08/22/2012 2:16PM

Woodbine: Solid Appeal seeks better trip in Ontario Colleen

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Racing luck figures to play an important role in Saturday’s $150,000 Ontario Colleen, a one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies that attracted a bulky field of 12.

Trainer Reade Baker is hoping he gets a fair shake with Solid Appeal, a Kentucky-bred whom he trains for Jim and Susan Hill.

Solid Appeal had shown plenty of promise while finishing among the top three in four of her first six starts, with those efforts including a third in last year’s 1 1/16-mile Mazarine. But she didn’t put it all together until she tried the turf for the first time in a seven-furlong maiden race here July 8.

Four weeks later, Solid Appeal trailed the field of 11 through much of a 6 1/2-furlong first-level allowance before rallying furiously to end fourth, beaten just 1 1/4 lengths.

“I really don’t understand how she got so far out of it, and then she got into trouble,” Baker said.

“It’s back a little quicker for her than I’d like. But she really seems to have found a home for herself on turf, and she’ll like the flat mile.”

Jesse Campbell retains the mount on Solid Appeal for the Ontario Colleen, which is headed by the Fair Hill shipper Colonial Flag.

Trained by Michael Matz, Colonial Flag was prominent early before weakening to finish last of eight last time out in the Grade 1 American Oaks over 1 1/4 miles of turf at Hollywood Park on July 16.

Four weeks earlier, Colonial Flag finished second in the Grade 3 Regret, a one-mile turf race at Churchill Downs.

Centre Court, the Regret winner, has come back to capture the Grade 2 Lake George and then finish second in the Grade 2 Lake Placid over Saratoga’s turf course.

Baker headed to Northlands

Baker will be in Edmonton on Saturday to saddle Bear’s Taurus and Speyside for the Canadian Derby.

The Canadian Derby, an open 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds at Northlands Park, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $200,000.

Bear’s Taurus and Speyside both are owned by Alberta-based Danny Dion of Bear Stable fame.

Woodbine-based Quincy Welch has the mount on Bear’s Taurus, and Fernando Perez will be in from Hastings to ride Speyside.

Bear’s Taurus and Speyside, who will be making their first starts on dirt, both are coming out of first-level allowance races here on the turf course.

The Kentucky-bred Bear’s Taurus finished fifth in open company, beaten seven lengths, over one mile July 29.

“We operated on his throat last year, in June, and he started to work really well, for the first time in his life,” Baker said.

Bear’s Taurus was facing tough company in that July 29 allowance race, won by the top turf 3-year-old Excaper.

“He was impeded at the eighth pole,” Baker said. “He should have been second, in my belief. As for the mile and three-eighths, I don’t see anything physically to stop him from doing that.”

Speyside has raced as far as a 1 1/4 miles, finishing second to the older Control when making his last start in Ontario-sired company.

“I don’t think the distance will bother him in the least,” Baker said. “The question mark for both of them is the dirt.’

While Baker’s Canadian Derby entrants will not be among the top choices, Woodbine-based horses have captured four of the last 10 runnings, with Lady Shari prevailing in 2002, Organ Grinder in 2004, Shillelagh Slew in 2006, and Matt’s Broken Vow in 2008.

Bear It’s Time retired after injury

Bear It’s Time, a 4-year-old filly who was a multiple stakes winner for Baker and the Bear, has been retired after being injured during a routine jog on the main track here recently.

“She ripped a ligament,” Baker said. “She never went unsound – we just know she’s not right and couldn’t take a chance. She’ll be a broodmare.”

Bear It’s Time had suffered a similar injury last fall and was making her first start in more than 8 1/2 months when an encouraging fourth in the Grade 3 Ontario Matron over 1 1/16 miles here July 22.

Baker had been hoping to run Bear It’s Now in last Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Belle Mahone or the 1 1/16-mile Algoma on Sept. 3 when the problem was detected.

Bear It’s Time, a daughter of Philanthropist who was purchased for $7,000 at the local select yearling sale, retires with a record of 4-0-2 and earnings of $377,20 from nine starts. Her wins included the seven-furlong Lady Angela for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, the 1 1/16-mile Bison City for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, and the 1 1/16-mile Classy ’n Smart for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

Arravale full sister set for debut

Carmel Beauty, a full sister to recent Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Arravale, is scheduled to make her first start Saturday in a maiden race at seven furlongs on the turf here.

Owned by her breeder, Bruce Lunsford, Carmel Beauty has been here with trainer Barbara Minshall since the spring.

“Her works on Poly are average,” Minshall said. “We’ve haven’t been able to turf-train her, but she’s bred to run on turf and we finally got there.”

Arravale, bred by Lunsford and sold for $190,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, was Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion turf female in 2006 for owner Bob Costigan and trainer Mac Benson.

Her first foal, Nancy O, finished a respectable fifth after being forced to steady on the turn in a maiden race over the same course and distance here last Saturday.

Trainer Carolyn Costigan entered Nancy O in Friday’s maiden turf race, but the filly wound up second on the also-eligible list.

Entires open for handicapping contest

The entry box remains open for this weekend’s Woodbine Thoroughbred Handicapping Challenge, which will take place in the trackside tent.

The entry fee is $250, and contestants will play with $40 on each of the Saturday and Sundays cards, based on $10 win-place bets. The tracks available will be Woodbine and Saratoga on Saturday and Sunday; Monmouth on Saturday; and Fort Erie on Sunday.

Prize money of $50,000, based on 200 entries, will be up for grabs, and three berths in the 2012 Daily Racing Form /NTRA National Handicapping Championships and to a “super qualifier” at Hawthorne are available to be won by National Handicapping Tour members.

For more information, or to register, visit woodbineentertainment.com or call (416) 675-7223.