07/11/2011 1:27PM

Woodbine: Stormy Lord won't be held back

Michael Burns
Stormy Lord drew the outside post for the Ontario Jockey Club.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Stormy Lord failed to respond to rating tactics in the Grade 2 Highlander Stakes, and will go back to a more unencumbered style Wednesday at Woodbine in the $100,000 Ontario Jockey Club Stakes, a seven-furlong turf sprint for Ontario-breds.

Stormy Lord, one of the leading local 3-year-olds last year, was victorious in his season opener. Over a very soft course, Stormy Lord led throughout the seven-furlong, Grade 2 Connaught Stakes.

Most recently in the six-furlong Highlander, Stormy Lord was never in the hunt and ended up trailing the 10-horse field. Trainer Ian Black said he regretted his instructions to Jim McAleney, who rode Stormy Lord in the Highlander.

“We said to Jimmy, ‘Whatever you do, don’t go head and head with Essence Hit Man,’ ” Black explained. “If you look at the chart, he was in front at the first call, and then Jimmy took a hold, and in 50 yards, the whole field passed him. I should have let him go out there and run his own race. He probably couldn’t have run with [Essence Hit Man] anyway. We experimented, and it didn’t work out.”

Stormy Lord drew the outside post in the seven-horse Ontario Jockey Club field, and Black said the diminutive gelding doesn’t have to be on the lead to be effective.

“We’ll let him jump out of there, and settle where he can,” Black said.

Trainer Roger Attfield entered two Canadian champions, Sand Cove and Hollinger.

Sand Cove, last year’s champion older male runner, is coming off a workmanlike win over a modest field in the Steady Growth, a two-turn restricted stakes on Polytrack. He wound up third in last year’s Ontario Jockey Club.

Hollinger is winless in just four starts since he was crowned champion 2-year-old in 2009.

Trainer Mark Frostad entered two Sam-Son Farm comebackers, Hotep and Cross Every Bridge.

Hotep, a son of A.P. Indy and Woodbine Oaks winner Eye of the Sphynx, is trying the grass for the first time following a nine-month layoff. He was a pace-pressing second in the 2010 Queen’s Plate.

Cross Every Bridge made all three of his starts on the grass in 2009. The front-runner scored in maiden and optional-claiming company, before coming up empty in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes.

Officeinthevalley defeated optional-claiming company in his last race on Polytrack. He took the restricted Vice Regent Stakes on the grass last summer.