09/20/2012 1:37PM

Woodbine: Welloiledmachine will test versatility in Overskate

Michael Burns
Welloiledmachine, winning the Halton Stakes on turf earlier this month, will switch to Polytrack for Saturday's Overskate..

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Welloiledmachine, winner of two stakes on the turf, will be looking for his first Polytrack stakes victory in Saturday’s $125,000 Overskate, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward.

“He’s in good order,” said assistant trainer Robbie Martin, who is running the show here while Mike Keogh takes a short vacation in England to attend a niece’s wedding and visit his ailing father, Norman Keogh. “He came out of that last race so good.”

Welloiledmachine’s latest was a solid score in the Halton, a one-mile turf race for products of the local yearling sale here Sept. 3.

His first stakes win for his groom Christine Windsor, who owns Welloiledmachine in partnership with her husband, Dennis Windsor, had come in last year’s Vice Regent, also at a mile on the turf and for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

“Polytrack doesn’t bother him,” said Martin. “He just happened to win his first stakes on turf, and everybody thinks he likes it better. He’s very versatile.”

The record bears out Martin’s comments as Welloiledmachine won over seven furlongs of Polytrack when making his second career start in 2010 and has performed well in two outings on the synthetic surface as a 4-year-old.

The first came in Welloiledmachine’s seasonal bow, in the 6 1/2-furlong off-the-turf prep for the Connaught Cup. He finished a surprising fourth.

And in his start prior to the Halton, Welloiledmachine wired his field while clearing his second allowance condition in an off-the-turf race over 1 1/8 miles.

“Hopefully on Saturday he’ll sit off it and just run by them,” said Martin.

Mobil Unit, a 5-year-old gelding who is owned by his breeder Gus Schickedanz in partnership with Don Howard, also will represent the Keogh stable in the Overskate.

While Mobil Unit has earned more than $390,000, placing in five stakes, including the 2010 Overskate and the same year’s Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, he remains eligible for his first open allowance condition.

“It’s tough to figure out his distance,” said Martin. “He’s run great at seven furlongs on the Polytrack, at 1 3/16 miles of dirt at Fort Erie, and at a mile on the turf.”

Mobil Unit drew the No. 1 post and will be ridden by Luis Contreras while Welloiledmachine will begin from the 4-hole under his regular rider Jim McAleney.

Courtville returns to Polytrack

Courtville, a 3-year-old gelding who is owned and trained by Laurie Silvera, will be looking for his first stakes win in the Overskate and is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Sept. 2 Vice Regent, his first attempt on turf.

“As usual, I like his chances,” said Silvera. “He didn’t perform well on turf. I’m going to give him that as an excuse. He’s traveling well, and the weight will be to his liking.”

Courtville gets in with 112 pounds and will be ridden by Omar Moreno, who was serving a three-day suspension this week that now will conclude with Sunday’s card after he received permission from the stewards to ride in the Overskate.

Silvera also was pleased when the Overskate came up with 10 entrants.

“I thought it may have been a small field,” said Silvera. “A good-sized field ensures a well-run race.”

Bibi’s Doll fracture ankle

The Silvera barn and owners Oodith Singh and Bibi Ullah suffered a serious setback here Thursday morning when Bibi’s Doll, a consistent 4-year-old filly, fractured an ankle.

“She was just galloping quietly,” said Silvera. “It’s career-ending and possibly life-threatening.’

Bibi’s Doll has compiled a record of 3-5-4 from 21 starts for earnings of $178,209 and had been entered Saturday under the second-level allowance clause in a $60,000 optional claiming race.

Excaper travels to Delaware

Trainer Ian Black, who was in Philadelphia last week to send out Stormy Lord for his second straight victory in the $250,000 Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President’s Cup, will be back on the road this Saturday with a different warrior.

Excaper, a Kentucky-bred who is owned by Richard Kaster and Frederick Wieting, left Thursday morning for Delaware Park and is among 11 entrants in the Kent Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds which offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $200,000.

Alex Solis, who is based here but makes frequent stakes forays south of the border, has picked up the mount on Excaper, who has placed in five stakes but will be seeking his first stakes win in the Kent.

Stormy Lord, who was ridden by Jim McAleney, also had been nominated to this Saturday’s $100,000 With Approval, a 1 1/8-mile overnight stakes for Ontario-bred 3-year-olds and upward which was deep-sixed after attracting just two entrants.

The next appropriate local spot for Stormy Lord would the $100,000 Labeeb, a one-mile overnight stakes which he won in 2011 and is scheduled for Oct. 28.

Black also will consider a trip to Belmont with Stormy Lord for the Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker, a 1 1/8-mile turf race on Oct. 13.

“We’ll have a look at it, if it’s not too tough,” said the trainer.

Sutherland will return for Carotene

Chantal Sutherland was a visitor here Thursday morning, making the rounds while accompanied by her brother Hugh Sutherland.

“I’m taking a break while they’re at Fairplex,” said the California-based Sutherland, who rode out the Del Mar meeting and plans to return to action when the Santa Anita begins on Sept. 28.

Sutherland also intends to be at Woodbine to ride Awesome Fire for her brother in the Oct. 6 Carotene, a $150,000 stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/8 miles of turf, and is hoping to secure other mounts here over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Trained by Nick Gonzalez,, Awesome Fire won the $250,000 Wonder Where over 1 1/4 miles of turf with Sutherland in the irons here July 29.

◗ The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has announced its new board of directors, recently elected for a three-year term.

The six owners elected were Veronica Attard, Conrad Cohen, Bill Diamant, Lynne Hindmarsh, Sam Lilma, and Sherry McLean.

The five trainers on the board will be Roger Attfield, Mark Casse, Nick Gonzalez, Sue Leslie, and Danny Vella.

Daily Racing Form handicapper Dan Illman will be in from New York to host handicapping seminars here at Woodbine on Saturday and at Greenwood on Sunday. Both one-hour sessions will begin at 11 a.m. and will be simulcast to Woodbine teletheatres Stonehouse Restaurant, in Scarborough; Winner’s Edge Sports Bar, in Mississauga; and Heritage Champions, in Markham. I will be joining Illman here on Saturday. Pre-registration is available at WoodbineRacetrack.com or by calling (416) 675-7223.