June 7, 2023

Decorated invades for Summer; Fair Maiden returns for Natalma

Decorated Invader was a good-looking maiden winner at Saratoga (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography

One day after older turf horses grace the stage on Woodbine Mile Day, two-year-olds take over the spotlight in a pair of Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events at the Toronto track Sunday. The Summer (G1) and Natalma (G1), each worth C$250,000 and held over a mile, offer berths to the Juvenile Turf (G1) and Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), respectively.

The Summer has attracted a few last seen in action at Saratoga. Decorated Invader comes off an emphatic 1 1/16-mile maiden score for Christophe Clement. The Declaration of War colt was building upon his encouraging debut second to Field Pass, the next-out runner-up in the With Anticipation (G3). The Todd Pletcher-trained Mystic Lancelot was similarly authoritative in his first try, but now stretches out from a turf sprint. Proven Strategies is still a maiden but closed well for second to Another Miracle in the Skidmore S., and of the Mark Casse trio, keeps Tyler Gaffalione aboard.

Casse also has one of the two entrants who raced in Ireland, the filly Secret Stash, who’s cross-entered to the Natalma in her own division. Successful at Bellewstown in her last start for Jessica Harrington, she’s been privately acquired by Gary Barber and makes her debut for new connections Sunday. Joseph O’Brien has shipped Vitalogy, an upset winner in his premiere at Naas and most recently fourth in the Acomb (G3).

George Strawbridge Jr.’s homebred Talking was convincing in his unveiling at Monmouth, and the Jonathan Thomas trainee brings plenty of upside. Route veteran Cadet Connelly, second in the Kitten’s Joy at Colonial, broke his maiden on the Woodbine Tapeta.

Leading the home team is unbeaten Keep on Truckin, winner of his two starts sprinting on the Tapeta by a combined margin of 18 3/4 lengths. The Catherine Day Phillips trainee switches to turf and steps up in trip following his front-running romp in the restricted Clarendon S. The placegetters from the Soaring Free renew rivalry, with runner-up Pleasecallmeback adding blinkers for Roger Attfield and third Cucina rounding out the Casse squad. Zoological sports a course-and-distance maiden win.

The Natalma picture was shaken up when Godolphin’s homebred Fair Maiden dominated the Catch a Glimpse by 7 1/2 lengths in her turf debut. The Eoin Harty pupil thrived in the yielding going that day, but her prior 14-length maiden triumph over Arlington’s Polytrack already marked her as one to watch.

British shipper Walk in Marrakesh, the lone European-trained contender, represents the prolific Mark Johnston. The well-related daughter of Siyouni capped a three-race winning streak in the Star S. at Sandown and exits a third in the Prix du Calvados (G2) at Deauville.

Casse counters with two in addition to the cross-entered Secret Stash. Brereton Jones’s homebred Coach Lori recovered from a slow start to prevail in her debut sprinting over the course, while recent recruit Diamond Sparkles scored for British trainer Richard Fahey last out at Thirsk. Barber is one of the War Front blueblood’s new co-owners, along with Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

Abscond, a first-out winner at Ellis, was best of the rest behind Kimari in the Bolton Landing at Saratoga. Runway Dreamer, a troubled fourth in her course-and-distance debut, adds Lasix, and fellow maiden Saratoga Vision was a rallying third to Fair Maiden in the Catch a Glimpse.

Potential candidates for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) can advance their claims in two five-furlong stakes. The C$100,000 Ontario Racing S. pits Wesley Ward’s duo of Aye Aye Sir and Divided Sky, both once-raced maidens, against Casse’s winners Old Chestnut and stakes-placed Goldmine Cat, but Day Phillips’ Barilko could intervene.

In the companion event for fillies, the C$100,000 Woodbine Cares, a similar storyline features Colleen runner-up Foolish Humor and Newmarket maiden winner Miss Lucy for Ward, Quality Heat and Lady Fatima for Casse, plus Avie’s Samurai for the Ivan Dalos/Josie Carroll tandem, Brad Cox’s Indiana Grand romper Bayerly Seen, Egyptian Nights, and Fast Scene who gets Lasix after her retreating fourth as the favorite in the Catch a Glimpse.