07/26/2012 4:02PM

Woodbine: Strait of Dover tops 15 Breeders' Stakes nominees


Fifteen horses have been nominated to the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. The race will be run here Aug. 5.

Strait of Dover, winner of the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate here June 24, passed on the second leg of the Triple Crown, the July 15 Prince of Wales on Fort Erie’s dirt surface, to point for the Breeders’.

Dixie Strike, the filly who won the Prince of Wales, is nominated to the Breeders’ but is heading for Saratoga’s Alabama.

Ultimate Destiny and Quaesitor, the second- and fourth-place finishers in the Prince of Wales, are Breeders’ candidates along with Irish Mission.

Winner of the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks on June 3 and second in the Queen’s Plate, Irish Mission finished sixth in the Prince of Wales but is proven on turf.

Aldous Snow, who also has shown a fondness for the grass, has been aiming for the Breeders’ since winning a first-level allowance race over 1 1/16 miles of turf on Queen’s Plate Day.

Jenna’s Wabbit handles weight

Jenna’s Wabbit made light of his 128-pound impost here Wednesday evening, leading throughout the seven-furlong Deputy Minister to score by 1 3/4 lengths over five other Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

“I’m glad that’s over with,” trainer Ralph Biamonte said Thursday morning. “I was concerned about the weight. He’s a big, strong horse. I thought he’d handle it. But until they do, you never know.”

Jenna’s Wabbit ran his record to 3 for 3 this season. His other wins came in the Bold Ruckus for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds  at six furlongs on the turf and in the six-furlong Achievement for Ontario-breds on the main track.

“He probably went into this race mentally better than any of his others,” Biamonte said. “He relaxed and changed leads for the first time on the Polytrack. He changed leads on the turf. Now he’ll just get a little break and point for the Vice Regent.”

The $125,000 Vice Regent, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds, will be run here Sept. 2.

No turf racing next three weeks

Woodbine’s turf courses will be getting a break next month.

The turf training track closed July 26 and will remain so through Aug. 14. There will be no turf racing Aug. 6-17.
While the turf training course break is an annual event, the main turf closing is not.

“It’s something we decided the turf needs, especially this year, with the lack of rain earlier this summer,“ said Steve Lym, racing secretary and a director of racing for the Woodbine Entertainment Group. “We want to have it good for a fall campaign.”

Sean Gault, Woodbine’s senior manager, racing surfaces, said the turf course would be cleared of dead grass and aerified, a process that involves punching small holes several inches apart to a depth of five or six inches.

“It helps loosen it up and gets water and air down into the roots,” Gault said. “It’s basic lawn maintenance.”