TORONTO, June 29—Skylander Girl was retired last year with an ankle problem and was entered in the November breeding stock sale. But when the now 6-year-old mare fell just short of her $200,000 reserve she was bought back by owner/trainer Al Patykewich.
So, Skylander Girl has returned to the racetrack for another campaign and looms the one to beat in Saturday’s $100,000 Zadracarta, a seven-furlong overnight turf stakes for Ontario-bred fillies and mares.
“I’ve just been playing with her this year,” said Patykewich, who purchased Skylander Girl for $3500 at the local select yearling sale and has watched her win three stakes while banking some $750,000.
“I want to protect her ankle. I plan on putting her back in the sale this year,” said Patykewich, who is off to a torrid start this year with nine winners from his first 20 starters at the Woodbine meeting.
Skylander Girl tuned up for the Zadracarta with four furlongs in :48.40 under rider Rafael Hernandez on a soft turf training track last Sunday.
“We were just sitting on her; she could have gone faster,” said Patykewich. “I think she’ll win the Zadracarta.”
Hernandez, aboard for Skylander Girl’s two starts this year including a last-out win under allowance term, retains the mount and the pair will break from post 9 with the mare carrying 117 pounds.
Southern Ring has been a Grade 3 stakes winner on Tapeta last year and this for trainer Malcolm Pierce with her most recent success coming in the April 23 Whimsical over six furlongs.
That race was the local seasonal bow for the 4-year-old Sam-Son Farm homebred whose only other outing this year was a belated fourth-place finish in the five-furlong Lightning City on Tampa Bay Downs turf.
“We had a little issue with one of her feet and she missed the Hendrie,” said Pierce, referring to the next Polytrack sprint stakes for fillies and mares which was run here June 4. “I think she’s equally good on turf but the seven-eighths might be a touch far.”
Southern Baby led the way in last year’s Zadracarta but gave way in the final furlong to finish fourth.
Eurico Rosa da Silva retains the mount on Southern Ring, who drew post 9 and will carry 121 pounds.
Shake Down Baby began her career here with owner/trainer Bill Tharennos but was sold privately at Gulfstream last winter and began campaigning for trainer Christophe Clement and owner Cheyenne Stable.
After placing in stakes at Gulfstream and Suffolk Downs Shake Down Baby made her last three starts of 2016 on Woodbine’s turf course, beginning with a score in restricted La Prevoyante at one mile.
Shake Down Baby then missed by a nose as the runner-up to eventual Horse of the Year and 3-year-old filly champion Caren in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen at the same distance.
The Wando filly again was beaten by Caren when fourth in 1 1/8 mile Ontario Colleen and has not started since that October 23 race.
Gary Boulanger, who rode Shake Down Baby in those last two starts, retains the mount.
“When Christophe sends one here, they’re ready,” said Boulanger.
Generous Touch is the 124 pound highweight due to her having won back-to-back three stakes that year includings the Passing Mood over seven furlongs
Bearsatlantic Mist was a sharp first-level allowance winner off the claim last time out while
Stakes-placed Jennifer Lynette makes her turf debut and is one of two in the field for trainer Mark Casse along with Conquest City Girl. Last-out winners Bearsatlantic, Hidden to Win and Niigon’s Eclipse and 2016 Lady Angela Stakes heroine Crumlin Spirit complete the field.