accept mounts only for horses owned or partially owned by Americans.

Aldous Snow came into the Breeders’ as a fresh horse, with his last start a first-level allowance score over 1 1/8 miles of turf on Queen’s Plate Day.

“He tried his heart out,” said Pierce. “I thought we had the filly’s measure at the eighth pole but she dug in again.”

Aldous Snow, who finished 4 3/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Quaesitor, is still looking for his first stakes win and has an interesting option in the $125,000 Halton here Sept. 3

The Halton, a one-mile turf race, is for 3-year-olds and upward who went through the ring at a local Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society yearling sale. Aldous Snow was a $47,000 buyback at the 2010 select sale.

Rough trip for Dixie Strike

Dixie Strike, ridden by Patrick Husbands, was favored at 5-2 off a third-place finish in the Queen’s Plate and a victory in the Prince of Wales. She wound up sixth, 11 1/4 lengths behind the winner after being right there with a quarter-mile to run.

“That was a trip and a half,” said trainer Mark Casse. “Patrick said she clipped heels four or five times, and when she finalliy got clear, she kind of ran off with him. But I don’t know. Maybe she can’t go a mile and a half.”

Casse said he has no immediate plans for Dixie Strike, who earlier this year won the May 13 Selene and ran fifth in the Woodbine Oaks.

“She might get a rest for a little bit,” said Casse. “We’ll wait and see.”

Quaesitor coming along

Quaesitor performed above expectations in the Breeders’, finishing third at odds of 29-1 while making his third start this year, all on different surfaces.

Quaesitor won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race here June 30 and finished fourth in the Prince of Wales before making his turf debut in the Breeders’.

“He’s slowly figuring it out,” said trainer Ian Howard. “He’s had a hurry-up campaign. H e’s still got a lot of maturing to do. A race where he could get a bit of confidence would be nice.”

Cryptic Message stays perfect

Cryptic Message came through loud and clear here in Sunday’s $125,000 Nandi, leading throughout the six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies to score by a length.

Owned by Eugene George and trained by Ralph Biamonte, Cryptic Message won for the third time in as many outings. A daughter of Cryptograph, Cryptic Message was coming off a front-running win in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon for Ontario-foaled fillies.

Emma-Jayne Wilson had ridden Cryptic Message in her first two outings but also had partnered last-out winner Silent Star in her two appearances and stayed in that corner for the Nandi.

Eurico Rosa da Silva picked up the mount on Cryptic Message for the Nandi and recorded his ninth stakes win of the meeting.

“My filly was sharp going in there,” said Biamonte. “She was the speed, and it worked out good.”

Biamonte purchased Cryptic Message for $5,000 at the Canadian Thoroughbred Society’s open yearling sale with an eye upon her stamina-oriented pedigree.

“She’s maturing,” said Biamonte. “She acts real good. I hope the stamina in her pedigree, top and bottom, comes out and she’ll keep running farther. I don’t see why she shouldn’t.”

Biamonte is eyeing the 6 1/2-furlong Muskoka Stakes, a yearling sales stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Sept. 3, for Cryptic Message’s next start.

The Muskoka and the Simcoe, for 2-year-old colts and geldings, both are worth $200,000 and Biamonte captured last year’s runnings with the filly Rose and Shine and the colt (now gelding) Menlo Castle.

Alpha Bettor turns profit

Alpha Bettor had not initially been aiming for last Saturday’s Grade 3, $152,400 Seagram Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward. But then Danny Vella, who trains Alpha Bettor and is a member of Bulldog Racing, owners of the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old colt, called an audible and anteed up a supplementary fee of $3,000..

That turned out to be money very well spent as Alpha Bettor picked up $90,000 for his half-length score in the Seagram Cup under regular rider Tyler Pizarro.

“He has a fair amount of talent, but he’s also a fairly gritty horse,” said Vella after watching Alpha Bettor register his first stakes win in an effort that yielded a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 98. “He’s tough. He’s an improving horse. His breeding and everything about him says he should get better with age.”

Alpha Bettor had been entered under the optional claiming clauses in his two races prior to the Seagram, winning over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack and then finishing third at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

“He doesn’t like the turf,” said Vella. “He ran once on turf last year and ran a mediocre race. We thought we’d try him one more time when the opportunity presented itself.”

The next suitable stakes here for Alpha Bettor is Grade 3, 1 1/8 Durham Cup on Oct. 14.

“I want to run him at least once before that,” said Vella.

◗ Apprentice jockey Skye Chernetz has been fined $300 and suspended for Wednesday’s card for excessive whipping of her mount Miss Giacomo during the stretch run of last Friday’s fifth race, according the the stewards here. It was the second whip infraction for Chernetz, who guided Miss Giacomo to a head victory at 66-1.