EARLY LOOK AT THE PATTISON CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL (12)
Horse / Owner / Trainer / Jockey
Bullards Alley – Wayne Spalding and Faron McCubbins – Tim Glyshaw - Eurico Rosa da Silva
Can’thelpbelieving (IRE) – Albert Frassetto – H. Graham Motion - TBA
Chemical Charge (IRE) – Qatar Racing Limited – Ralph Beckett - Oisin Murphy
Enterprising – Maxis Stable – Michael J. Maker - Rafael Hernandez
Erupt (IRE) – Flaxman Holdings, Ltd. – H. Graham Motion - TBA
Flamboyant (FR) – David Bienstock and Charles Winner – Patrick Gallagher - Brice Blanc
Hunter O’Riley – Shay, Sean and Ryan, Michael J. – James J. Toner - TBA
Johnny Bear – Colebrook Farms and Bear Stables, Ltd. – Ashlee Brnjas - Luis Contreras
Messi (GER) – Gestut Brummerhof – H. Graham Motion - TBA
Oscar Nominated – Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey – Michael J. Maker - Julien Leparoux
Postulation – Runnymede Racing LLC – Edward L. Graham - TBA
Seeking Albert – Robert Marzilli – Michael P. De Paulo - David Moran
ENTERPRISING AND OSCAR NOMINATED IN FINE FETTLE FOR INTERNATIONAL
Trainer Michael Maker launched a pair of highly successful invasions of Woodbine last year as he sent out Sir Dudley Digges to win the $1 million Queen’s Plate and Al’s Gal to take the $1 million E.P. Taylor for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
On Sunday, Maker will be looking to add a Canadian International to his portfolio when he sends out Oscar Nominated and Enterprising.
Oscar Nominated, claimed for $75,000 as a two-year-old, is the latest Maker success story to be acquired via that route, joining several including Bigger Picture (who is bound for this year’s Breeders’ Cup) and Da Big Hoss.
In 18 starts for Maker, Oscar Nominated has recorded four stakes wins and earned more than $1 million and is coming off a game win over fellow Canadian International candidate Postulation in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Turf over 1 1/2 miles at Kentucky Downs.
Oscar Nominated was ending an eight-race drought that day, which included three seconds and a pair of third-place finishes.
“We were looking to keep him a little further off the pace,” said Maker, believing that the four-year-old’s form had been compromised on several occasions by racing too close to the front end, including his eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Arlington Million.
With Julien Leparoux taking over at Kentucky Downs, Oscar Nominated got the kind of trip Maker had been wanting.
Enterprising also competed in the Kentucky Cup Turf, finishing ninth.
“It was kind of a soft turf course that day, and he didn’t care for it,” said Maker.
Purchased privately last year by Sidney Karmia for his Maxis Stable, Enterprising has been a very pleasant surprise since joining Maker’s outfit with three stakes wins including a Grade 2 and Grade 3 at Fair Grounds this winter.
Enterprising also ran in the Arlington Million, finishing a closing fourth at 80-1.
“He was unlucky to lose the Million, I thought,” said Maker, noting that Enterprising had rallied inside while in tight quarters.
Leparoux retains the mount on Oscar Nominated with Woodbine-based Rafael Hernandez getting the call on Enterprising.
Maker and the Ramseys also will be seeking a repeat in Sunday’s E.P. Taylor with their hopeful this year being Kitten’s Roar.
Transferred to Maker from trainer Chad Brown last year, Kitten’s Roar is coming off a fitting victory in the $330,000 Ramsey Farm Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
“She’s been a great filly,” said Maker. “She’s been on a steady upward swing. We’ve been looking at this race since the summer.”
Jose Ortiz will return aboard Kitten’s Roar and also has the mount on Gorgeous Kitten for the Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Derby, the 1 1/8 mile race for three-year-olds which is part of the Canadian International undercard.
Gorgeous Kitten, owned by the Ramseys, has made his last five starts on turf, including second-place finishes in two Grade 3 turf stakes at Arlington.
