Things are looking up for Woodbine Oaks contender Resentless.
The Tracjectory filly had a brilliant beginning to her campaign when zipping through the Fury Stakes in a rapid 1:21.66 defeating Roan Inish by five lengths. The win should have been followed by a prep race and a series of works to ready the filly for the mile and an eighth Oaks but a virus knocked Resentless to the sidelines.
Ian Howard and the relentless Resentless
“She got sick for awhile so we lost quite a bit of time,” explained conditioner Ian Howard. “So, we’re just trying to figure out where we are. Since she’s recovered she’s going well.”
Resentless romped in the Fury
While not exactly all systems go, Howard is giving the filly every chance to be ready for the Oaks.
“She’s training well,” stated Howard. “It’s not the ideal way you want to get ready for a big race but since she’s gone back to training everything looks good. She’s breezed twice since she got sick. She went five eighths and then seven eighths and we’ll probably let her do something Thursday morning to blow her out.”
She does love having her photo taken - three wins in six starts
Resentless worked Sunday when breezing five furlongs in 1:00.40 under exercise rider Matt Douglas in a sharp effort.
“Things are looking good,” said Howard. “I hate to lose that much time but there’s nothing we can do with that. She’s very talented and it looks like she’s recovered so we’ll watch her this week and make sure that everything is good and if she keeps going the way she’s going she’ll definitely run on Sunday.”
Resentless will be keeping an eye on her competition
Most of the expected eight horse field will be travelling nine furlongs for the first time (Ernfold and Isabeau's Ruckus have travelled 1M 1/8 once each on the turf) which Howard does not expect to be a problem for his fast filly.
“She went a mile and a sixteenth last fall pretty easily and it seems like she’s starting to relax,” Howard hummed. “I don’t think the distance is too big a worry but we’ll have to run to see. I’d prefer to have had more than one race to get ready for it.”
Could there be another walk to the winners enclosure on Sunday?
Resentless has been on the lead in all six of her lifetime starts which is a style she may have to concede to burner Embur’s Song in the Oaks. The Todd Pletcher trained foe has reeled off a pair Beyer figures in the high 90s in two lifetime starts while freewheeling on the front end. Despite those efforts, Howard is not convinced he needs to instruct jockey Chantal Sutherland to concede the lead.
“It’s a question of if she (Sutherland) can take a hold of her without too much of a fight and get her to back off then, yeah, we’d like to rate a bit more,” offered Howard. “But you can’t dramatically change the way she runs unless she’s maturing and getting a bit more rateable. She seems to be more rateable of late, but when they get in the gate and leave there running, she’s not the kind of horse you can just take back without some tactful persuasion. You’re not going to wrestle her off the lead if she’s keen.”
Howard addressed the ability of Embur’s Song as a challenge that Resentless must repel to prove her superiority.
“She (Resentless) is a very talented horse and a pleasure to train,’ began Howard. “That Pletcher filly looks a pretty talented horse too but you can’t just leave that one on the lead without giving a little bit of pressure if you’re going to beat it. The way our filly runs and the way that one runs it’s going to make for an interesting race.”
Expect Resentless to be this close to Embur's Song on Sunday
With the Oaks draw to be held on Thursday afternoon, Howard will be hoping that Resentless comes out of that final Thursday morning blowout in her usual peak form. No doubt the connections of Oaks closers Ernfold and Roan Inish will be hoping Howard’s filly can provide some company for Embur’s Song on Sunday.
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I spent a bit of time with Howard following this interview discussing one of my favourite local turf runners Bogue Chitto. The improving horse made a remarkable climb from the claiming ranks to top Stakes events including a second place finish in the G2 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine last season.
Bogue Chitto loves the grass
One of Bogue Chitto’s better results was a second place effort against Hollywood Hit who covered six furlongs in a manic 1:07.20 on the main track. You can read more about Bogue Chitto in a post from 2009 entitled, The Remarkable Climb of Bogue Chitto.
“Bogue Chitto is supposed to be back here Thursday,” advised Howard. “We turned him out for the winter after he bled quite badly in his last start. We had him back in training but he got hurt a little bit when we had to snatch him up with horses running in front of him and he suffered a high suspensory issue…nothing too bad but we had to stop him for a couple months and then swim him.”
Howard has been patient previously readying Bogue Chitto for the Woodbine turf and he’s hopeful to see his overachiever back in training soon.
“It ultrasounded well and looks good. He should be back terrorizing the exercise boy on Thursday or Friday,” laughed Howard. “It’s a different problem than what stopped him before and it’s healed fine so he should be okay.”
