07/01/2011 11:22AM

Woodbine: Spooky Kitten peaking for Bison City


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Spooky Kitten gave the brilliant Inglorious a run for her money in the Woodbine Oaks, a performance that makes her the one to fear most in Sunday’s $250,000 Bison City Stakes.

The 1 1/16-mile Bison City follows the Oaks as the second leg of the Canadian triple tiara, a lucrative series for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies. The race lost some of its luster when Inglorious skipped it in favor of a successful run in last Sunday’s Queen’s Plate, but there are some promising fillies in the six-horse field.

Spooky Kitten has come a long way in the relatively short time since her debut victory over $15,000 maidens in March at Turfway. She subsequently romped in a $20,000 claimer at Keeneland and was claimed by trainer Dale Romans. Romans sent her out to finish an unlucky fifth here in the La Lorgnette Stakes, with Mark Casse as her trainer. Prior to the June 5 Woodbine Oaks, Romans sold Spooky Kitten to owner Roddy Valente, who collected second money of $100,000 after she set a slow pace en route to a three-quarter-length loss in the Oaks.

Casse, who has remained the filly’s trainer, said he expected Spooky Kitten to run lights-out in the nine-furlong Oaks.

“She had trained good,” Casse said. “She had a troubled trip in the [La Lorgnette], and we thought that she could make Inglorious run for her money. She’s appropriately named, but she’s starting to get confident. When we first got her, when you raised your hand around her, she’d run to the back of the stall. She was scared to death. Putting a bridle on her was quite a feat, but she’s really come around.”

Casse was thrilled with Spooky Kitten’s five-furlong breeze in 1:02.60 on June 23.

“She had an unbelievable work,” Casse said. “She went head-and-head with Roxy Gap, but I told the rider to drop Spooky Kitten’s head and let her gallop out, whereas Roxy Gap was shut down after the work. He didn’t get Spooky Kitten pulled up until the three-eighths pole.”

The Tom Proctor-trained Marketing Mix was a stalking third in the Oaks in her first venture around two turns, and she’ll go long again in the Bison City. She was previously second to Roxy Gap in the Fury Stakes.

Bear It’s Time won her May 23 season opener in the seven-furlong Lady Angela Stakes before finishing a tired sixth in the Oaks. Trainer Reade Baker felt running back in 13 days proved to be too much for Bear It’s Time in the Oaks.

“I expect her to run much better,” said Baker.