“He’s had some good races on the synthetic," added Maker, noting that Gorgeous Kitten broke his maiden over one mile of Turfway’s Polytrack this spring and finished third there in the 1 1/16 mile Rushaway Stakes.
MOTION TRAINEES PREPPING FOR BIG WEEKEND
Defending Pattison Canadian International champion Erupt and his stablemates are putting the finishing touches on their preparations for a big stakes weekend at Woodbine Racetrack.
Erupt, Messi and possible starter Can’thelpbelieving will fit in one more work on Monday at Motion’s Fair Hill, Maryland base before shipping to Woodbine mid-week. That work will help determine if Can’thelpbelieving will be joining the Motion entourage north of the border.
New to the Motion stable, European invader Erupt has made a good first impression on the veteran trainer since arriving after last month’s Sword Dancer Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga.
“He’s a very straightforward horse to be around, very easy to handle in the morning and he’s very workman-like when he goes about his breezes so I’ve been very happy with him,” said Motion of the Irish-bred Dubawi five-year-old, who is owned by Flaxman Holdings Ltd.
Like Erupt, Messi has past success over Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor Turf Course winning last year’s Sky Classic (Grade 2) Stakes and hit the board in the Northern Dancer (Grade 1) Stakes last time out despite an unlucky trip.
“I think he’s been a horse that runs anywhere, but I do think he seems to run well at Woodbine, which would make sense because he’s more of a European-type horse,” said Motion of the German-bred seven-year-old New Approach gelding he has campaigned over the past three years for owner/breeder Gestut Brummerhof.
“He’s been a real barn favourite; he’s a lovely horse to be around,” said Motion. “He went through a nasty episode a couple of years ago after he ran at Churchill in the fall where he almost lost an eye. He ended up missing some time over the winter, but other than that he’s been very straightforward – a lovely horse to be around, the kind of horse everybody wants to get on every day.
"I think he seems in really good form. I think he’s been a little unlucky, to be honest, in his last two starts. Even though he’s getting a little older, he seems to be very competitive.”
While Erupt will have a shot at joining a short list of horses to win the Pattison Canadian International in consecutive years, Motion will be aiming for his first-ever victory in the historic race after coming close with Up With the Birds, a runner-up to 2015 champion Cannock Chase. Past back-to-back winners of the race include Shepperton (1942-1943), George Royal (1965-1966) and Joshua Tree, who won the 2012 and 2013 editions for different trainers.
The beautifully bred four-year-old filly Quidura could also be looking to score her own Canadian stakes double for Motion next weekend. Following her victory in the Canadian Stakes (Grade 2) last month at Woodbine, Gestut Faehrhof’s homebred Dubawi daughter is expected to compete in next Sunday’s $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (Grade 1).
“I think we kind of had to choose one or the other, and I would imagine that more than likely we’re going to run [in the E.P. Taylor] and probably not the Breeders’ Cup,” said Motion of plans beyond Woodbine’s 1-1/4 mile fillies and mares turf stakes. “I wouldn’t totally rule it out, but I think it’s unlikely that we would do both.”
HUNTER O'RILEY BRINGS INTERNATIONAL FIELD TO 12
Sean Shay and Michael J. Ryan's Hunter O'Riley, 16-1 winner of the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Saratoga in July, will make his first start in Canada when he bursts from the gate in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International on Sunday, October 15.
Trained by James Toner, the four-year-old Tiz Wonderful roan offers consistent form with a record of 4-2-4 from 16 starts and $426,460 in purse earnings. The well-bred fellow boasts tremendous staying power competing at distances from 1 1/6-miles up to two-miles.
In the Bowling Green, Hunter O'Riley, with Florent Geroux up, rallied from last of seven to win a three-horse photo by a neck over Bigger Picture, who was a neck better than Sadler's Joy. The latter horse came back to win the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.
Toner will be saddling his second International starter having previously sent out Gritty Sandie to a sixth-place finish in the 1999 running, which was won by local hero Thornfield.