04/18/2012 12:57PM

Woodbine: Town Prize back with a bang

Michael Burns
Town Prize makes his belated 2012 debut winning the Woodstock.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Town Prize’s 3-year-old debut had been delayed on three occasions at three different racetracks.

But Town Prize’s return proved to be well worth waiting for, as the homebred 3-year-old was a romping winner of last Sunday’s $155,800 Woodstock Stakes under jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva for owner/breeder Bill Sorokolit and trainer Darwin Banach.

“He’s doing fantastic,” said trainer Darwin Banach, a couple of mornings after watching Town Prize score by a widening 5 1/4 lengths in the six-furlong Woodstock for 3-year-olds.

Town Prize, bred in Kentucky, had won twice here as a 2-year-old and was making his first start since cutting out a quick pace en route to a third-place finish in Gulfstream’s six-furlong Spectacular Bid back on Dec. 3.

“He was in Ocala, and was going to run once more at Gulfstream,” said Banach, who had entered Town Prize in the $60,000 Needles over five furlongs on turf on Feb. 4.

“I shipped him down, but he colicked on the day of the race. It was serious. He went to West Palm, and was going to undergo surgery, but he bounced out of it. He’s a pretty lucky horse.”

Back at his winter base of Nelson Jones Farm, Town Prize was entered in an overnight handicap over five furlongs on turf at Tampa on March 17 but again was a scratched.

Town Prize then was under serious consideration for Turfway Park’s six-furlong Hansel on March 24 but the decision was made to reserve him for the Woodstock.

The Marine, a 1 1/16-mile race here May 12, is the next open local stakes for 3-year-olds, but Town Prize is an unlikely participant.

“I honestly don’t believe he wants to go more than seven furlongs,” said Banach, who is looking at Pimlico’s Chick Lang Stakes for Town Prize’s next appearance. The six-furlong Chick Lang, a $100,000 race for 3-year-olds, will be run on Preakness Day, May 19.

“We’re going to space his races out, and hope he’ll continue to run like he did Sunday,” said Banach.

Classic Bryce to go a route

Sorokolit and Banach do have a 3-year-old two-turn prospect in Classic Bryce, a homebred who is a long-term candidate for the June 24 Queen’s Plate.

“I think he’s that kind of horse,” said Banach, who also had Classic Bryce at Nelson Jones. “He trained really well in Florida.”

Classic Bryce has been entered in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Wando, an open $100,000 overnight allowance race for 3-year-olds that has attracted a field of five.

In three starts as a 2-year-old, Classic Bryce won at 1 1/16 miles and then finished eighth, beaten just 5 1/4 lengths, in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

Campitello euthanized

Campitello, who had been a Queen’s Plate hopeful for owner Frank Romano and trainer Mike DePaulo, was euthanized last Sunday at the University of Guelph’s veterinary clinic.

DePaulo had sent Campitello there on Saturday when the horse developed a fever of 103 and diarrhea.

Although the initial prognosis was encouraging, Campitello took a turn for the worse early Sunday afternoon. An autopsy will be performed.

“We loved the horse,” said DePaulo. “We could have had a lot of fun with him.”