11/05/2012 4:14PM

Woodbine: Smart Sting shows what she likes in Maple Leaf Stakes

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Michael Burns
Smart Sting, with Eurico Da Silva riding, wins the Maple Leaf over Woodbine’s Polytrack.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Before Saturday’s $183,000 Maple Leaf Stakes, Smart Sting hadn’t competed on Polytrack since her victory in last year’s Grade 3 Selene Stakes. She reaffirmed her fondness for the surface with a decisive score over a closing Imperial Pippin in the 10-furlong fixture.

The Maple Leaf was the first win of the year for Smart Sting, who finished fourth in two Grade 3 turf stakes in the United States, before ending up sixth here in the Grade 2 Canadian.

“She got to run her race,” said Roger Attfield, who trains Smart Sting for Stronach Stable. “The only other time that she ran on the Polytrack, she won very nicely. She really likes firm turf, and she ran a lot of races on turf that she didn’t enjoy, which took away from how good she is. I think she’s a very good filly. I always did.”

Attfield said Smart Sting, a 4-year-old Smart Strike filly out of turf champion Perfect Sting, might have started for the last time in the Maple Leaf.

“They were talking about retiring her after this race and breeding her,” Attfield said. “She’s probably going to be retired.”

Imperial Pippin, based at Churchill Downs with trainer Bill Mott, placed in her first North American stakes in the Maple Leaf. Moonlit Beauty, who weakened to third after setting a strong pace, could run back against Ontario-sired males Dec. 2 in the $125,000 Sir Barton Stakes.

Atlantic Hurricane’s luck changes

Sunday’s $155,500 Ontario Fashion Stakes looked like it would help determine this year’s Canadian champion female sprinter honors, but a rejuvenated Atlantic Hurricane spoiled the party for the two protagonists, Roxy Gap and Tu Endie Wei, who finished third and sixth in the six-furlong dash.

Atlantic Hurricane, last year’s champion female sprinter, had just a single win from five starts this year, before capturing the Ontario Fashion for the second year in a row.

“She’s had so much bad luck,” trainer Stu Simon said. “She got sick this spring. She kept drawing inside. She’s never been outside of the 4 hole in six starts this year. We always had faith in her, but you wonder when a mare gets beat a few times and has some bad luck, if they’re gonna come with their ace again, but she came with it.”

Simon said Atlantic Hurricane will run back Nov. 24 in the $150,000 Bessarabian, a Grade 3 stakes that she won last year.

Biamonte plans for future

Trainer Ralph Biamonte bypassed Wednesday’s $125,000 Frost King Stakes with the talented Check Em, who is among the speedier runners in the local 2-year-old division. Check Em notched his debut with a 76 Beyer Speed Figure on Sept. 23, before finishing eighth after getting softened up in a pace duel in the Bull Page Stakes, which, like the Frost King, is for Ontario-sired juveniles.

“I nominated him just to see, but we changed our minds,” Biamonte said. “I’m going to turn him out and wait until next year.”

Biamonte won the last two editions of the seven-furlong Frost King, with Citius in 2010 and Jenna’s Wabbit in 2011. He would have had the one to beat this year, Double McTwist, who broke down while being pulled up during a recent work and was euthanized.

Double McTwist, who captured the six-furlong Bull Page convincingly Oct. 8, had won his two races by a combined total of 15 1/2 lengths.

“I would have loved to have had Double McTwist in there,” Biamonte said. “He was quite a horse.”

Click is another Ontario-sired 2-year-old who showed promise for Biamonte early on. Click won his debut by seven lengths June 21, but has been idle since ending up fifth behind the gifted trio of Uncaptured, Jocosity, and River Seven in the June 30 Clarendon Stakes.

“His shins started bothering him, so I put him away,” Biamonte recalled. “I’m just going to wait until next year with him. If I knew ahead of time what was going to happen with Double McTwist and Check Em, I would have brought him back. We just had so many in the same category.”

Biamonte is high on Its the Rush, who has been sidelined since earning his diploma in open maiden special company Aug. 25. Biamonte said he sent that son of Harlington down to Florida to give him some time to grow into himself.

“I think he might be something special,” Biamonte predicted.

Biamonte said he also shelved the 3-year-old filly Rose and Shine, a multiple stakes winner in 2011. Owned by James Sabiston, Rose and Shine went through the sophomore jinx this year, going winless in seven starts.

“Rose and Shine will come back next year,” Biamonte said. “It was a little tough for her this year.”

Stunning Stag retired

Trainer Sid Attard has announced the retirement of Stunning Stag, an 8-year-old gelding who earned nearly $1 million since Attard claimed him on behalf of his wife, Janice, for $40,000 in 2007.

“He retired sound,” Attard said. “We’re going to find a nice home for him.”

Stunning Stag won four stakes for the Attards, most notably the Grade 2 Autumn in 2010 and the Grade 3 Vigil in 2011. Overall, he won 11 of 38 starts and just more than $1 million.