11/01/2011 11:36AM

Woodbine: Stormy Lord points to River City at Churchill Downs


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The turf season wound up here last weekend and, somewhat appropriately, two trainers who have enjoyed mastery on the medium saddled the winners of the two stakes races offered.

Stormy Lord, trained by Ian Black, was winning his fourth stakes race of the year and third of the Woodbine meeting in Sunday’s $116,800 Labeeb, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that was run on yielding turf.

On Saturday, Oregon Lady recorded her first stakes score for trainer Roger Attfield in the River Memories, a one-mile race for fillies and mares that was run over soft going.

Stormy Lord, a 4-year-old gelding, was back on his home turf Sunday after capturing the PTHA President’s Cup over 1 1/8 miles of yielding going at Parx Racing.

“He’s one of the toughest horses I have around,” said Black, who watched Stormy Lord lay just off the pace before assuming command and holding off a game Hollinger to prevail by a half-length in the Labeeb. “He sits off horses kindly now; he’s happy to stalk. And, he’s very tough to get by when he gets the lead.”

Stormy Lord earned $72,000 in the Labeeb, boosting his seasonal bankroll to $396,200 based on four wins from six starts. He could be looking to add to those totals in the Nov. 19 River City at Churchill Downs.

The River City, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

“We’ll be taking him down to Payson Park for the winter, anyway, and it’s on the way down,” Black said.

Attfield, who trains Oregon Lady for owner Dick Bonnycastle, had been concerned with the condition of the turf heading into Saturday’s race.

“She’d run well on good and yielding turf,” Attfield said. “The course was quite soft when I walked it in the morning.

“But I could tell halfway through the race that she was traveling well.”

Oregon Lady, with Patrick Husbands in the irons, was recording her fourth career win, all on the turf, with three of her successes coming at one mile and the other at 1 1/16 miles.

“She’s pretty effective at a mile, but I think she’ll go further,” said Attfield, who is hoping to carry on with Oregon Lady’s campaign south of the border. “She’s lightly raced. She missed quite a bit of time this summer after she hurt her eye. There’s quite a good schedule for her down in Florida.”

Honimiere retired due to injury

Attfield had a setback late last week when Honimiere, an Irish-bred 5-year-old mare whom he trains for Stella Perdomo, suffered a career-ending injury during a breeze on the main track.

“She has a little bit of a suspensory tear,” Attfield said. “She’s an older mare, anyway, and she always had a bit of wear and tear, so she’ll be retired.”

Honimiere, who had raced in England before joining Attfield at Keeneland this spring, was a 7 1/2-length winner of the $103,400 Flaming Page over 1 1/2 miles of Polytrack in her last start and had been pointing to Saturday’s Maple Leaf Stakes.

The Maple Leaf, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares, offers a purse of $175,000.

“It’s a shame,” Attfield said. “It would have been a nice race for her.”

Honimiere retires with a record of 5-2-4 and earnings of $198,878 from 25 career starts.

Pierce aims to finish meet strong

Trainer Malcolm Pierce will be winding down his operations here over the next few weeks in preparation for his annual sojourn at Fair Grounds, where the meeting begins Nov. 24.

“I have horses I don’t need to run back here, who are strictly grass horses,” said Pierce, who has 25 stalls at the New Orleans racetrack. “There are races there for them the first week, and I’ll have to get them down there a week early to acclimatize.”

Pierce is far from through at Woodbine, however, and will be hoping to make some waves here Sunday with both Dead On and Aldous Snow on target for the Coronation Futurity.

Homebreds who race for Sam-Son Farm, both Dead On and Aldous Snow are 1 for 2 and will be traveling around two turns for the first time.

Dead On, a colt by Awesome Again, finished fourth when debuting over six furlongs of turf and then was a sharp winner over seven furlongs of Polytrack.

“I feel good about him getting the distance,” Pierce said. “When he breezes, you can’t pull him up. I think the further, the better.”

Aldous Snow, a colt by Theatrical, was a winner first crack out over one mile of firm turf and then went postward as the favorite in the Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-breds that was run on a soft course.

His afternoon was short-lived, however, as rider Eurico da Silva was struck just above the left ankle by the hoof of Secret Consultant, who suffered a fatal breakdown.

Da Silva, despite being in intense pain, managed to pull up Aldous Snow before having to let go of the reins and falling to the racetrack with a fracture that would put an end to his season.

Aldous Snow was quickly collared and was none the worse for wear.

“I think he’s more of a grass horse,” Pierce said. “But for next year’s business, we need to try him on Polytrack, so we can make a plan.”

◗ Bonnie Eshelman has turned in her trainer’s license and has started working as a jockey’s agent for journeyman Sunny Singh. Eshelman, under her former name Bonnie Csuzdi, rode from 1972 through 1987, competing at various tracks in Canada and the United States.

She went on to train horses, but spent most of her recent years as a jockey agent. Her clients have included the late Alan Cuthbertson, who won numerous titles in Western Canada.

◗ Live television coverage of Friday’s Breeders’ Cup races will be available on TSN from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup races will be carried by TSN from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and by TSN2 from 3:30 to 7:15 p.m.

Woodbine is planning an 11-race card for Saturday, with first post at 1 p.m. and the last race scheduled for 6:22 p.m.