TORONTO, September 15 — Ikerrin Road had been under serious consideration for Sunday’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile up until entry day Wednesday.
Then, trainer Vito Armata decided to sit out the big dance and try to keep Ikerrin Road on a successful path in Saturday’s Grade 3 Bold Venture.
The $125,000 Bold Venture, a 6 1/2 furlong race for three-year-olds and upward, attracted a field of seven.
“The horse has been running all year round,” said Armata, noting that Ikerrin Road had not had much of a break while making 12 starts since arriving on these shores from Ireland last June. “Maybe I’ll try him in the Mile next year, after he’s had the winter off.”
Ikerrin Road, a four-year-old gelding who was by claimed by Armata for $32,000 on May 13, has since won for $50,000 and $60,000 tags with the latter success a sharp seven-furlong Tapeta win in his latest on August 20.
Circle of Friends, who came up short as the 1-2 choice in the King Corrie Stakes, will be looking to rebound as he faces older stakes foes for the first time in the Bold Venture.
The Bob Tiller trainee finished second in his only start at two and then rattled off four straight wins including the six-furlong Ontario Jockey Club under jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva before coming undone in the King Corrie.
“Everything went wrong that day,” said Tiller. “He drew the one-hole. Eurico had to take him back early – he likes to run on the outside – and the speed kept going.”
Tiller is consoled by the fact that Circle of Friends came out of the race well and drew the outside post and will be looking to carry the ball after his older stablemate and fellow Bold Venture nominee, Pink Lloyd, is on the shelf.
Trainer Bob Tiller reports that Pink Lloyd, winner of six stakes sprints in as many starts this year, is on temporary hiatus following his last-out score in the Kenora Stakes.
“He threw a shoe, and tore up his foot,” said Tiller, who has had to overcome a number of setbacks with the five-year-old gelding who is a remarkable six-for-six, all in stakes, this season.
And it’s not over, according to Tiller, who plans to have Pink Lloyd back in fighting trim for this year’s $125,000 Overskate, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired three-year-olds and upward here October 29.
Puntrooskie, who is the defending champion in the Bold Venture but finished fifth behind Ikerrin Road last out; stakes-placed Unbridled Juan, who has not sprinted since his career debut in February of 2015 at Gulfstream; Good Bye Greg, a streaking speedball who was successful here on the former Polytrack in a previous trip from Arlington; stakes-placed Boreal Spirit; and Majestic Slew, a four-time winner this year, complete this Bold Venture field.
$125,000 Bold Venture (Grade 3) – Race 6
1-Ikerrin Road-David Moran-Vito Armata
2-Boreal Spirit-Gary Boulanger-Jennifer Schafer
3-Puntrooskie-Patrick Husbands-Donald MacRae
4-Good Bye Greg-Jose Valdivia Jr.-Larry Rivelli
5-Unbridled Juan-Luis Contreras-Josie Campbell
6-Majestic Slew-Rafael Hernandez-Michael DePaulo
7-Circle of Friends-Eurico Rosa da Silva-Robert Tiller