Canadian Thoroughbred’s early Queen’s Plate favourite GRETZKY THE GREAT posted a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 83 with his gutsy third-place finish in the John Battaglia Stakes on Tapeta at Turfway Park Friday night, Feb. 26. The Nyquist colt, trained by Mark Casse, was making his 3-year-old debut and was under pressure throughout the 1 1/16 mile race as he set the pace but was pushed along.
Gretzky the Great continued to battle along the rail in the stretch run when things got a bit tight as eventual winner Hush of a Storm drifted in but the colt stayed on to miss by 1 3/4 lengths. It was the first 2-turn race on the main track for the Anderson Farms Ontario-bred colt who won the Grade 1 Summer Stakes on grass at Woodbine last fall.
That should be a good start for Gretzky the Great as he heads towards the Aug. 22 Plate.
Casse trainee and Woodbine Oaks contender CURLIN’S CATCH, recent winner of the Suncoast Stakes, was not as forceful when she took part in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at one mile around one turn on Feb. 27 at Gulfstream. The Curlin filly made a super pre-race appearance but faded to fifth after stalking longshot Wholebodemeister, who led all the way to win at 52 to 1.
Stronach Stables’ RIPTIDE ROCK, a close second on Feb. 11 in a 1 1/16 mile allowance race with an 80 Beyer Figure (muddy track) is nominated to the March 13 REBEL STAKES at Oaklawn worth $1 million at 1 1/16 miles. Riptide Rock worked on Feb. 25 at Oaklawn in 48 4/5 for four furlongs. He is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and is a son of Point of Entry.
Chiefswood Stables’ WEYBURN (Pioneerofthe Nile) has been working steadily throughout 2021 and he posted a bullet 5 furlong prep Feb. 25 at Belmont for trainer James Jerkens. The colt won his maiden on Dec. 5 with a 69 Beyer Figure and he is nominated to the March 6 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
SMILEY SOBOTKA, who faded to 9th in the Sam F Davis at Tampa Bay Downs in his season debut, has returned to the worktab for trainer Dale Romans. He prepped four furlongs in 48 3/5 at Gulfstream on Feb. 20.
The filly IL MALOCCHIO is on the bubble of the list and she is back working following her third-place finish to Curlin’s Catch in the Suncoast Stakes. She worked Feb. 26 at Gulfstream, in 50 1/5.
Queen’s Plate Top 15 (Woodbine Oaks contender)
1. GRETZKY THE GREAT – third in John Battaglia Stakes, Turfway Feb. 26, 83 Beyer Speed Figure
2. STEPHEN – training in Ontario
3. RIPTIDE ROCK – 2nd allowance Oaklawn Park, 80 Beyer Figure
4. TIO MAGICO – working in Florida
5. SMILEY SOBOTKA – ninth Sam Davis Stakes, back on worktab Feb. 20, 48 3/5
6. HADDASSAH – training in Ontario
7. CURLIN’S CATCH –fifth Grade Davona Dale Stakes, 62 Beyer Figure
8. GIANT WATERS – training in Florida
9. MASTER SPY – first workout Feb. 23 Casse Training Centre, 37 3/5
10. DREAMING OF DREW – Oaks, working at Winding Oaks (Woodbine Oaks)
11. WEYBURN – training in New York, Gotham Stakes March 6
12. KEEP GRINDING – training in Ontario
13.. TRUFFLE KING – training in Ontario
14. CRUDEN BAY -training in Ontario
15. RED RIVER REBEL – training in Ontario