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Woodbine: Sisterly Love looks to use Belle Mahone as springboard to Keeneland's Spinster
ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Sisterly Love has been a dominant winner in her two starts around two turns this season at Woodbine, capturing both the Trillium and the Grade 3 Ontario Matron at 1 1/16 miles. On Sunday, Sisterly Love will be looking to extend her streak with an eye toward bigger things down the road when she faces five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Belle Mahone.
“She’s been doing good,” said Mark Casse, who conditions Sisterly Love and watched the Kentucky-bred win the Trillium by 8 1/2 lengths and the Ontario Matron by three lengths in front-running fashion.
“I gave her a little bit of a break after her last race, and we kind of thought this was a good spot to bring her back in. We’re hoping for a big effort here and then we’re probably going to go to Keeneland, for the Spinster.”
The Oct. 6 Spinster, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares on Polytrack, offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $500,000, plus is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Eurico Rosa Da Silva retains the mount on Sisterly Love, who will start from post 5.
Eagle Hall, runner-up to Sisterly Love when making her stakes debut in the Ontario Matron, will be looking to complete another Casse exacta in the $100,000 Belle Mahone, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares.
Gary Boulanger returns aboard Eagle Hall, who drew the No. 3 post.
Eagle Hall, a homebred 6-year-old who races for Eugene Melnyk, has won 6 of 23 starts and finished in the money a total of 17 times while banking $324,216.
“She’s tough. She tries hard,” Casse said. “Her biggest problem is having to run against Sisterly Love.”
Moment of Majesty, winner of last year’s Belle Mahone and the restricted Zadracarta at seven furlongs on turf, was sold privately and resurfaced at Churchill Downs with trainer Andrew McKeever.
After shipping to Woodbine and finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at 1 1/8 miles of grass on July 7, Moment of Majesty moved into Roger Attfield’s stable and will be making her first start for that barn in the Belle Mahone.
“I think she’s fairly effective on both turf and Polytrack,” Attfield said. “I’ve worked her on both, and I don’t see any difference.”
Emma-Jayne Wilson gets the call on Moment of Majesty.
Completing the field will be Moonlit Beauty, Reconnect, and Eastern Atlantic.
Moonlit Beauty, trained by John LeBlanc, is the top earner in the field with $606,341. The 7-year-old Moonlit Beauty has won four restricted stakes, all in front-running style, which clashes with that of Sisterly Love.
David Moran will ride Moonlit Beauty for the first time and should be heading for the lead from post 6.
Reconnect, winner of the restricted La Prevoyante at one mile on turf in 2011, finished second behind the dominant Sisterly Love in the Trillium.
Jesse Campbell again gets the call on Reconnect.
Sales stakes card aims for new evening audience
Yearling sales stakes day will be held on Wednesday evening, a departure from its previous Labor Day date.
And, for the first time the program is being billed as “Canada Million Sales Stakes Day,” a reference to the purse money available through the six yearling sales stakes worth an aggregate $900,000, with two other races on the card pushing the total into the seven-figure range.
Also for the first time, national television coverage will be available on SportsNet ONE in a show running from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern.
Yvonne Schwabe, yearling sales chair and a director of the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, said the decision to move the event to Wednesday evening was born at a sales consignor meeting this spring.
“We felt we lost of people to the cottage rush,” said Schwabe, who bred this year’s Queen’s Plate winner Midnight Aria and won the Ontario Damsel with her homebred 3-year-old filly Surtsey. “So we just thought we would try something new, moving it back. There’s no other big racing on that evening. We also hope to attract new city people, after the business hour.”
The CTHS also is hosting a private event beginning at 6 p.m. in the third-floor Champions area.
“There will be horse people there, but we basically sent out invitations to a mailing list of people not in the horse industry,” Schwabe said. “We tried to target young, affluent people. We’re trying to bring them to the racetrack, show them an evening of fun racing.
“We’re going to have a fashion show, and we’re going to bring all the winners up after every race to talk to the audience about the experience. We want to stimulate interest. Even if someone can’t afford to buy, maybe they’ll become racing fans.”
This year’s yearling sales will commence on Tuesday, Sept. 3 with a selected session at 1 p.m. and continue on Saturday, Sept. 7, with an open session at 5 p.m. in the Woodbine sales pavilion.
Go Greeley sharpens for Simcoe
Go Greeley breezed four furlongs in 48.80 seconds on the main track here Friday morning in preparation for the $200,000 Simcoe, the 6 1/2-furlong yearling sales stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
“Da Silva was aboard; everything went good,” said John Ross, owner and trainer of Go Greeley, who will be looking for his third stakes win under Da Silva after capturing the open Colin at six furlongs and the restricted Vandal at the same distance.
Bold ‘n Golden tuned up for the Simcoe by breezing four furlongs in 49.20 seconds on the dirt training track under exercise rider Garnet Moodie.
Trained by John Cardella, Bold’n Golden finished third in the open Victoria at five furlongs but then ran sixth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths, in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon.
Spin the King, who defeated Go Greeley by a nose in the Clarendon, is running in a solid renewal of the Simcoe.
Drago’s Best preps for Halton
Drago’s Best, conditioned by Josie Carroll, breezed four furlongs in 49.40 second under exercise rider Billy O’Connor and has been entered in the $125,000 Halton, the yearling sales stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at one mile on turf.
“He hasn’t run since July 21,” said Carroll, who sent out Drago’s Best to win a conditioned claiming race at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf that day. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 86.
“None of the races I’ve entered him in have gone,” Carroll said. “He has to run somewhere.”
Drago’s Best set the pace but weakened to finish fifth in last year’s Halton. The top two there, Welloiledmachine and Celtic Conviction, will return in Wednesday’s running.