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Woodine: Nearctic truly an international cast
By Bill Tallon
Sunday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up, has attracted an eclectic field of 11 comprised of three European shippers, another three from the United States, and five from the local backstretch. The Nearctic is a Win and You’re In event for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Fire Lily, from Ireland; Night Carnation, from England; and As de Trebol, from Spain via France; are the overseas invaders. The 3-year-old Fire Lily and the 4-year-old Night Carnation are the only fillies in the lineup.
Heading north will be Hammers Terror, Next Question, and Super Chunky, while Artic Fern, Bear Tough Tiger, Big Band Sound, Grand Adventure, and Stormy Rush are the local candidates.
Bear Tough Tiger and Next Question both were supplemented to the Nearctic at a cost of $10,000.
Big Band Sound, the 121-pound highweight in the Nearctic, drew post 8.
The rest of the field, in post order with riders, will be Bear Tough Tiger, Justin Stein; As de Trebol, Mirco Dimuro; Stormy Rush, Jim McAleney; Night Carnation, John Velazquez; Grand Adventure, Javier Castellano; Hammers Terror, Garrett Gomez; Next Question, Ramon Dominguez; Artic Fern, Luis Contreras; Super Chunky, Sheldon Russell; and Fire Lily, Wayne Lordan.
City Wolf sheds blinkers for Durham Cup
City Wolf, the defending champion in the 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup, is difficult to gauge coming into Sunday’s running of the Grade 3, $150,000 stakes for 3-year-olds and up.
The Durham Cup, which is being run on the Canadian International Day program for the first time, attracted a field of six, including James Street and Alpha Bettor, the one-two finishers at 1 1/16 miles in the allowance prep here Sept. 21.
City Wolf, a homebred 5-year-old horse owned by Stronach Stable, finished fifth that day when sent off at 3-5 as part of the supposedly stronger half of an entry with fourth-place finisher Mobilizer, who also is back for the Durham Cup although the pair will run as separate betting interests.
“We’re taking the blinkers off him,” Baker said of City Wolf. “We’ve always been between a rock and a hard place. He doesn’t want to behave with blinkers on, and he pulls himself into defeat with blinkers off.”
City Wolf had finished second, beaten a half-length by Alpha Bettor, when donning blinkers for the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup in his start prior to the Durham Cup prep.
“He’s physically as good as he was last fall,” Baker said. “It’s hard to believe he couldn’t beat these horses.”
Illinois invader Vertiformer, trained by Wayne Catalano, rounds out the Durham Cup field.
Stormy Lord opts for Knickerbocker
Stormy Lord, who had been on the bubble for the Canadian International, left Thursday morning for Belmont and Saturday’s Knickerbocker.
Junior Alvarado has the mount on Stormy Lord for the Knickerbocker, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.
“The International is coming up very tough, ” said Ian Black, who trains the homebred Stormy Lord for David Willmot and partners.
“We could have stayed here and waited for the Labeeb, but it’s an overnight stakes and it might be off the turf and it might not go.”
The $100,000 Labeeb, a one-mile race that would be the final turf stakes of the meeting, will be run here Oct. 28.
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