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It's an important weekend ahead for both the boys and the girls at Woodbine with the Plate Trial and the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on Sunday. CBC will televise the Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser and the Plate Trial in a special presentation from 4:30 pm ET - 5:30 pm ET. Post time for the Oaks is 5:16 pm ET (Race 9) while the Plate Trial is set for 4:41 pm ET (Race 8).
The Oaks is setting up to be an eight-horse field stacked with quality.
Embur's Song/Fares Farm/Todd Pletcher/Garrett Gomez
Ernfold/Jim and Susan Hill/Roger Attfield/Jim McAleney
Isabeau's Elegance/Classic Oaks Farm/Mark Casse/Corey Fraser
Moment of Majesty/Don Meehan, Curtis Joseph & Sue Leslie/Sue Leslie/Rob Landry
Oil Painting/Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings/Josie Carroll/Patrick Husbands
Resentless/Donald Ross/Ian Howard/Chantal Sutherland
Roan Inish/Robert Costigan/Carolyn Costigan/Davy Moran
Tee Game/Hendrie Stable/ Mike Doyle/Slade Callaghan
Fares Farm's Embur's Song, trained by Todd Pletcher, will try to win the Oaks in just her third lifetime start. In its previous 54 editions, no Oaks winner has made fewer starts. The Ontario-bred daughter of Unbridled's Song is two-fot-two after breaking her maiden by over 13 lengths at Keeneland in April, followed by an easy route win at Woodbine on May 22. Embur's Song has recorded Beyer speed figures of 99 and 98 in those two starts which is tops for this field.
Woodbine Entertainment Group reported the following news from the fast filly's conditioner:
"We know this will be a much tougher race than the last one," said Pletcher. "From a timing standpoint we're kind of asking her to do a lot in a short period of time. We're hoping that her natural ability can overcome maybe a less than ideal schedule. We've kind of had to go maiden, 'one other than' (first level allowance), then into a big race like this in a relatively short period of time. But she seems to be handling it all."
Garrett Gomez will ride Embur's Song in the Oaks. He was also aboard the bay filly for her maiden win.
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The Woodbine Oaks microsite reported the following blurbs on contenders Isabeau's Elegance and Ernfold
Isabeau's Elegance, a daughter of Dixie Union, has raced only three times, but most recently broke her maiden over one and one-sixteenth miles, edging possible Oaks rival Oil Painting on May 21 at Woodbine.
"We're behind the eight-ball a little bit," said Casse. "She doesn't have the experience, but she's coming along and I think she has a lot of ability. But this is going to be a very tough race."
Jockey Corey Fraser, seeking his first Oaks win, will be aboard.
Jim and Susan Hill's charge Ernfold zipped five furlongs in :59 4/5 on June 4 in preparation for Sunday’s $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser.
The Stormy Atlantic filly, who hasn’t missed the board in six career starts, worked head-to-head with multiple stakes winner Sand Cove.
Clocker Mike Lym caught the Roger Attfield trainee galloping out in 1:13 1/5.
In the recent La Lorgnette Stakes, Ernfold was a game second to Biofuel, who was co-champion two-year-old filly in Canada last year.
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The following Queen's Plate contenders worked recently:
* Mobilizer breezed 1Mile in 1:40.60 on the Woodbine poly on June 4, 2010. Rank 2/3
* Hollinger breezed 1Mile in 1:39.60 on the Woodbine poly on June 4, 2010. Rank 1/3
* Big Red Mike breezed 5F in 1:01.20 on the Woodbine poly on June 5, 2010. Rank 19/91
* Ghost Fleet breezed 7F in 1:27 on the Woodbine poly on June 5, 2010. Rank 1/2
* Kevin Rawks breezed 4F in 49.60 on the Woodbine poly on June 5, 2010. Rank 39/94
* Mobthewarrior breezed 5F in 1:03.80 on the Woodbine poly on June 6, 2010. Rank 61/75
* Giant's Tomb breezed 5F in 1:02.40 on the Woodbine poly on June 6, 2010. Rank 30/75
* Who We Gunna Call breezed 6F in 1:17.20 on the Woodbine poly on June 6, 2010. Rank 6/8
* D's Wando wprked 4F in 48.80 handily on the Woodbine poly on June 8, 2010. Rank 6/25
On Monday, I posted a blog regarding Queen's Plate contender Artic Fern. The very next day, the talented Kelsey Riley popped up with an even better inside look at the Mike Keogh runner on her TurfBeat blog.
Riley worked for owner/breeder Gus Schickendanz for four years and had a part in foaling Artic Fern. Riley has written previously for the Blood-Horse and will soon be off to Ireland to join the Darley Flying Start program. Click that link above to see some very cute photos of Artic Fern as a foal.
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I'll have another Woodbine Oaks profile posted tomorrow. I've previusly written about Roan Inish which was published on the Blood-Horse website. To read that post, please click here.