09/12/2011 12:31PM

Woodbine: A walk down the aisle, a trip to the winner's circle

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Michael Burns
Reconnect (left) wins the La Prevoyante. "I can honestly tell you, I don’t really know which one I was more excited about," said trainer Ashlee Brnjas, who got married Saturday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – There are memorable days, and then there are days like the one experienced last Saturday by Ashlee Brnjas.

In her fifth year as private trainer for the Colebrook Farm of her father, John Brnjas, the 30-year-old Ashlee Brnjas was married Saturday afternoon and put the icing on the wedding cake when Reconnected became her first stakes winner here in the $125,000 La Prevoyante.

“I can honestly tell you, I don’t really know which one I was more excited about,” Brnjas said. “I was walking down the aisle and literally half an hour later, I won the race.”

Brnjas’s husband, Jack Boem, is involved in the film business, and she couldn’t have imagined a better script for her wedding day.

After being married at her family home on the Colebrook property, Brnjas was involved with the traditional wedding photographs when she suddenly became aware that something was brewing in the tent that had been set up to accommodate some 300 guests.

“We’d set up a big screen in the reception tent to watch the races,” Brnjas said. “I was standing out on a hill when I heard screaming coming from there.

“It was the funniest thing you’d ever seen. All my six bridesmaids were watching it, and they all came running out barefoot screaming ‘You won it, you won it.’ ”

Reconnect was one of three Colebrook horses in the La Prevoyante, along with Novo and Tabanka, and was making her turf debut in the one-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

In her most recent start, here Aug. 13, the daughter of Niigon had been beaten 5 1/4 lengths as the fifth-place finisher in a restricted first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles.

“In her last start, she was sick within a day or two,” Brnjas said. “All my babies were sick, and she fell right in line. But she was back to herself, feeling good.

“There was a little question about the grass – the Niigons are touch and go on turf. But I’d breezed all three on the turf, and they all went very well. There was no reason not to enter all of them.”

Novo finished sixth at 68-1, but was beaten just three lengths, while Tabanka was another half-length back in seventh at 90-1.

Reconnect, meanwhile, returned $142.90 and was the second major stakes upsetter of the week for Omar Moreno, who had piloted Bug’s Boy to a 74-1 score in the Halton here on Labor Day.

Reconnect was the third winner in as many days for Brnjas after Captain Casual connected at 20-1 in a $20,000 conditioned claimer on Thursday and Seen It All Before captured an Ontario-sired maiden race Friday.

Seen It All Before, out of the Colebrook mare A Familiar Face, is a full brother to Reconnect and was winning over one mile and 70 yards after finishing a closing fourth in his seven-furlong debut.

Two turns may be next for Indian Evening

Indian Evening, back on home ground after finishing a distant third in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on Aug. 15, made short work of his four rivals in Sunday’s $152,700 Swynford.

Racing for Vinery Stable and trainer Josie Carroll, Indian Evening scored by three lengths in the seven-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds to give jockey Tyler Pizarro his second of three winners on the card and his fourth stakes of the meeting.

“I saw him on the farm this winter and thought he was an impressive individual, even then,” said Carroll, who has four horses for the Vinery outfit here.

“He was my pick of the babies, and I was fortunate that they elected to send him to me here.”

Indian Evening had his first local breeze in mid-May and was half-past ready when he debuted with a sharp win at six furlongs July 10.

“I expected a lot from this horse,” Carroll said. “He trained strongly, from the day he came in.”

Indian Evening’s second start, in the 6 1/2-furlong Saratoga Special, was run in the slop, and the colt got caught up in a speed duel while racing wide.

“It was a bad sloppy racetrack, and that kind of took him out of his element,” Carroll said. “He was one of four horses chasing, and he dropped back on the turn.

“But he regrouped and came back on. I wasn’t seeing many horses doing that that day.”

The manner in which Indian Evening relaxed and came on to take the Swynford gives Carroll cause to believe that longer trips will be within his scope.

“I’d certainly like to try him somewhere around two turns,” Carroll said.

Inglorious gets easy Woodbine work

Inglorious, who returned from Saratoga last week after staying on following her disappointing effort in the Aug. 20 Alabama, had her first breeze back here Monday morning.

“We wanted to give her an easy work,” said Carroll, who watched Inglorious go four furlongs in 48.20 seconds and gallop out five furlongs in 1:02 under regular rider Luis Contreras. “We’ll set her down next week, then make our decision on where to go from there. The Selene’s a possibility.”

Inglorious, winner of the Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate, is one of 12 nominees to the Selene, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies here Sept. 25 that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $250,000.

Riley Ripasso done for season

Trainer Deborah England had hoped to be represented in two of the three important turf stakes here Sunday, Woodbine Mile Day, with Riley Ripasso nominated to the Grade 1, $500,000 Northern Dancer for 3-year-olds and up and Woolly Bear to the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian for fillies and mares.

But Woolly Bear will be the barn’s only stakes starter as Riley Ripasso has come up with a problem that has ended his campaign.

“I had to stop on him and give him some time,” England said. “I’ll run out of time before I can get him back.”

Riley Ripasso, a 4-year-old colt, had become a stakes winner in his last start, which came in the $100,000 With Approval for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and up over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

As for Wooly Bear, that New York-bred 5-year-old breezed five furlongs on the turf training course in 59.20 under regular rider Richard Dos Ramos here Sunday in preparation for the Canadian over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

“It was a really nice work,” England said.

Woolly Bear last saw action here July 23, when she was a front-running winner competing under second-level allowance terms over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

“There’s been nowhere else to run her,” said England, who had entered Woolly Bear in the 1 1/16-mile Canadian prep that failed to fill.