04/19/2013 11:35AM

Woodbine: Woodstock contender Black Hornet has kept classy company

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Going strictly by the company lines, the speedy Black Hornet stands out in Sunday’s $150,000 Woodstock Stakes, an open six-furlong test for 3-year-olds at Woodbine.

Black Hornet made each of his three starts last fall. He rallied wide to beat $40,000 maidens traveling six furlongs in his Oct. 8 opener. About a month later, he earned a big 85 Beyer Speed Figure when a front-running second in a six-furlong allowance won by Clearly Now, who went on to take the Grade 3 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream.

A subsequent allowance race failed to fill, so trainer Pat Parente opted to send Black Hornet to Aqueduct for the Dec. 9 Traskwood Stakes. After leading the way for a half-mile, he faded to finish a distant third behind Kentucky Derby prospect Vyjack and Always in a Tiz.

“He was fit and ready, so we just looked around for the closest race to run him in,” Parente recalled. “It was a little longer than I would have liked, seven-eighths, and it came up real sloppy, so we just let him do his thing, and not abuse him. He wound up taking on a couple of monsters. He ran okay. We just wanted to run him one more time before the end of the year.”

After getting the rest of December and all of January off, Black Hornet went back into training at a local farm Feb. 1, before shipping back into the track.

“We did the best we can to get him ready for this race,” said Parente. “He’s going into it very good. I expect him to run well.”

Jesse Campbell will ride Black Hornet, an Ontario-bred gelding by Pioneering, was a mere $4,500 yearling purchase at a local sale.

“We picked him out, and got lucky,” said Parente. “He’s a very good-sized horse, with a real strong rear end. He looks the part.”

Bob Tiller, who led the trainer standings after the first month of the 2012 Woodbine meet, entered a trio of comebackers: Power Phil, Kitten Candy, and Bar Magic.

Power Phil also has an encouraging reference. In his last outing in early December, he lost the restricted Kingarvie Stakes by a nose to Pyrite Mountain, who subsequently ran well in allowances at Gulfstream and Keeneland.

Kitten Candy put up a solid 82 Beyer when he graduated in his fifth and final 2-year-old appearance Dec. 9.

Bar Magic, who was supplemented for $3,000, was claimed for $40,000 from his maiden victory in November.

Five Iron, trained by Brian Lynch, is back in action on short rest without blinkers off a fading sixth in a turf allowance at Keeneland.