05/12/2011 2:44PM

Woodbine: Wildcat Marie seeks fourth straight in Hendrie


ETOBICOKE, Ontario − Wildcat Marie seeks her fourth straight victory Saturday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Hendrie Stakes. A 6 1/2-furlong sprint, the Hendrie has drawn a stellar field that also includes Grade 1 winner Dr. Zic and champion Indian Apple Is.

Wildcat Marie was claimed for $40,000 last August by trainer Marty Drexler. She cleared the first two allowance conditions in the fall and then took the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes in her season opener. In the six-furlong Whimsical, she bumped the speedy Waccamaw at the break before making all the running under Tyler Pizarro. Her time of 1:09.11 translated into a 93 Beyer Figure.

Drexler said he felt Wildcat Marie wasn’t cranked up for the April 23 Whimsical.

“We struggled with the weather all spring, and I don’t like training her on the Polytrack too much,” Drexler said. “The dirt on the training track wasn’t always in good shape, so when and where to work her was tricky. When we finally let her go towards the end, I didn’t know if that was enough.”

Drexler anticipates another strong showing from Wildcat Marie in the Grade 3 Hendrie.

“I would say that she’s much tighter going into this one,” Drexler said. “She had a big breeze last weekend. If anything, I think it’s the extra half-a-furlong that could be a little tricky for her. The way she ran last time, Tyler said she wasn’t stopping any time soon. I think she’s a better horse this year than last year.”

Dr. Zic, the runner-up in last year’s Hendrie, also does her optimum running on the front end. She won the 2010 Madison Stakes, and was recently third in that Grade 1 fixture at Keeneland.

Indian Apple Is, last year’s champion female sprinter in Canada, was a late-closing third in her season opener in the Whimsical, in her first start under Luis Contreras.

“She only basically ran the last quarter of a mile,” said trainer Bob Tiller. “Some thought it was a sluggish race, but I thought it was a tremendous race. Luis really didn’t know her, and I would hope that he learned a lot. She’s not an easy mare to ride.”

Ariana D was a charging second in the Whimsical, in her first outing since an impressive come-from-behind score in the Nov. 21 Bessarabian Stakes.

Embur’s Song broke the mile and a sixteenth Polytrack record at Keeneland April 22, when she captured the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes.