09/23/2013 1:41PM

Woodbine: Sparrowhawk, Denim Bay meet in oversubscribed allowance


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – A whopping 16 horses were entered in Wednesday’s Woodbine feature, a $52,500 allowance for Ontario-sired nonwinners of two races. Of the 14 who made it into the main body of the seven-furlong sprint, the most likely winners are Sparrowhawk and Denim Bay, who could vie for favoritism.

Sparrowhawk was a prominent second behind the gritty Fighting Chris in his lone start as a 2-year-old in October. Following a nine-month layoff, the gray or roan colt earned his diploma in a five-furlong maiden special weight race on Polytrack on Aug. 4, when he put up a 74 Beyer Speed Figure.

Sparrowhawk switched to turf Sept. 1 for the Vice Regent Stakes. After getting bumped at the break, he did okay to finish a fading fifth in the one-mile route for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Apprentice Skye Chernetz will ride Sparrowhawk for trainer Tom Bowden, who sent him out for a five-furlong breeze in a quick 1:00 last Wednesday.

Denim Bay, a 3-year-old trained by Paul Buttigieg, has raced six times at the meet. He hit the board in his first two outings in the spring before coming up empty in a turf experiment June 30.

Denim Bay graduated over 1 1/16 miles July 26 and then lost a seven-furlong allowance by a neck to Fighting Chris while earning his second straight 69 Beyer. He trailed a four-horse field most recently in the $125,000 Elgin Stakes, where he was beaten 4 1/4 lengths on a speed-favoring track and earned a 79 Beyer.

David Moran retains the mount on Denim Bay, who is proven when turning back from 1 1/16 miles to a sprint.

Philego was mired in a slump when he was claimed by owner-trainer Nick Gonzalez for just $10,000 on Aug. 18. He promptly turned things around in a Sept. 6 allowance, rallying wide from off a lively pace to finish a close third.

Skimmer Jim is making his first start on a synthetic surface after showing some ability at Northlands Park, where he graduated at first asking in a six-furlong dash July 12. He subsequently lost a one-mile allowance by a head and then finished up the track in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby, which contained two subsequent stakes winners. His new trainer is Steve Chircop, who has worked him twice on Polytrack.

Silent Yet Deadly wasn’t an impact player in his last two appearances, both on grass, but he was a good fourth in a Polytrack allowance won by Go Wes Go in July.

The also-eligible Bloody Caesar earned a 74 Beyer in his gate-to-wire tally over $25,000 maidens last time out Dec. 16.