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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fast, fair: Inner Dirt meet starts at Woodbine

While Secretariat may be wincing in horse heaven, the track on which the great horse completed his career made its debut as a thoroughbred dirt surface yesterday at Woodbine.
Formerly the inner turf course at 50-year-old Woodbine and then a harness track until this past week, the inner dirt surface - seven-furlongs in circumference - is the temporary track for the TBreds until late August, early September while Polytrack is installed.
It was a remarkable turnaround from harness surface to thoroughbred dirt and while the track started off sizzling fast with its times, the surface played fairly for the most part.
SPREAD THE NEWS became the first SW to his sire Cat's at Home when winning the Clarendon Stakes for Ontario-foaled babies. The leggy gelding earned a low 62 Beyer Figure and defeated maiden Mutakinmove by a long neck.

*Woodbine regular HIGH BLITZ won the Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth Park yesterday for trainer Justin Nixon and owner Stronach Stables.

*The mutuel clerks strike came to an end after 16-days. Fans were greeted with lots of prizes in voucher-form if they used the betting machines yesterday.


LIFESTYLE finished 6th in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont last year, was beaten just over 5 lengths, and today is racing for $40K claiming at Woodbine. Horse is off form but certainly the class of the 1st race field, if he's quick enough to handle 5 furlongs.

First year sire GRAEME HALL had another winner yesterday in Flower Arrangement and has BIRD ON THE RUN in race 2. The grey colt worked in 21 4/5 for a 2yo sale in March.

More fun in race 4 (first leg of the WIN 4, eeks) as 2-year-olds go on the grass. Sam-Son's OCALA SKY looks very likely based on her breeding (her dam Sky Alliance was a SW at 2 over the boys on turf).

Big fields rule the card again and the Ontario Damsel is in the middle of the Win 4. The 6 1/2 furlong turf dash is wid eopen although Seductively will take betting support in her grass debut simply because of her 3rd place finisher in the Woodbine Oaks. With little grass breeding, however, look to others like EXECUTIVE FLIGHT (red-hot Darwin Banach barn) and the Reade Baker gals Classical Miss and Gold Quest.


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