09/03/2012 2:33PM

Woodbine: Seen It All Before's Vice Regent win another September highlight for Brnjas

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Michael Burns
Seen It All Before's Vice Regent win gave trainer Ashlee Brnjas her second stakes victory.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – You might say that September is the coolest month for trainer Ashlee Brnjas.

She has recorded both her stakes wins that month, including the $125,000 Vice Regent here Sunday. Seen It All Before rallied to score by 1 1/2 lengths under Luis Contreras in the one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

“He’s such an awesome little horse,” said Brnjas, who trains the homebred Seen It All Before for the Colebrook Farm of her father, John Brnjas. “He’s so pleasant and fun to have in the barn. He’s a horse who tries and tries and tries.”

Last September, on the 10th to be exact, Brnjas watched Reconnect deliver her first stakes win in the $125,000 La Prevoyante as she celebrated her nuptials at her father’s Colebrook Farm.

Seen It All Before, a full brother to Reconnect, had been beaten nine lengths in his previous start, the Breeders’ Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on turf here Aug. 5.

“He got shoved and pinched back,” said Brnjas. “He had so many different problems there. I’m not saying he would have won, but I think he would have been a lot more competitive.”

Brnjas tends to adopt a wait-and-see attitude with regard to the immediate future of her charges, but the $125,000 Bunty Lawless, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward here Oct. 21, would be a logical target.

Reconnect, a closing second in the Victoriana Stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles of turf here Aug. 18, is pointing for the Sept. 30 Classy ‘n Smart. The $125,000 Classy ‘n Smart is a 1 1/16-mile Polytrack stakes for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

Change of plan works for Baker

Trainer Reade Baker initially had no intention of running Tu Endie Wei in this past Saturday’s Grade 3 Seaway, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares on the main track.

Baker had in fact been eyeing this Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Presque Isle Masters, a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares, for the Kentucky-bred 3-year-old who races for her owner and breeder, Brereton Jones.

But when Baker learned that the Seaway field was coming up very light in numbers he called an audible.

“I took her out and jogged her, looked at her, talked to everybody, and entered her,” said Baker.

Tu Endie Wei, perhaps happy at the chance to race again on her home grounds, responded by notching her first graded stakes win, a game one-length score under her regular rider, Jim McAleney, at the expense of four older rivals in the $168,500 Seaway.

“She’s a Poly sprinter,” said Baker, who had taken Tu Endie Wei to New York for Belmont’s Grade 3, six-furlong Victory Ride and Saratoga’s Grade 1, six-furlong Prioress earlier this summer, watching her finish third in the Victory Ride but a distant sixth in the Prioress.

Tu Endie Wei had a valid excuse in the Prioress, however.

“She was coasting up there, and all of a sudden she had nothing left,” Baker. “It turned out that she hit herself, and took the hair right off her left sesamoid. She was bleeding after the race.”

Tu Endie Wei, who was Canada’s champion 2-year-old filly, was recording her second stakes win of the season after capturing the six-furlong Star Shoot in her seasonal bow.

Baker has penciled in two Grade 3, $150,000 sprints for fillies and mares here this fall, the six-furlong Ontario Fashion on Nov. 4 and the seven-furlong Bessarabian on Nov. 24, as long-term targets for Tu Endie Wei.

“I wouldn’t mind finding something for her here between now and then,” said Baker.

Hunter’s Bay to try grass

Baker has candidates for two of the four stakes on the blockbuster Sept. 16 program, with Hunter’s Bay pointing for the Woodbine Mile and River Rush on target for the Ontario Derby.

Hunter’s Bay, who would be making his first start on turf in the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile, breezed five furlongs in a bullet 59.60 on the training track here Sunday with Jose Contreras in the irons.

Emma-Jayne Wilson, who was at Saratoga on Sunday piloting Excaper to a close fifth-place finish in the Saranac Stakes,has the call for the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile.

“His sire, Ghostzapper, is a super turf sire,” said Baker, who has sent out the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Hunter’s Bay to capture the Grade 3 Eclipse at 1 1/16 miles and the Grade 3 Dominion Day at 1 1/4 miles on the Polytrack here this year for owner/breeder Frank Stronach.

River Rush breezed five furlongs in 1:03.60 on the training track here Sunday under his regular rider, Jim McAleney, and will be looking for his second stakes win in the $150,000 Ontario Derby, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Also owned and bred by Stronach, River Rush recorded his first win and became a stakes winner to boot in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here this June.

Irish Mission gets in light

The Grade 1 Northern Dancer, a $500,000 stakes over 1 1/2 miles on turf, and the $300,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares that offers Grade 2 status, are the other stakes scheduled for the Sept. 16 program.

Irish Mission breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 on the training track here Sunday in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 Northern Dancer.

Regular rider Alex Solis was aboard Irish Mission for the drill, but trainer Mark Frostad will be looking to capitalize on the 3-year-old filly’s feathery 109-pound weight assignment in the Northern Dancer, and Solis tacks about 117 pounds.

Irish Mission defeated Canadian-bred males of her own age group in winning the Breeders’ in her last start.

◗ Musketier, also eyeing the Northern Dancer, and Smart Sting, a candidate for the Canadian, breezed six furlongs in 1:12.40 while going in company on the turf training track here Sunday.

Solis was aboard Musketier, while exercise rider Darren Fortune partnered Smart Sting.

John Velazquez, who will be here to ride the favored Wise Dan in the Woodbine Mile, has the call on the 10-year-old Musketier for the Northern Dancer. Solis will ride Forte dei Marmi, who also is trained by Attfield.

Smart Sting, who had exercise rider Darren Fortune aboard for Sunday’s move, will be ridden by Velazquez in the Canadian.